The funeral of murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher is to take place in Melbourne this Friday, her family have announced.

There will be a private ceremony at 10.30am local time after which her remains will be cremated. Her ashes will then be brought to her parents' home in Perth, Western Australia.

The Drogheda born woman disappeared in the early hours of Saturday 22 after a night out with her work colleagues. Her body was later discovered in a shallow grave at the side of a dirt road about 30 miles from the northwest of Melbourne on Thursday.

A 41-year-old Australian man, Adrian Ernest Bayley, of Coburg, was arrested and charged with rape and murder.

In the town of Drogheda, thousands of people have signed books of condolences and the tricolour outside the local authority office was flown at half-mast as a mark of respect.

The victim’s uncle Michael McKeon told the Irish Times the town of Drogheda has come together over the tragic news.

“We (family) have been in the town a long time. My father had a pub on Laurence Street and there is a lot of support coming in, people calling to the house. We have had a lot of support through the media as well and social media. We would ask people to be restrained because there is a court case in relation to this.

“It’s a difficult time, it’s a time you don’t expect to experience. We are finding it difficult to cope with. We are finding it difficult to understand how a parent could lose their child. You don’t expect to bury a child… you just don’t expect to do that.

“People have been texting and through Facebook have been expressing condolences; social media has taken on a complete new meaning for me, it is a great thing to have.”

Meanwhile in Melbourne, some 30,000 people marched the 3km stretch of Sydney Rd in a mark of respect for the Irish woman on Sunday.