Bob Hawke appreciated Canberra and Canberra appreciated Bob Hawke

While people all around Australia are mourning Bob Hawke this weekend, Canberrans have more reason to remember the larrikin Prime Minister with affection than most.

This was because, unlike some of his more recent successors who have made their principal residence elsewhere or failed to respect the national capital's role as ground zero for the federal public service, he got this city.

This showed itself most strongly in his sense of community and love of sport.

When Hawke was asked why, in 1987, he had tipped the Canberra Raiders to defeat Manly Warringah in that year's grand final he famously replied: "(Because) I live in the bloody place".

Other sporting connections included playing cricket for the ACT, playing golf with Greg Norman at Royal Canberra and collecting a bouncer bowled by Newcastle Herald journalist, Garry O'Neill in the face during a media match at Kingston Oval.

The Australian Institute of Sport, established by the Fraser Government in 1980, underwent significant injections of funds on the Hawke government's watch. Impressive new facilities contributed to medal tallies of 24 at Los Angeles in 1984, 12 at Seoul in 1988 and 27 at Barcelona in 1992.

Hawke was also the Prime Minister who officiated at the 1988 opening of the new Parliament House, arguably the most significant investment in this city since its foundation.

While the building had been commissioned by the Fraser government, it was brought to fruition at the then staggering cost of $1.1 billion by the Hawke government in time for the 1988 bicentenary.

Before moving into the Lodge in 1983, the Hawkes lived in Canberra from 1956 to 1958. He was studying for a doctorate in law on the Australian wage fixing system at the Australian National University.

This saw Hawke invited to become a research officer and industrial advocate for the ACTU in Melbourne and put him on a path to the Prime Ministership.

While many conflicting claims have been made about Hawke's stature and significance, it is fair to say he stands alongside Bob Menzies, another Prime Minister who "got Canberra", as one of our two greatest post-war leaders.

This is only fair given history will record the Labor reformer continued the work begun by Menzies who had fostered the growth of the Australian middle class.

Under Hawke benefits such as superannuation and medical insurance, which had been the self-funded preserve of the more affluent previously, were extended to all.

Under Hawke superannuation and health insurance, the preserve of the more affluent previously, were extended to all.

His dedication to the environment, which saved the Franklin and put the preservation of our most beautiful and fragile wilderness areas on the national agenda in a way never been seen before, and only rarely seen since, has left a legacy that will be appreciated for generations.

The Hawke-Keating government's economic reforms, which echoed much of what was happening in Reagan's America and Thatcher's Britain at the time, were notable for the sensible and consultative manner in which they were introduced.

The wages and incomes accord was probably the government's finest hour.

While many have been quick to claim Hawke was Labor's greatest ever leader he would have been the first to challenge such a judgement. A great admirer of John Curtin, who also swore off alcohol to pursue a political career, he always maintained that honour should go to the war time leader.