Dame Elisabeth Murdoch remembered

Last updated 14:11 18/12/2012
Elisabeth Murdoch
BIRTHDAY GIRL: Dame Elisabeth Murdoch with Barry Humphries in 2011.

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A state memorial has been held in Australia for Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, the mother of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

The 103-year-old died at her home in Langwarrin on December 6.

Rupert Murdoch said his mother, born eight years after Australia's federation, represented the best in the national character.

"In many ways she grew up with this nation - through its youthful beginnings, the hardship of war, all the way through to the vibrant society we behold today," he said at the service at Melbourne's St Paul's Cathedral.

"In her spirit and her energy, she embodied the finest qualities of this country."

Murdoch said he was speaking to the extraordinary accomplishments of an exceptional woman.

"On its own that would be a formidable task. It is made even more daunting by the obligation of a grateful son to do justice to a mother whose love gave me more than I could ever hope to repay."

Murdoch started his eulogy by thanking those at the memorial service, including representatives of more than 100 charities Dame Elisabeth supported.

"My sisters and I and our entire family wish to say how heartened we are for the great love you have shown for Elisabeth Murdoch by your presence here today," he said.

Murdoch said his mother was completely devoted to her husband, the late Sir Keith Murdoch.

"Mum lived entirely for him. I know it's not entirely fashionable these days, but mum was never one to let fashion get in the way of what she loved," he said.

"There's a reason my mother never remarried. To her last breath, this beautiful woman never considered herself anything but absolutely in love with my father."

He said Dame Elisabeth had a similar commitment to her children.

"For mum, love wasn't something soft or mushy. It's strong and reliable. Something that brings you comfort and peace when you're lonely or troubled," he said.

"In short, mum gave a successful but shy man a life of happiness that other men can only envy. She did the same for her children.

"She knew we started out with many advantages in life but the greatest advantage was the one she gave us all: we knew that we were loved.

"With mum, it was okay to stumble. She just wanted to make sure we understood the gravity of our actions and the impact our choices had on others."

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- AAP

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