A BRONZE sculpture will replace the Eternal Flame burning inside Bathurst’s War Memorial Carillon under the latest recommendation put to Bathurst Regional Council.
Council is still considering the recommendation but the Bathurst RSL Sub Branch remains hopeful the sculpture will be dedicated on Anzac Day this year.
It has already taken more than a year of talks to get to this stage after council first asked the Sub Branch to consider removing the gas-fired Eternal Flame that has been burning since the 1960s.
It is all part of a major upgrade of the Carillon that will finally see it converted to a fully functioning musical instrument.
But the existing Eternal Flame coats the interior of the memorial with black, oily soot that must be regularly cleaned and there are concerns the soot would damage the upgraded carillon.
Twelve months ago the Western Advocate reported that a hologram was being considered to replace the Eternal Flame but those plans have given way to the current proposal for a sculpture.
RSL Sub Branch president David Mills said he understood the need to replace the Eternal Flame and supported the installation of a more “symbolic” flame.
“What we did was make a recommendation to council about what we would accept, and that was a sculpture to replace the flame,” Mr Mills said.
“We were asked to remove the gas-fired flame and we came up with the idea for a bronze form which includes the flame.
“The flame will be created by LED lights inside the sculpture and behind toughened glass.
“That’s been recommended to council and they are actioning it.”
Mr Mills said he had seen other symbolic flames at RSLs across the country, though plans for the Bathurst memorial would take a slightly different form.
The Sub Branch has been working with a sculptor who has produced a number of options for them to consider.
Mr Mills said what the flame stood for was more important to ex-servicemen and women than the flame itself.
“The flame represents the spirit of those who served,” he said.
“It’s a tangible way to focus on their service and sacrifice, and a reminder to the community that people have served and died for our country. It’s also a focus for our commemorations.
“As long as the Eternal Flame is replaced with something that’s symbolic and worthy of the Carillon War Memorial we will be happy.
“We would like to see it launched at the Dawn Service on Anzac Day after the current flame was first lit during the Dawn Service in 1965.”
Mr Mills said the existing cauldron would be retained by the Sub Branch to be put on display in the RSL museum.