The "Boy from Boree Creek" who went on to become a deputy prime minister and ambassador to the Vatican has been remembered as a smart, quirky, generous and courageous example to the next generation.
Thousands of people attended Tim Fischer's funeral in Albury on Thursday afternoon, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and former prime ministers John Howard and Kevin Rudd.
Mr Fischer's coffin was placed centre stage and draped in the Australian flag, with his signature Akubra hat and Australian Army service medals placed on top.
Fellow Vietnam war veteran Gordon Alexander told the funeral service how a pivotal moment in Mr Fischer's life occurred at Wagga.
"In 1966, Tim and I were both conscripted into the army and we met on a bus taking us to Kapooka recruit training battalion near Wagga; national servicemen on their very first day in the army," Mr Alexander said.
"Tim was a country boy and I remember saying to him that when he marched he lifted his big feet in a way that looked like he was still stomping through a field of wheat."
Mr Alexander said the incoming national servicemen were assessed at Wagga.
"The army had a system to select conscripts for officer training; the selection process was quite involved and few were selected," he said.
"We city slickers viewed Tim as a bit of a hayseed, but we were taken to bat by his grasp of politics, economics and business.
"While we were trying to position ourselves as smart, Tim was already there."
Mr Alexander said they were both transferred to "quite possibly the toughest course in the army" at Officer Training Unit, Scheyville in Hawkesbury.
"Tim graduated and was awarded 'most improved' of our class of three of '66," he said.
Reflecting his lifelong interest in trains, Mr Fischer's coffin was taken to Albury from The Rock via rail earlier on Thursday morning aboard a vintage 1930s locomotive.
Mr Fischer's older brother Tony addressed the funeral on behalf of the Brewer Fischer family, including Tim's wife Judy and sons Dominic and Harrison.
Dr Tony Fischer said Tim began school at a one-classroom school at Boree Creek but advances in their parent's farm productivity and soaring wool prices during the Korean War allowed them to send Tim and his three siblings to boarding school in Melbourne.
"The day before Tim entered palliative care for the last time, he managed to travel to Boree Creek to participate in a function at that public school which is still there with its 30 pupils," Dr Tony Fischer said.
Dr Tony Fischer urged the young people in the audience to follow Tim's example.
"I sincerely hope you take inspiration from what you have heard here, how important it is to listen to be curious, to be honest about yourself and to be authentic," he said.
"These thoughts will help you confront the challenges that face your lives in the bush, across Australia and in the wider world.
"Tim Fischer was a great Australian and a very good man. In his own words 'thank you all, God bless you all."
Mr Morrison paid tribute to Mr Fischer's service to Australia, telling the assembled mourners that he "never failed to answer" when the nation called.
"Tim Fischer was an original, emphatically made in Australia; he was, and I'm sure Macca wouldn't mind me saying, Australia all over," Mr Morrison said.
"A big man, in every sense of the word. As big as the country he served: his big hat, his big hands, his big frame, his big beliefs and passions, his big view of Australia and of Australians.
"He had a big courage, but one he combined with a gentle and forgiving kindness that understood human frailty.
"He was a deeply honest man, and no stranger to humility. I heard a preacher say once 'God uses those who care'. In Tim Fischer, this gave God a lot to work with."
Mr Morrison said Mr Fischer showed great strength during one of the most turbulent periods in recent political history, when the Howard government introduced tough gun control measures in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre.
"Tim Fischer shared that resolve, and for him this task was arguably even greater," Mr Morrison said.
"Gun laws were not popular in regional Australia in 1996 and where there was resistance, Tim copped the brunt of it.
"He stumped up and he persuaded, along with the prime minister, and convinced regional Australians about the need for change.
"It wasn't easy ... Australians are now safe today because of him. I'm sure Mr Howard would agree, they were Tim's laws too."
Mr Fischer's favourite hymns were performed at the service, including Battle Hymn of the Republic, Jerusalem and Amazing Grace, which was performed by fellow Boree Creek resident Thomas Strong.
Pallbearers from the Kapooka army barracks carried Mr Fischer's coffin from the stage at the end of the service, accompanied by Beethoven's Symphony No.5.