Name our tunnel boring machines and be part of history

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Various forms of tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have been around since the mid 19th century. While early versions were fairly primitive, as technology developed, a tradition was established in the late 20th century to name these machines after females.

Similar to why ships are named after females, TBMs also take inspiration from St Barbara who become a legend amongst miners, in keeping them safe when undertaking works underground. St Barbara is also the patron saint of mathematicians – 2 important skills to have when building tunnels deep underground.

St Barbara died in 306 AD but the tradition she inspired lives on in today’s construction of tunnels around the world. To this day, given the complex and important works involved with digging a tunnel underground, TBMs are not launched until a female name has been chosen.

Victoria’s Big Build projects have carried on this tradition, as well as many projects overseas including:

  • ‘Victoria’ – Used in London’s Crossrail project, named after Queen Victoria
  • ‘Dame Whina Cooper’ – Used in the construction of Auckland’s underground City Rail
  • ‘Harriet’ – The TBM used in the construction of the Channel Tunnel connecting the UK to France
  • ‘Alice’ – The TBM used to construct the tunnel as part of Vancouver’s Metro system.

In keeping with tradition, we’re naming the North East Link TBMs after women who make a big contribution in our community and we need your help to unearth them. Nominate a groundbreaking woman who has made a big contribution in your community.

Entries for naming the 2 tunnel boring machines are now closed.

We thank the community for their submissions, and we’ll announce the winners in the coming months before TBM tunnelling gets underway.

Entries will be assessed on the creativity of the submission and the unique characteristics of the local legend nominated.

The 2 winning submissions will see their local legend’s name up close and personal on the biggest TBMs in Victoria, with an exclusive opportunity to visit the machines before they’re launched this year.

Learn more about the history below:

North East Link