THE OWEN GUN
CHRONOLOGICAL BIBLIOGRAPHY AND CATALOGUE OF MEMORABILIA AND PUBLISHED DOCUMENTS
28 OCTOBER 2008
The following is an edited version of Alan Stein’s original listing as distributed to various libraries and archives during October 2008. It was the result of decades of research by the then 84 year old Mr. Stein. The list has here been rearranged chronologically, plus all dates standardised along with author citations. No other changes have been made to Mr. Stein’s original document – a brief biography of Evelyn Owen has also been inserted, taken from the Australian War Memorial web site - Michael Organ, 1 December 2008
Brief Biography of Lieutenant Evelyn Ernest Owen
Date of birth: 15 May 1915
Place of birth:
Date of death: 1 April 1949
Place of death:
Inventor of the Owen sub-machine gun, Evelyn Owen was born
on 15 May 1915 in
W.C. Wentworth, Demand for Defence: Being a Plan to Keep
[Various] File of memos recording the transfer of machined and heat
treated parts from Lysaght's
Evelyn Ernest Owen, Improvements relating to firearms, Australian Patent No. 115974, 22 July 1941. 18 columns + 2 sheets of drawings.
[Various] Album of over 500 photographs recording progress in the
development and manufacture of the Owen gun. Most of the photographs were taken
by David Brown, a trainee metallurgist at the Port Kembla branch of Lysaght's.
The original album is now held in the museum of the Small Arms Factory,
[Various] Album of 50 -100 photographs of machines and workforce
carrying out the precision machining and heat treatment of parts in NO.3
machine shop at the Newcastle works of Lysaghts. This album was the property of
completion of the Owen Gun project, a cabinet containing each development model
and the 9mm production model was presented to the Australian War Memorial,
[Anonymous] Laudatory address to the management of Lysaghts from the workforce of the Owen gun annex at Port Kembla, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to work on such an important project. Framed. Illustrated by Ruby Buist. For text of address see (16). Lysaght archives. BlueScope Steel Ltd. library, Port Kembla.
V.A. Wardell, Owen gun - Notes
27 October 1941, 10p. Typescript. Mitchell Library,
V.A. Wardell, Copies of at least 20 letters on the Owen Gun project,
1941 -1944. Most of these letters are not in the Australian archives. Mitchell
[Various] Collection of 44 files including letters to V.A. Wardell and copies of letters from V.A. Wardell; also copies of reports etc. Some items are copies of material deposited in the Mitchell Library. The collection is held in the estate of V.A. Wardell. Catalogued by G.R. Hart with copy of catalogue to A.W. Stein.
Australian inventor creates new miracle gun. Fox Movietone [film]. 29 September 1941.
Owen gun passes world's most searching test. Fox Movietone [film]. Copies of at least
two of these films are held in the Australian Film and Sound Archive,
K. Schapel, Owen gun hold-up to end, Daily Telegraph, 5 November 1941. See also Editorial (presumably by Brian Penton) of the same day. The series of articles in the Daily Telegraph was a consequence of discussions between V.A Wardell and Brian Penton, editor of the Daily Telegraph. The discussions commenced about October 1941, probably at the Union Club, Sydney. Vincent Wardell withheld his consent for publication of (1a) for several days. Although a letter from the Secretary for the Army dated 13th October 1941 stated that the 9mm Owen gun had been adopted, a re-design by Ordnance Production Directorate was in progress. Lysaghts received details of the re-design on the 24th October. Vincent Wardell did not support this approach but was prepared to wait a short time for the Army and O.P.O. to change their attitude towards the G.S. Wardell design which had been proved in controlled tests. When no constructive communication was received, he approved the text of Ken Schapel's article for publication on the 5th November, 1941. The press reports were reviewed, with quotations, by Wardman (4), Smith (5) and Morton (6).
Finey, Gad, There's no ramrod. [Cartoon] Daily Telegraph. 19 November 1941.
Finey, Gad, I'm sure it won't work. [Cartoon] Daily Telegraph. 20 November 1941. Both cartoons were reproduced by Wardman (4, p.54) The original art works, signed by Finey for both cartoons (a) and (b), were deposited in the Lysaght Archives.
Hitler] When you've finished playing with it, let me have it." Caption attributed to Adolph Hitler, looking through
K. Schapel, The army stalled for two years, Daily Telegraph, 21 November 1941.
R. Hughes, This man knew his gun was good, Daily Telegraph, 21 November 1941.
Demonstration of the Owen gun (and other
guns). Fox Movietone [film]. 22 December 1941.
Evelyn Ernest Owen. Improvements relating to sub-machine guns. Australian Patent No. 116434. 13 January 1942. 12 columns. 2 sheets of drawings.
V.A. Wardell, Owen gun - Notes
First revision July 1942. 26p.. Typescript. Mitchell
Owen gun delay explained. Daily Telegraph, 29 October 1942.
9mm Owen gun - Notes for armourers. pp. approx 10. Illustrated. Australian Military Forces. November, 1942. This was written, Wholly set up, and printed by Lysaghts in their basic printing shop in the Port Kembla branch of Lysaghts Works, in response to Order 1\10. PS623 dated 4th November, 1942, for 1000 copies (3, Appendix 11) presumably issued by the Ordnance Production Dept. Copies endorsed "Not to be published". It is a serious reflection on the level of interest developed by the officers of the Australian Defence Forces that they had insufficient knowledge of the weapon's operation to write and publish this booklet within the resources of the military forces and the O.P.O. At least one re-print was ordered. Copies in the Lysaght Archives 5G 10.2 -A2.
