A HOLOGRAM of the Eternal Flame would still provide a symbol of service and sacrifice while creating a unique attraction at Bathurst’s War Memorial Carillon, says RSL Sub Branch president David Mills.
The Western Advocate reported recently that the gas-fuelled flame that burns within the Carillon in Kings Parade was to be replaced by a hologram as part of a major upgrade of the memorial.
The upgrade will see the musical carillon finally completed to the standard first imagined when the memorial was built in the 1920s.
But it will also mean the end for the existing Eternal Flame which currently coats the interior of the memorial with black, oily soot that must be regularly cleaned and could damage the upgraded carillon.
Mr Mills said the sub branch had supported the move to a hologram as a way of retaining the symbolism of the Eternal Flame without damaging the rest of the memorial.
“When they started to discuss the upgrade of the Carillon it was highlighted that there were a couple of engineering issues as far as the flame was concerned, with soot and the potential for it to damage the upgraded electronics,” he said.
“We looked at adjusting the gas but that would have changed the colour of the flame and then you would not really be able to see it.
“The other issue is that when you have the flame going you really have the doors closed so public access is really non-existent.
“So the decision from the sub branch was that if the Carillon was to be upgraded we should see if there is a more efficient or better way to provide the symbolism of the Eternal Flame.”
Mr Mills said the sub branch had not been able to find another hologram Eternal Flame anywhere in Australia and believed it would become an attraction for Bathurst.
It is hoped the hologram will be in place by November 11 this year when Bathurst gathers at the War Memorial Carillon to mark 100 years since the end of World War 1.
“We’re already in the early days of planning for the centenary and it would be great if the hologram could be ready,” Mr Mills said.
“We are yet to settle on someone to install it but we are in negotiations with several builders at the moment.
“We’re not naive enough not to realise this plan would attract some negative comments but it’s something we have spoken about with the sub branch and the sense of it is that if we have to get rid of the flame to protect the memorial, then this is how we should do it.”
The memorial upgrade will also see a clavier installed to allow the carillon to be played as it should be, by hitting a large wooden keyboard with closed fists.
The upgrade will also see the current top octave of bells replaced, a new higher octave of bells purchased and installed, and the purchase and installation of a new “Clock-o-matic” system that automatically strikes the bells every 15 minutes.
The proposal to replace the Eternal Flame with a hologram received a lot of negative feedback on the Western Advocate’s Facebook page last week.