Lithgow Small Arms Factory Archive

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The Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum’s extensive and significant archival collection is a national treasure which should be preserved for current and future generations. It documents the history of the Lithgow Small Arms Factory and its role in pioneering precision manufacturing in Australia. It is the only collection of its kind and provides the history of Australia’s primary ordnance/weapons production facility from the early 1900s through to the 1980s. It is especially important for the period leading up to and during the two world wars. The Factory’s history is a reminder of our nation’s struggles, response, and achievements in those times of adversity.

There are some 30,000 to 35,000 records from 1910 to 1986. These include employee records, machine tool periodicals and catalogues, engineering books, photographic material (negatives/prints/film), blueprints, plans, drawings/sketches, newspaper clippings, posters, factory administration records, diaries, technical specifications and cartoons.

Lithgow Small Arms Factory was more than just a factory. It engendered a sense of belonging and community. It was a model for regional development. It displayed inventiveness and awe-inspiring achievements. The wide variety of archival materials, together with an array of machine tools and the industrial premises in which they are housed, provide living proof of one of Australia’s iconic industrial establishments.