SINGLE, farmer and from Boree Creek.
That was how Tim Fischer was described by The Border Morning Mail when he emerged as a MP as a result of the NSW election in February 1971.
Representing the Country Party, as the Nationals, were then known, Mr Fischer entered the political arena at the record young age of 24.
He could be N.S.W. 'baby' - the headline inside the Monday election results edition of The Border Morning Mail proclaimed.
"Timothy Andrew Fischer will also be the first Vietnam war veteran to be elected to any Australian Government," the article underneath stated.
The former platoon commander's elevation to parliament brought to practical effect an interest in politics he had kindled as a schoolboy.
Mr Fischer was born to Barbara and Ralph, also known as Fred, at Lockhart on May 3, 1946, the third of four children.
It is not just a union of two Catholic farming families but the making of a National Party dynasty.Wedding guest commenting on the marriage of Tim Fischer and Judy Brewer
He grew up on the family property Peppers and pedaled a bicycle to Boree Creek Public School before becoming a boarder at Melbourne's Xavier College where he became a prefect and played chess.
At the age of 18, Mr Fischer found himself conscripted into the army as part of national service.
He had two nine-month stints in Vietnam, fulfilling the role of transport officer as well as platoon commander.
Mr Fischer was preselected at Lockhart, being the choice of 142 voters ahead of five other candidates who were all older.
He represented the seat of Sturt, which covered areas of the Riverina beyond Albury and Wagga, before transferring to the electorate of Murray at the 1980 election.
In 1984, Mr Fischer entered federal parliament for the seat of Farrer, the first and only National Party member for the electorate which has otherwise been held by Liberals since its creation in 1949.
With his Akubra hat and unvarnished ways, Mr Fischer soon drew attention, becoming the Coalition Opposition's spokesman on veteran's affairs.
In 1990, the Boy from Boree Creek as he was dubbed was elected as National Party leader after his predecessor Charles Blunt, who had only filled the role since 1989, lost his northern NSW seat in the general election.
He brought stability to the job as the leadership of the Nats' Coalition partner, the Liberal Party, passed from John Hewson to Alexander Downer to John Howard.
In this period, Mr Fischer courted a fellow National Party member and 1988 Victorian election candidate Judy Brewer and they wed on November 16, 1992 at St Joseph's Catholic Church at Dederang.
"It is not just a union of two Catholic farming families but the making of a National Party dynasty," one guest told The Border Mail.
Labor prime minister Paul Keating passed on his congratulations, saying: "I hope they have a very happy marriage."
With the defeat of Mr Keating at the 1996 election, Mr Fischer reached the zenith of his political career becoming deputy prime minister and trade minister in the government headed by Mr Howard.
While he travelled the world pushing Australia's cause, his most significant fight involved convincing those in the bush of the merit of gun law reform after the Port Arthur massacre.
Mr Fischer helped Mr Howard in selling the changes to country voters.
At the same time he faced the first coming of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson who loomed as a major threat to the Nationals at the 1998 federal election.
Having vaulted the Howard government to a second term, Mr Fischer ended his political career in 1999 in the face of increasing family pressures, with sons Harrison and Dominic both under six years of age at the time.
According to his biography, Mr Fischer's sister Vicki Baudry told him after the 1998 poll: "that he had done a tremendous job and that maybe it was time he started to give a bit of thought to spending more time with his own family.
"After all, she said, it was obvious he could go no higher than the positions he held."
Harrison's autism diagnosis, which brought new attention to the condition and greater understanding after it was revealed publicly by the Fischers in The Border Mail in January 1999, was pivotal to the MP's resignation.
But Mr Fischer's departure from politics did not mean an end to public life.
He also chaired Tourism Australia, the Australia-Bhutan Friendship Association and the Crawford Fund which is involved in agricultural research.
Media deals saw Mr Fischer pen various books about trains and host a rail-related show on ABC radio.
His most recent volume was Steam Australia, a collaboration with the National Library of Australia which chronicled much of the railway history of the nation.
At its Albury launch, former Victorian MP Bill Baxter, who was Mr Fischer's best man, gave a precis.
"In usual Fischer style it's a pretty readable document," Mr Baxter said.
Perhaps the most unusual publication to bear Mr Fischer's name was a poster of 22 rail gauges from across Australia.
In 2008, Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd appointed Mr Fischer as Australia's first resident ambassador to the Holy See, otherwise known as Vatican City, home to the leader of the world's Catholic population.
He served from 2009 to 2012, a period coinciding with the reign of Pope Benedict XVI who renounced the role in 2013.
The stint saw Mr Fischer indulging a passion for Italian, an interest which saw him pick up various words from the Romance language which he would toss into his speeches henceforth.
Returning to Australia, Mr Fischer continued an ongoing push for high speed rail, telling those gathered for the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Violet Town railway crash that "it is absurd that we do not have higher speed rail, let alone high speed rail, between" Sydney and Melbourne.
He also used the centenary of World War I to campaign for General John Monash to be appointed a field marshal, penning a biography of former Jerilderie boy in 2014.
Mr Fischer was left disappointed in 2018 when then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull rejected the posthumous promotion, despite having said in 2013 he fully supported the move to elevate General Monash.
Mr Fischer is survived by his wife Judy and sons Harrison and Dominic.