News National ‘Incredible mother’: Final farewell for Hannah Clarke and her children
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‘Incredible mother’: Final farewell for Hannah Clarke and her children

hannah-clarke
Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey have been remembered as gorgeous, fun loving siblings who were the light of their mother's life. Photo: ABC News
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Hannah Clarke and her three children will be laid to rest in a single shared white coffin adorned with pink flowers after being farewelled in an emotional service at a Brisbane church.

Hundreds of mourners, including prime minister Scott Morrison, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll, senior police officers, firefighters and paramedics congregated inside the church to pay their respects to the family.

As her parents Lloyd and Suzanne Clarke grieved, it was her brother Nat Clarke who was among five speakers.

He called his sister “one of the greatest mums to walk this Earth”.

“With brown hair and brown eyes, after you were born, Dad heard Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison on the radio on the way home and forever this would be his song for you,” he said.

He described his nieces and nephew as beautiful children who reflected their mum.

“Aaliyah, you were everything a big sister should be, brave, strong and quite bossy,” Mr Clarke said.

“Laianah, you were the ratbag, the little middle. There was so much of Hannah in you. You were beautiful, sweet and caring with an amazing imagination. You were the sweetest kid and a beautiful mermaid.

“Trey, mother’s little man and her best surprise.”

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Hannah and her children had been living with her parents since fleeing the Baxter family home before Christmas. Photo: ABC News

With their photos on display, the funeral for Ms Clark, 31, and her children Laianah, 6, Aaliyah, 4 and Trey, 3, was held three weeks after her estranged husband Rowan Baxter doused his family in petrol and set them alight on February 19.

A vigil on February 24 was attended by thousands where a mass of flowers and children’s toys were laid. Friends and family spoke about a “nation in mourning” amid an outpouring of grief and anger over the failure of the nation’s domestic violence system which was supposed to be designed to protect families.

Monday’s one-hour service, which began at 10.30am, was streamed live with mourners crowding an adjoining cafe as crowds spilled from the church.

Bookmarks were handed out to the congregation with a declaration on social media Hannah herself had made in the days before her death.

It read: “I am a strong woman, I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself, nor will I ever let anyone mistreat me again. I don’t respond to people trying to dictate to me or bring me down.

“I am a survivor and not a victim. I am in control of my life and there is nothing I can’t achieve. My girls will grow up strong women who understand their worth.”

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Nat Clarke carried his sister’s coffin from the church. Photo: ABC News

Family friend Fiona Cunningham began the ceremony, saying it was a time to “celebrate Hannah and her children’s lives and honour their memory”.

“Today we’re navigating the grief of losing this family under horrific circumstances,” Ms Cunningham said.

“It’s their deaths that have bought us together, but it’s their lives we’re here to remember.

“This is an occasion for sorrow but may the occasion not be wasted trying to make sense of why we are here but rather may it be one where we are thankful for the gift of life and that our lives intersected theirs.”

Hannah’s childhood friend Nikki Brooks said Hannah was “one in a million, kind and selfless … She was completely infectious”.

“You had my back and without a shadow of doubt I would have laid down my life for you and I am so, so sorry I could not protect you.

“You leave a legacy of love and there will never be a day I will not think of you.”

 

The domestic violence incident that killed Ms Clarke and her family shocked the nation and sparked more calls for greater efforts to bring an end to such violence.

Hannah was on fire as she leapt from the driver’s seat screaming “he’s poured petrol on me” as people rushed to try to put out the flames.

She died in hospital hours later with burns to 97 per cent of her body.

Her children, safely strapped into their child restraints, never stood a chance.

Rowan Baxter died on the footpath from self-inflicted wounds.

Hannah’s family have asked that the details and location of the family’s funeral service not be released.

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-with AAP