V.A. Wardell, Owen gun - Notes
on development, Second revision 22 March 1943, pp.26 + 6. Typescript. Mitchell Library,
For better or worse. Mr and Mrs Pott. [Cartoon] Smith's Weekly. 4 September 1943.
Letterhead for Evelyn Owen's timber milling
business at Tongarra which commenced in November, 1943. pp1 J blank. The Owen Gun project.
Letter from V.A. Wardell to the Hon. F.M. Forde, Minister for the Army, advising Evelyn Owen's resignation from the Lysaght staff on Thursday, 18 November 1943, to operate a timber mill and continue development of an automatic pistol. 13th November, 1943. pp1. Mitchell Library collection.
So long, Owen
gun. Report of dinner, Friday 1st September 1944,
by Mr Dolvey, journalist for the Illawarra Mercury. The
Illawarra District and
D.I. Cameron, Lysaght's silver jubilee. 1921-1946. see pages 91-93. Lysaght's Works Pty. Ltd. 1946. No author statement. pp115. Illus. The author was Donald Ian Cameron, M.A (Cantab) b. 3rd April 1910. d. September, 1969. Chief Research Officer for Lysaght Works Pty. Ltd., then Research Superintendent 1955-1969. The authority for this is AW. Stein who shared the office with D.I. Cameron when he was writing the ms for Lysaght's Silver Jubilee, at the end of 1945, for publication before the 4th April, 1946, which was the date of the jubilee. Norman J. MacLeod contributed to the chapters on the Port Kembla works.
D.P. Mellor, Small arms and machine guns. Chapter 15 of The Role of Science and Industry, Vol. 5 in Series 4, ‘Civil’, in Australia in the War of 1939-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1958, pp.325-332 and illustration facing p. 309.
Ernest The Australian Encyclopaedia. 2nd ed.
J. Lorenc, The story of the
Owen gun. The Lysaght Gazette. Vol. 19. No. 15. May, 1968. Illustrated. The Lysaght Gazette was the monthly in-house
journal for the
I.V. Hogg and J. Batchelor, The
Mary Smith, [Owen Gun], Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences,
Beale, E. The development of young EVO. IIlawarra Historical Society Bulletin. Part 1: July, 1982 pp 36 -38 and Part 2: August, 1982 pp 45 -48.
The development and manufacture of the Owen gun. 2nd
edition. illustrated. Published
by A.W. Stein, Central Library, John Lysaght (
G.S. Wardell, The Owen gun story in brief. Introduction, one page only. IIlawarra Historical Society Bulletin. November 1982. p. 71.
G.S. Wardell, History of the Owen gun. Manuscript written 1941 -44 and extended in 1982. Typescript, pp. 75 approx plus supplementary papers. 4 copies in G. S. Wardell estate. 1 copy in Lysaght archives. 1 copy held by A Stein. Item 3a is a condensed version published in 1982 with about 100 copies distributed, gratis.
G.S. Wardell, The Owen gun - An analysis of events, May 1984. AW. Stein, Jamberoo, NSW, 13p.
G.S. Wardell, The Owen gun - Notes on design, May 1984. A.W. Stein, 5p. Published with (3b) as a single volume.
Eric. Fight for a defence industry. Review of A.T. Ross Armed and ready: The
industrial development and defence of
A.T. Ross, The arming of
R.G. Haycock and A.T. Ross, The Owen gun scandal,
War and Society. 5 (2) 1987.
100 years of Australian service machine guns. Private
publication by 1.0. Skennerton.
I.D. Skennerton, Australian service machine guns. Ian
Wardman, The Owen gun.
P.N. Richards, Lysaght Enterprise. B.H.P. Co. Ltd, Sheet and Coil Products Division. Port Kembla. N.S.W. 2505.1992. pp 303 plus appendix A-E. Illustrated. 53 fig. 34 tables. pp 59-62.
Cornish, Paul. Dept. of exhibits and firearms,
Kevin Smith, The Owen gun files - An
Australian wartime controversy. Turton and Armstrong,
A.T. Ross, Armed and Ready. The
Industrial Development and Defence of
Norm Barney, Girls going great
Clive Morton, The Evo Owen story.
April 2003. The longer edition (sic) published by the author, June, 2006. pp 132. Illustrated. Copies available from C. Morton.
William Verity, A tortured genius. Illawarra Mercury - The Weekender, Saturday, 14 May 2005. Supplement to IIlawarra Mercury pp.58, 59.
Eric Carpenter, Gratitude: The last casualty of war. Wartime. Issue 35. July 2006. Illustrated. pp 44-46.
Stein, Alan. Precision machining and heat
treatment of parts for the Owen gun at Lysaght's
The Owen Gun project. Lysaght Archives, c/o BlueScope Steel Ltd. 47 documents. Catalogue No. 5G 10.2.
The Owen Gun project.
Photograph of Evelyn Owen. Enlarged, tinted. Approx. 60 X 80 cm. Lysaght archives. BlueScope Steel Ltd. Library, Port Kembla.
Biography of Vincent Andrew Wardell (1903 -1990). Text submitted to Australian Dictionary of Biography for publication in (approximately) 2010.
Biography of Gerald Stanislaus Wardell (1904 -1992). Text submitted to Australian Dictionary of Biography for publication in (approximately) 2017.
Ernest (1915 -1949) Australian Dictionary of Biography.