Former Model Farms High School student Jack O'Brien, Stanhope Gardens resident Gabriele Lauschet, Berala man Victor Oreshkin were among the Australians killed on the plane.
Mr O'Brien, 25, a Carlingford gym employee, was flying home after enjoying a seven-week trip in Europe.
Comments on social media said Mr O'Brien would be remembered as "the life of the party", a man with a "big heart" and having an "insane passion for life".
"The life of our beloved son and brother, Jack, has been ended so suddenly," the family said in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
"We are devastated at his loss, as are Jack's extended family and friends. Jack, just 25 years old, was returning from a fantastic seven-week holiday in Europe. He was loved so much."
Mr O'Brien was a Western Sydney Wanderers supporter and a member of the Red and Black Bloc (RBB). The RBB took to their Facebook page to honour the 25-year-old, who played soccer for the Winston Hills Soccer Club.
"R.I.P to WSW member Jack O'Brien who perished on flight MH17. Our prayers are with his family and to all the families of those on flight MH17," the Red & Black Bloc posted.
Mr O'Brien's sister, Bronwyn O'Brien, replied to the post: "My brother was a RBB foundation member and continued to come to every match through a debilitating struggle with reactive arthritis.
"He loved Western Sydney Wanderers with a passion and being a member was one of the highlights of his adult life."
Model Farms High School principal Christina Bennet said although Mr O'Brien had graduated before her time at the school, he was liked by many of the teachers.
"He's been exceptionally well remembered this morning as a fine young man and an exceptional student," she said.
Ms Lauschet was a preschool teacher at the German International School at Terrey Hills since 2000 and has been remembered as a much-loved, caring teacher.
The 47-year-old became engaged to another member of the school's staff, business manager Andreas Schaaf, in February. They lived together with Ms Lauschet's adult son, Tim.
Originally from the west German town of Aachen, Ms Lauschet had been in her native country visiting her mother while on holidays before planning to return to Sydney before Monday's start of the school term.
Ms Lauschet was travelling on a German passport.
Greenway MP Michelle Rowland said she was saddened to hear Ms Lauschet was among the victims of the disaster.
"I wish to pay tribute to Ms Lauschet's memory and convey my deepest sympathy to her son and family," she said.
"Until now, Australians have been able to observe from a distance the conflict that has been taking place in Ukraine. That is no longer the case as our community struggles with the reality that it has claimed one of our own."
Mr Oreshkin, 29, was devoted to the Lidcombe Slavic Evangelical Pentecostal Church and was involved in its ministry.
He left Sydney on June 17 for a five-week European holiday.
Before leaving, the Berala man, who was a NSW Blues supporter, fishing enthusiast and former student of the Christian Community School at Regents Park, posted online that he was looking forward to visiting Germany and Italy.
"Germany first, then Lithuania, maybe Italy if it all works out," he wrote.
One of his last posts was a photo with the words: "Don't regret knowing the people that came into your life. Good people give you happiness. Bad ones give you experience. The worst ones give you lessons and the best people give you memories."
Family friend and pastor Alexander Minchenko said: "He was a really big part of the church. He was really loved by everyone so it was a big shock for all of us."
— by Nick Ralston, Jessica Aquilina, Vanessa Watson and Jade Wittmann