DISTINGUISHED civic and community leaders gathered in Ballarat yesterday to honour a man who pioneered the State's health and environment legislation.
Former Ballarat resident and deputy premier William Borthwick AM died on August 1 following recent heart surgery. He was 76.
His funeral service was held in the chapel of St Mark at Ballarat Grammar School.
School chaplain Father John Mathes officiated.
It was Mr Borthwick's wish that the service be held in Ballarat.
After winning a scholarship, William Borthwick was a boarder at the school between 1936 and 1939.
Hundreds travelled from across the State to mourn the loss of a man described as compassionate and loyal, who had a constructive approach to problems.
His sons David, Mark and Andrew comforted his wife of 30 years Muffie.
Mr Borthwick's coffin, draped by the Australian flag and bearing his service medals, was transported through a guard of honour of hundreds of Ballarat Grammar School students before the cortege travelled to the Point Lonsdale Cemetery.
Former Premier Lindsay Thompson spoke at the service. ``Everyone here today is in a semi-state of shock.
``A fortnight ago little did we expect to be attending the funeral service of Bill Borthwick. He was always so full of life, so full of fun and apparently so strong.''
Premier Steve Bracks said his father Stan grew up with Mr Borthwick and the pair served in the RAAF together.
``He was a great Victorian, a great deputy premier, and gave a great service to the State of Victoria.
``He was highly regarded and respected on the Labor side as well as he was on the Liberal National Party side,'' Mr Bracks said minutes after the service.
RSL president Bruce Ruxton said Mr Borthwick held an extensive war record.
``He served in various posting in Australia before he embarked for the UK as a fighter pilot, serving at various postings.
``He was given a special award by the Yugoslavian Government for his efforts in protecting Yugoslavia during the World War II.''
Ballarat Grammar headmaster Stephen Higgs said it was an honour for the school to be chosen to host the service of ``such a remarkable man.''
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, Victorian Governor John Landy, Leader of the Opposition Denis Napthine, North Western MLC Barry Bishop, former Premiers Lindsay Thompson and Rupert Hamer, RSL president Bruce Ruxton, members of parliament and Royal Australian Air Force representation were among those who attended.