The NSW Governor has been celebrated as a friend to battlers across the state, a champion of indigenous Australians and an ear for the voiceless as he prepares to leave Sydney and become Australia's next governor-general.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian lauded David Hurley as a man who rose from humble beginnings in the Illawarra region to become Chief of the Defence Force and ultimately NSW Governor in 2014.
She said he was "an example for all public leaders to follow" who "fostered connections that will be life-long" at a dinner in his honour at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday night.
"We know that you'll serve our nation as you served our state - with absolute distinction," she said.
The governor-general is appointed by the Queen in Commonwealth countries, on the advice of the prime minister, to be the representative of the Crown.
Mr Hurley was selected by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to replace Sir Peter Cosgrove when his five-year commission ends in June.
His tenure as NSW Governor was characterised by frequent trips across the countryside particularly to communities hit by floods, droughts and bushfires.
One of the earliest such trips in the role was to the Hunter Valley after floods washed away homes and killed elderly residents in the NSW town of Dungog.
Mr Hurley and his wife Linda comforted distraught people in the empty streets in the immediate aftermath.
"Everywhere we have been we have been whole-heartedly and warm-heartedly welcomed," he told the crowd at his dinner on Tuesday.
"We talk to people for five minutes and the next minute we're so deep in their lives."
Earlier this year he called for Australians to take up learning an indigenous language to build connections with Aboriginal communities.
He used his outgoing event to remind the gathered ministers and government officials of the strength of the people they're tasked with representing.
"(NSW communities) get on with it, they help each other," he said.
"Yes, they've got issues, they have got problems and they've got loud voices. But at the heart of it, they come together as a community."
Australian Associated Press