If God had a voice in Canberra, it belonged to Peter Harvey
Veteran television journalist Peter Harvey, known to colleagues as "the voice of God", was farewelled at a packed service in Sydney on Friday morning.
Family, friends and senior media figures – including James Packer, Ray Martin and Alan Jones – attended the private funeral at St Mark’s Church in Darling Point.
It was in this church, 45 years ago, that Harvey married his wife Anne, and later baptised his two children, Claire and Adam.
Peter Harvey and his family; wife Anne and children Adam and Claire.
Best remembered for his rich baritone and famous sign-off, Harvey died last week after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 68.
Adam delivered a warm eulogy, describing how his father "didn’t spoil us but never denied anything, either".
He recalled that when he was a teenager, he told his father he wanted a watch. Harvey responded by flipping off his own watch – a gold Rolex he bought himself a year into being a Vietnam war correspondent – and gave it to his astonished son.
Peter Harvey's funeral at St Marks Church in Darling Point. Photo: Nine Network
"Adam’s speech perfectly captured the wonderful man and father that Peter was," one guest told Fairfax Media.
"It was full of lovely touches from a doting child. There was a lot of laughter and right at the end, his voice wobbled just a bit. He delivered it beautifully."
Howard Sacre, a senior producer with 60 Minutes, read out a story introduction – characteristically crisp, elegant and evocative – that Harvey had written for a war report.
Peter Harvey's private funeral
Ray Martin arrives for the funeral of veteran Channel 9 newsman Peter Harvey at St Mark's Church, Darling Point. Photo: Ben Rushton
"Then Howard said, 'You can imagine how much better that sounded with Peter’s voice'," the guest said.
Rival political journalist Paul Bongiorno from the Ten Network, a close friend of Harvey’s, also paid tribute.
"The whole service was very positive, with lots of good vibes and love in the room," the guest reflected.
A Channel Nine spokeswoman said: "There were some hymns and it was pretty simple but lovely ... it was a celebration as well as a farewell."
Also in attendance were Brian Henderson, John Laws, Richard Wilkins, Ken Sutcliffe, Georgie Gardner, Leila McKinnon and many other well-known reporters and presenters.
In a media career spanning half a century, Harvey started at The Daily Telegraph before moving to Newsweek magazine and The Guardian. But it is was at the Nine Network, which he joined in 1975, that he became a household name.
One of his first stories for Nine was the dismissal of Gough Whitlam. Soon after, Harvey’s name became synonymous with the nation’s capital, in part due to his sonorous tag at the end of each report: "Peter Harvey ... Canberra."
Both of his children pursued careers in journalism; Claire at The Sunday Telegraph and Adam at ABC’s 7.30 program.
A public memorial will be held at 12.30pm on Saturday at Sydney Town Hall.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Governor-General Quentin Bryce will attend.