Lee-Enfield to the SLR: Service Rifles of the Australian Digger in Combat

    Australia’s history of indigenous small arms production begins with the opening of the Lithgow small arms factory in the eastern part of the country. Starting with Lee-Enfield production before the First World War and ending with the Self Loading Rifle before the takeover of Australian Defense Industries (ADI) after the Vietnam War. During this time period, Lithgow and other facilities in the country produced the majority of small arms and ammunition that armed the Australian infantry in WW1, WW2, and Vietnam where Australians fought alongside Vietnamese and American allies against the Viet Cong and Noth Vietnamese Army.

    Things came to an end for the small arms factory at Lithgow when Australian Defense Industries took over operations as part of a government-wide effort to privatize the defense industry. Many in the town today still feel animosity over this move.

    Today visitors can and are encouraged to visit the Lithgow Small Arms Museum that is still open and operating in the town.

    Thumbnail image was taken at the Australian War Memorial Museum.

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    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]