Tas MP Goodwin farewelled at state funeral

Pallbearers carry Vanessa Goodwin's casket from St. David's Cathedral at her funeral in Hobart.
Pallbearers carry Vanessa Goodwin's casket from St. David's Cathedral at her funeral in Hobart.

Former Tasmanian attorney-general Vanessa Goodwin has been remembered as a trailblazer, with Premier Will Hodgman describing his childhood friend as a "bright spark".

Family and close friends were among hundreds of mourners who filled St David's Anglican Cathedral in Hobart for a state service on Friday afternoon.

Dr Goodwin died aged 48 on Saturday, the day of the state election, after a year-long battle with brain cancer.

"Like everyone here and in our close community, I am heartbroken," Mr Hodgman said.

"For Vanessa Goodwin was a very special person. Kind, clever, and dependable."

Mr Hodgman fondly recounted their exuberant days spent studying law together at the University of Tasmania.

He described her as one of the "bright sparks".

Dr Goodwin was diagnosed with cancer in March last year and withdrew from parliament and public life soon after, stepping down as attorney-general, minister of justice and leader of the government in the Legislative Council.

"It stopped our parliament in its tracks, it stunned our community, it shook us to our core," Mr Hodgman said of her diagnosis.

He said she fought cancer "with dependable courage and dignity".

Orchestral music at the service paid tribute to Dr Goodwin's arts outreach work at Risdon Prison.

Dr Goodwin earned her Masters in criminology while studying in Cambridge, England and was awarded a PhD in law in Tasmania.

She spent more than 11 years with the state's police department as a researcher and advisor.

In a 2009 by-election, Dr Goodwin was elected for the Liberals in the Hobart upper house seat of Pembroke.

"After some tough years in opposition and a lot of hard work ... in 2014 we became the new Tasmanian government," Mr Hodgman said.

Dr Goodwin's childhood friend and lawyer Bridget Rheinberger said the Apple Isle had lost someone very special.

"There was never any snobbery with Vanessa and people responded to that," Ms Rheinberger said.

Maggie Saunders spoke on behalf of the Goodwin family.

"She was the perfect example of the combination of intelligence and grace," Ms Saunders said.

"She was a trailblazer in her own right."

Labor Opposition Leader Rebecca White and Greens Leader Cassy O'Connor were also at the service.

"We were often a little bemused at the close connections she struck with the other team," Mr Hodgman said.

"No matter their political persuasion, Vanessa had a great affection for them all."

Australian Associated Press