Australian War Memorial's Eternal Flame
A flame is widely accepted as a symbol of eternal life. An eternal flame at a war memorial symbolizes a nation's perpetual gratitude towards, and remembrance of, its war dead.
The Eternal Flame at the Australian War Memorial is a sculptural feature of the Pool of Reflection in the commemorative courtyard. It is a perpetual reminder of the service and sacrifice of more than 100,000 Australians who have given their lives in war.
The Australian Gas Association offered to donate an eternal flame to the Memorial and subsequent to Council approval, the eternal flame was installed in 1988 as a bicentennial gift from AGL, Santos Ltd and East Australian Pipelines Ltd. The eternal flame displaced - within the Pool of Reflection - an existing water cascade.
ActewAGL continue to provide the donation of gas, under sponsorship agreement, to the eternal flame.
The Memorial received assistance in the formulation of a design for the Eternal Flame from the National Capital Development Authority, who engaged the architectural firm Denton, Corker and Marshall to design, document and supervise construction of architectural works associated with the Eternal Flame. Les Kossatz, from Melbourne, was the sculptor of the original prototype for the flame brazier, which was installed at water level, thereby giving the impression that the flame comes from the water. Two small plaques giving brief information are sited in the stone paving surrounding the Pool of Reflection near the flame.
There are two plaques set into the stonework surrounding the Pool of Reflection:
THE ETERNAL FLAME
A GIFT TO THE NATION FROM THE AUSTRALIAN
ON THE OCCASION OF AUSTRALIA 'S BICENTENARY
LIT BY HIS EXCELLENCY
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR NINIAN STEPHEN
AK GCMG GCVO KBE
GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF AUSTRALIA