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Expansion in 1928 enabled various products for the civilian market to be produced.
During the 1930s staff were reduced to 250 (from 1,300 in 1915/16) and the factory concentrated solely on goods for the commercial market.
Machines were produced and badged under the names of Dobbie, Gladiola, Hallmark, Kennedy, Mercury, New Century, Pinnock and Thomson. Tony Griffiths Author “Lithgow’s Small Arms Factory and its People.” The need for a small arms factory was first discussed in 1895 but it wasn’t until 1906 that the Australian Federal Government came to the realisation that given their isolation Australia could no longer rely on Britain for her defence and that every effort should be made to ensure that Australia be self reliant in this regard.
Cases, hand cranks, treadles and electric sewing machines were made. In 1908 after two years of debate, plans were announced to build a small arms factory in Lithgow NSW.
The layout of the original factory was relatively simple; Building 60 with its 60 foot wide main room comprised the centre of the production areas with four fifty foot wide wings on its south side.
The first three wings contained the forge and heat treatment, the power plant and press and the wood and polishing room.
Production of the Short Magazine Lee Enfield .303 rifles pioneered the use in Australia of American scientific mass production techniques, and contributed to Australia's military contribution to the First (1914-1918) and Second (1939-1945) World Wars.The workforce at this time rose to 12,000 with the inclusion of increased shift work.This included 6,000 in Lithgow as well as an additional 6,000 in feeder factories established at Orange, Bathurst, Young, Forbes, Wellington, Cowra, Dubbo, Parkes, Portland and Mudgee to assist the Lithgow operations (Lithgow District Historical Society Notes).(Australian Government Heritage Site) Increasing demands were placed on the factory during the First World War with production doubling and then later re-doubling.
The production of Lee-Enfield .303 rifles increased during this time from 15,000 per year to 80,000 per year.The tender price was £68,000, which was less than half the most expensive quote, from the Birmingham Small Arms Company in the United Kingdom. On the 10th January 1910, the site for the factory was inspected by Lord Kitchener.