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Reflections on Anzac Day

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AGL Energy
24 April 2019

Tomorrow we pay tribute to all Australians and New Zealanders who have served in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations – and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Anzac Day is an important part of AGL’s history too because many of our people have served in Australia’s defence forces dating back to World War I.

In the lead-up to Anzac Day, we spoke to some of our people who have served in the Australian Defence Force about what Anzac Day means to them.

Simon Ridgway – Engineering Manager, Gas and Renewables

I was 18 years old and in my first year of university when I joined the Army Reserve in Adelaide. I was an enlisted soldier for seven years, and then became an officer in the Royal Australian Engineers.

I have served as commander of the engineering squadron in South Australia, and Commanding Officer of the Adelaide Universities Regiment. I’ve also spent a year at Australian Command and Staff College in Canberra, and I have been deployed to Afghanistan with NATO on Operation SLIPPER.

After returning from Afghanistan I joined AGL in Adelaide, but I continued to serve in the reserve – and I’m now the commander of the Cadet Brigade in South Australia.

On Anzac Day, I always reflect on the sacrifices our ADF members have made for the freedom we enjoy in our country. My family and I will attend the dawn service in Port Lincoln, where Army Cadets from my unit will be providing the catafalque party. I will be receiving the salute from the marching veterans after the dawn service, before travelling up to Ceduna to open a new Army Cadet unit.


Trevor Anderson – Operations Manager, Newcastle Gas Storage Facility

I joined the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) after leaving high school in Port Macquarie. I always had a passion for engineering and the sea, so the RAN suited me well.

I served onboard HMAS Brisbane, a Guided Missile Destroyer, which was a frontline ship primarily tasked with anti-aircraft defence. I spent the majority of my naval career deployed to South East Asia, but also ventured further afield to other regions. I spent an average of 10 months per year at sea during this time.

The biggest learning that I have taken from my service is how to lead a team and how to accept the multitude of personality types in the workforce.

My engineering training, boiler and turbine experience led to several employment opportunities in heavy industry and manufacturing, before finally leading me to AGL Macquarie – where I am currently the Operations Manager at Newcastle Gas Storage Facility (NGSF).

I generally don’t celebrate Anzac Day in the traditional way. Instead, I reflect on my grandfathers who served in World War II, as well as those I have served with, those who have lost their lives in recent conflicts, and those who are still serving today.

Graham Sutton – Outage Supervisor / HSE Advisor, AGL Macquarie

I was only 18 when I enlisted in the RAN, and I spent many years serving in northern Australia and South East Asia.

These experiences have taught me discipline above everything else. I’m committed to maintaining processes and procedures, and not taking any shortcuts. The RAN also allowed me to develop strong management, planning, scheduling and coordination skills.

I treat Anzac Day as a family day. I spend time with my wife and sons, and I never consume alcohol. This is my commitment to remembering the significance of this day.


AGL’s history

At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, AGL had more than 3,000 employees. Recruitment for the volunteer Australian Imperial Force was enthusiastic; some employees joined the rush and enlisted in the first week. By the cessation of hostilities in 1918, 340 AGL workers had enlisted – 45 were killed, while an even greater number returned with physical disabilities and mental scars.

The jobs of every person who enlisted were kept open during their service, and many returned to take those jobs up again. AGL also made up the pay difference between their military and civil pay.

In World War II, AGL employees established a Troop Comfort Fund to help their 600 colleagues who went to serve. Today, that fund – now the AGL Community Fund – still offers members support in times of need, including financial assistance and convalescent accommodation in properties across Australia.

The AGL Gasworks Memorial

AGL recognised the great sacrifice made by its employees and their families during the War and we commemorated their valour by erecting a Tablet at the entrance of the Mortlake works, called the ‘AGL Gasworks Memorial’. Following the redevelopment of the area post the closure of the gas works site, the memorial is now known as the Breakfast Point War Memorial.”

The BP War Memorial website provides information on the War Memorial and provides a brief history of the families of those who died, where they served during the War, and an indication of the impact of their death on their families.