Forging a gun barrel for a 3.7" anti-aircraft gun

Unit Commonwealth Ordnance Factory
Place Oceania: Australia, Victoria, Melbourne
Accession Number ART23062
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 36.8 x 29.8 cm
Object type Drawing
Physical description carbon on paper
Maker Curtis, R Emerson
Place made Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Date made 1940
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


In 1940 with permits from the Department of Information artist R Emerson Curtis visited the Commonwealth Munitions area on the heights above the Maribynong River, Melbourne. The first area he was taken to was the gun making section of the plant. At the time they were making anti-aircraft guns. This drawing shows a gun barrel being forged. Curtis described the forging bay ' In the centre stood the big press which forges the gun barrels, after which they are lowered into an annealing pit below the floor. A shaft of sun lit up the cold, greasy sides of the press, hazing to a gray silhouette a group of enormous electric hammers and the action of the men around them. Here was a scene symbolizing all that is meant by "heavy industry", furnace fires, giant machines, men toiling and sweating under a canopy of smoke and noise.'