Bert Newton’s state funeral: Stars and family gather to farewell TV legend

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read
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Friends and family have gathered at Melbourne's St Patrick Cathedral to farewell TV legend Bert Newton after he passed away at the age of 83 late last month.

Bert's wife of 46 years was one of the first to arrive with her daughter Lauren Newton, son-in-law Matthew Welsh and grandchildren.

Patti Newton
Patti Newton arrives at husband Bert Newton's state funeral. Photo: Getty

Bert and Patti's son Matthew, who lives in the US, will not be at the funeral, and will instead return home at some point in the future to remember his father privately.

The service began 10am and is ran for 90 minutes, where it was live-streamed through the government website.

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An order of service booklet is seen ahead of the state funeral for Bert Newton at St Patrick's Cathedral. Photo: Getty
An order of service booklet is seen ahead of the state funeral for Bert Newton at St Patrick's Cathedral. Photo: Getty
Bert's casket was draped in the Australian flag. Photo: Getty
Bert's casket was draped in the Australian flag. Photo: Getty
Patti with her daughter Lauren Newton, as well as some of her grandchildren. Photo: Getty
Patti with her daughter Lauren Newton, as well as some of her grandchildren. Photo: Getty

In keeping with COVIDSafe guidelines, all attendees at the service were fully vaccinated.

In lieu of flowers, Bert's family requested contributions be made to VMCH’s O’Neill House in Prahran.

Bert's friends Eddie McGuire and Molly Meldrum were spotted arriving at the cathedral for the service. The two are currently leading a campaign to have the Gold Logie renamed in Bert Newton's honour.

Eddie McGuire and wife Carla
Eddie McGuire and wife Carla arrive at St Patrick's Cathedral. Photo: AAP
Eddie McGuire speaks at the funeral. Photo: Getty
Eddie McGuire speaks at the funeral. Photo: Getty
Molly Meldrum
Good friend of Bert's Molly Meldrum arrives dressed in all black. Photo: Getty

"Showbusiness and this city will never be the same, the young boy from Fitzroy who became a star, then a legend, then an institution and now our greatest memory of the golden years of television," Eddie McGuire said during his eulogy, calling him "our Bert".

Andy Lee and partner Rebecca Harding arrived at the funeral with the radio star sharing his heartbreak after Bert's passing, taking to Twitter to write: "Bert was always hugely generous with his time for our show and amazingly supportive of our fledgling careers. I’m lucky to have met and shared the airwaves with him. One of the greatest."

Andy Lee and partner Rebecca Harding
Andy Lee and partner Rebecca Harding look solemn as they arrive. Photo: Getty
Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison arrives at the cathedral. Photo: Getty
Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison arrives at the cathedral. Photo: Getty
Sam Pang and Chrissie Swan arrive. Photo: Getty
Sam Pang and Chrissie Swan arrive. Photo: Getty
Former AFL star and radio presenter Jonathan Brown arrives. Photo: AAP
Former AFL star and radio presenter Jonathan Brown arrives. Photo: AAP

Nova Melbourne presenters Sam Pang, Chrissy Swan and Jonathan Brown arrived together.

TV presenter and Bert's friend of over 60 years Pete Smith and wife Jackie attend the funeral with Pete speaking on behalf of the Newton family during the service.

Pete shared a letter from Matthew, Bert's son, who apologised that he couldn't attend the funeral.

Pete Smith and wife Jackie arrive at the State Funeral Service for Bert Newton. Photo: AAP
Pete Smith and wife Jackie arrive at the State Funeral Service for Bert Newton. Photo: AAP
Pete spoke on behalf of Matthew and Lauren Newton, sharing letters from each of Bert's children. Photo: AAP
Pete spoke on behalf of Matthew and Lauren Newton, sharing letters from each of Bert's children. Photo: AAP

In the letter, Matthew said Zoom and FaceTime allowed him to reconnect with his father, sharing one of their final conversations where they said how much they loved each other.

He spoke of Bert's love for Patti as well as his numerous grandchildren.

"I'm gonna really miss jamming with you, mate," he finished his letter. 

Pete also read a letter on behalf of Lauren, who described her father as a "fun dad". 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks at the funeral. Photo: Getty
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks at the funeral. Photo: Getty

"Family always came first for dad, and he always included us in everything," she said, adding he was there for her whenever she needed him.  

"Life will never be the same without him," she wrote. "I love you dad."

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews spoke at the service of Bert's incredible career and his love for his wife Patti.

Singer Anthony Callea performs 'The Prayer. Photo: Getty
Singer Anthony Callea performs 'The Prayer. Photo: Getty
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese arrives. Photo: AAP
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese arrives. Photo: AAP

"We are all richer for his life and poorer for his passing," Mr Andrews said.

Anthony Callea performed 'The Prayer' in an emotional performance.

Sam Newman was clearly upset as he arrived. Photo: AAP
Sam Newman was clearly upset as he arrived. Photo: AAP
Daryl Somers described Bert as
Daryl Somers described Bert as "one of the originals". Photo: Getty

Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese also attended the funeral, as did AFL star Sam Newman.

"We learnt a lot from Bert, [whose] legacy was making people laugh," Daryl Somers said as he arrived.

Rhonda Burchmore and Lucy Durack arrived to bid farewell to their friend. Photo: Getty
Rhonda Burchmore and Lucy Durack arrived to bid farewell to their friend. Photo: Getty
Glenn Robbins arrives at the service. Photo: AAP
Glenn Robbins arrives at the service. Photo: AAP

Rhonda Burchmore and Lucy Durack were clearly upset to be farewelling their friend.

Actor Glenn Robbins looked downcast as he arrived.

Bert had been receiving palliative care at the time of his death following a long health battle that led to one of his legs being amputated in May due to a life-threatening infection.

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