Lithgow Wood

Stephen Redgwell

This information was sent to me in the late 1990s by a contributor to Mark Bitting’s old Gun & Knife forum. Both that forum and Mark are gone and sorely missed.


You may be interested to know that Australian defence manufacturer ADI at Lithgow used Australian timber for the manufacture on the SMLE .303.

Timber types used in .303 SMLE production from 1913 to 1955:

1913-1915 English walnut was imported from England
1915-1940 Queensland maple was used
1917-1924 Some experimenting with Coachwood
1921 some examples of walnut
1940-1955 Coachwood

Other firearms manufactured were fitted with Coachwood furniture, namely the L1A1, L2A1 and the 9mm F1 Carbine. As far as I know, the furniture used on the .22 cal. Slazenger range of rifles was Coachwood also.

Around 1980 there was a quantity of butts and, I think, pistol grips produced in Tasmanian Myrtle although these didn’t amount to any large numbers.

As a matter of interest, the Lithgow Small Arms Museum have on display, a set of nine (9) SMLE rifles (marked Lithgow 1919 Mk.III*) stocked in the following timbers:

Walnut Queensland
Black Bean Queensland
Carabeen NSW
Red Myrtle Tasmania
Queensland Maple Queensland
Birch New Zealand
Blackwood Tasmania and Victoria
Crowsfoot Elm Queensland
Coachwood NSW

Records are sketchy, but it’s believed that these rifles were part of the “Bushweek” Exhibition held in the Sydney Town Hall as part of the peace celebration marking the end of the war. The rifles are complete with bayonet, these having matching timber grips. The botanical species is painted on the right hand side of each butt. Two sets of nine (9) rifles were produced, both sets are owned by the Museum.