Ashtray with Owen Gun Lysaghts badge

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales, Port Kembla
Accession Number REL42096
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Nickel-plated brass
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia: New South Wales
Date made Unknown
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953
Second World War, 1939-1945
Vietnam, 1962-1975

Brass ashtray in nickle plate finish with an enamelled brass badge in the centre, showing an Owen gun over a white globe, with the words 'OWEN GUN' over 'LYSAGHTS' on a red background.

History / Summary

During the Second World War Lysaghts, an Australian iron and steel company, made over 45000 Owen sub-machine guns. The gun was the invention of Evelyn Ernest Owen of Wollongong, New South Wales who had been developing his weapon from 1931.

After indifference from the military authorities over his design, Owen went to Vincent Wardell in September 1940. Wardell, the manager of the Port Kembla plant of Lysaght's Newcastle Works Pty Ltd, helped Owen develop the weapon. He also spoke to Sir Percy Spender, Minister for the Army, who had Owen transferred to the Central Inventions Board.

From September to October 1941 trials of the 9mm Owen gun were conducted at Long Bay, Sydney. Found to be more reliable than the American Thompson and the British Sten guns, it was issued to Australian armed forces from late 1942. The gun continued in service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.