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Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


Munitions factories

The main munitions factory in South Australia, at Salisbury, dates from 1940. Commonwealth records may refer to its purpose as 'munitions' or 'ammunition'. The location may also be noted as Penfield. For a time Salisbury was the largest explosives factory in Australia. By August 1942 it was making trinitrotoluene (TNT), nitro-glycerine, ammonium nitrate and several initiators. The Salisbury factory was responsible for making caps and detonators; preparing the small component-primers and fusers, of which caps and detonators were a part; filling cartridge cases with propellant and fitting them with primers; and filling shell bodies with high explosives and assembling each to form a complete round of ammunition. Troubled by labour shortages, employment at Salisbury declined from March 1943.

Other South Australian munitions factories were established at Hendon and Finsbury (later known as Woodville North).

Records held by the Archives relating to munitions factories in South Australia include correspondence, accident records, plans and photographs.

SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO MUNITIONS FACTORIES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Canberra
Recorded by: Munitions Supply/Defence Research/Defence Standards Laboratories, Finsbury, South Australia
General correspondence files, 1947–67 D2997
Sydney
Recorded by: Works and Services Branch, South Australia
Register of copies of Salisbury site explosives factory building drawings, 1940–42 D4654
Register of Salisbury drawings, 1940–42 D4652
Register of Salisbury drawings, 1941–51 D4647
Original plans (negatives) and drawings of explosives factory at Salisbury, 1942 D4788
Original plans for diesel sets for Salisbury and Broken Hill, 1943 D4784
Sydney
Recorded by: State Board of Area Management, South Australia, Department of Munitions
Monthly medical reports – munitions factories, Finsbury, Hendon, Penfield, Broken Hill, Port Pirie, 1941–50 D4869
Sydney
Recorded by: Department of Labour and National Service, Branch Office/Regional Administration, South Australia
Finsbury ammunition factory accident records, 1941–50 D2712
Sydney and Adelaide
Recorded by: No. 2 Explosives and Filling Factory, Salisbury, South Australia
Plans and drawings of Salisbury, South Australia, explosives factory, 1941–49 D5164
Correspondence files, 1941–50 D2077
Sydney
Recorded by: Ministry of Post-war Reconstruction, South Australia
Ammunition factories and annexes, general and leasing files, 1944–56 D4524
Ammunition factories and related facilities, leasing and general correspondence files, 1944–56 D4523
Sydney
Recorded by: Property and Survey Branch, South Australia
Photographic copies, Finsbury ammunition factory building drawings, 1946–55 D5425
Melbourne
Recorded by: Department of Munitions, Central Administration, Historical Records Section
Photographic records relating to munitions production during World War II, 1940–50 MP438/4
Melbourne
Recorded by: Munitions Supply Board Research Laboratories, Maribyrnong, Victoria
General correspondence of munitions supply laboratories, defence research and industrial laboratories, defence research laboratories and defence standards laboratories, departments of Munitions, Supply and Development [II] and Supply, 1942–55 MP1118/5
Melbourne
Recorded by: Department of Munitions, Central Administration
Drawings of Commonwealth Government munitions establishments, 1944–45 B6001
Melbourne
Recorded by: Department of Supply, Central Office
Plans and drawings of explosives factory, Salisbury, 1955 B6612
Recorded by: State Records of South Australia
Card index to drawings of various railway activities (including Salisbury munitions factory), 1940–70 D2819
SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO MUNITIONS FACTORIES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Sydney
Finsbury munitions factory – general, 1949–55 D4523, 7
Melbourne
Views of general area and various buildings explosives factory, Salisbury, South Australia – 75 black and white photographs, 1940–46 MP438/4, P/22
Salisbury – Number 2 explosives factory, 1941–47 B6591, D2901 parts 1 to 16
Munitions Department – Salisbury, South Australia, 1940–45 B5281, 18.4/19 to 18.4/32
Munitions Department – Finsbury, South Australia, 1940–45 B5281, 18.5/1 to 18.5/8
Adelaide
Building works – fuze, shell, detonator, cordite and general factory layout, 1940–44 D2077, EX172
Reports of incidents at Salisbury explosive factory, 1942–45 D1915, SA10875E part 1 and 2

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Chapter 6
Defence