MH17: National memorial service | Photos

Church bells chimed around Australia and flags were at half mast as the nation paused to remember the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The nation's leaders, including Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, gathered at Melbourne for a national service at St Patrick's Cathedral on Thursday morning.

Melbourne was chosen as the host of the service because 16 of the 38 Australians killed were from Victoria.