Wollongong holds ceremony to honour MH17 passengers

A boy lights candles at a candlelight vigil for passengers killed on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in Klang Valley July 19. Picture: REUTERS

A boy lights candles at a candlelight vigil for passengers killed on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in Klang Valley July 19. Picture: REUTERS

UPDATE: Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery will lead Monday night's candlelight vigil memorial service for Australian casualties of the MH17 disaster.

Wollongong City Council confirmed the Lord Mayor had invited leaders of various religious denominations to address the service, which will commence at 7pm in the Arts Precinct outside the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre. 

A bell will be tolled 36 times, one for each Australian victim of the Malaysia Airlines crash.

A council spokesperson said local, state and federal politicians had been invited to the service, which is expected to run for 30 minutes.

Those attending the service are encouraged to bring a candle of their own as part of the vigil.

Flags on council buildings will be flown at half-mast from midday Monday until Tuesday morning, as well as on Saturday morning during the official national day of mourning for Australian victims.

EARLIERA ceremony will be held at the Civic Plaza in Wollongong on Monday evening to give members of the community the chance to pay tribute to those lost aboard flight MH17.

The ceremony will begin at 7pm near the IPAC theatre.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said it was important to show respect on a local level for those who had died in the tragedy.

"At times like this the community needs to find direction when it's confronted with such a horrific and tragic loss," Cr Bradbery said.

"As it was with the Bali bombing, the community needs the opportunity to come together.

"It's important we create these opportunities whereby we as a community can stand together ... and affirm those values."

Kanahooka couple Michael and Carol Clancy were among the 28 Australians who died when the plane was struck by a surface to air missile. 

Cr Bradbery said members of the community were invited to bring along candles to the ceremony.

Various religious leaders would be asked to attend the event, he said.

Cr Bradbery said the ceremony would offer people in Wollongong the opportunity to grieve.

"People are experiencing this loss vicariously - they put themselves in that situation,"he said.

"It's important we have the opportunity to be there for one another at such times and allow people the opportunity to feel they're not on their own in these times of grief."

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