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Keeping the Eternal Flame burning

An iconic and important feature of the Melbourne landscape, the Shrine of Remembrance was built as a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. In the forecourt of the Shrine sits the Eternal Flame, which was lit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at a dedication ceremony in 1954.

Most visitors to the Shrine wouldn’t know that the gas assets that keep the Eternal Flame burning are owned by Multinet Gas and provided free of charge.

The Shrine holds a special place in the heart of Multinet Gas Contract Manager, Steve Walton who noticed that unlike the sentiment the flame represents, the gas assets that feed it were reaching the end of their life.

Scheduling the maintenance proved less than straight forward, however, when Steve discovered that with the passing of time, specifications, drawings and spares for the flame had diminished or were non-existent.

“We basically had to start from scratch by tracking down the company that built the original bowl and burner, signing a new MOU with the Shrine, and arranging a time when we could get crews on site to do the works,” Steve said.

Dant Industries, the company responsible for supplying parts, including the bowl and the burner, since the 1970s took 3D imagery and moulds during the strip down from which they will manufacture spare parts at their foundry in Melbourne, to ensure the flame can continue to burn.

On 19 August, 2015, Multinet Gas, along with service provider, ZNX Victoria Network Services were granted access to undertake the critical maintenance.

Due to difficulty cutting off the gas service and the remote location of the valve relative to the flame, a new valve was cut into the service closer to the asset for convenience and to mitigate any associated safety risk. Also, in this narrow timeframe, the ZNX gas workers stripped down the flame and had the parts sent away for 3D drawings to be made up.

From this joint overhaul exercise, full working procedure and maintenance documents have been produced for the Eternal Flame for future reference.

Having spent some months working closely with the Shrine of Remembrance to arrange the work and ongoing maintenance, Steve was both pleased and relieved it was done quickly and safely.

“There were a lot of moving parts to make this happen and ZNX did very good work. The Shrine of Remembrance is extremely appreciative for what we have all accomplished and grateful for the reduced future risk.”

The work now behind them and the Flame burning brightly, the regular maintenance of the assets will continue to be faithfully maintained by Cornelius (Con) Eggenhuizen, a gas fitter at ZNX Victoria Network Services.

Twice a year, in the early hours of the morning, Con quietly lowers the flame, “lights a little flame down the back” and gets to work cleaning it out, checking the burner, regulator shaft and bowl. “I take the responsibility very seriously,” says Con, “It’s part of my life”.

As Con said, the overhaul of the flame was a “stand out moment and the Multinet Gas and the ZNX teams worked really well together.


The inner workings of the Eternal Flame.

The ‘strip down’ team, L-R: Dean Renzella (Gas Fitter, Zinfra), Steve Walton (Contract Performance Manager, Multinet Gas), Prateek Kateelkar (Asset Engineer, Multinet Gas), Andrew Blease (Contract Performance Analyst, Multinet Gas), Con Eggenhuizen (Gas Fitter, ZNX), Malcolm Ashworth (Dant Industries), Glenn Wilson (Gas Supply Supervisor, ZNX), Paul Spithil (Dant Industries).