Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum
Showcasing Australia's industrial history in technical and human terms
The history of the Lithgow Small Arms Factory is about people - their aspirations, achievements and disappointments, the economic and social hardships endured, the influence of our British heritage on Australia in the early 1900s, and sheer human stubborness. It is also about the introduction of new technologies into the emerging new nation. Lithgow SAF was Australia's first high precision mass production facility. This Museum was formed to celebrate its history.
Situated on the existing Factory site, this unique museum is widely recognised for its comprehensive collection of modern firearms from around the world, but more than that, it is a showcase of Australian manufacturing. Displays show the production processes and social history of this renowned facility, and some of the myriad of commercial and domestic production which, between the wars, provided The Factory's lifeblood and preserved the valuable skills of its workforce.
A comprehensive display of machine guns, rifles, handguns and related items from around the world. Unique to this museum are Australian designed and produced experimental, prototype and pre-production weapons.
The historic collection of photographs and memorabilia reveal early to modern day production processes and the involvement of factory employees in the social, sporting and cultural events of Lithgow since 1912.
Non-military items manufactured during 80 years of precision engineering give an idea of the versatility of the factory and its workforce. Commercial production included sewing machines, sheep shearing handsets, hand cuffs, medical implants, and many other items.
In 2006 Ron Hayes donated his amazing handgun collection to the museum. Rarities in the Hayes Gallery include the Borchardt, Webley 1904, and the Persian Luger. Among the 800 varied handguns featured are a number of gold plated and hand-engraved presentation masterpieces.
The stunning 1923 General Machine Shop houses an intriguing collection of specialised gun-making and general machinery. The displays are yet to be finished, but visitors are welcome to view the collection which ranges from the belt-driven machinery of the original 1912 contract through to 1990s CNC machining centres.