Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum in the spotlight

Lithgow Small Arms Factory is ready to shine a light on how things used to be, with special guided tours across the Mother’s Day weekend of May 12 and 13.

The trip back in time will go ahead as part of the National Trust’s Heritage Festival and LithGlow 2018, with a highlight being special projections and light displays once the sun starts to set on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

The factory buildings will be flooded with light from 6pm thanks to a World War Two searchlight, which is still operational, at the centre of proceedings. Patrons will be able to view the searchlight up close and personal as it does its job. The beam launches its dazzling shaft of light infinite metres into the night sky, and organisers claim it will be visible to onlookers from Bathurst to the Blue Mountains.

Before things become all lit up, the guided tours will cater for enthusiasts to soak up the atmosphere of the four former production buildings. Included on the route will be the original 1912 main workshop where rifles were produced to arm Australian soldiers during the First World War. The machines may be no longer in place but the aura of those faraway days lingers on. And the workplace still exudes its unique feel.

An added aspect of the Lithgow weekend will be a rare chance to sample a look at the usually inaccessible revered machinery collection, which includes non-military items aside from rifles and machine guns such as sewing machines, mix masters and shearing handsets.

For those keen to make a day of things, there is the chance to enjoy a picnic on the lawn at the rear of the museum. Visitors can bring their own goodies or savour the light refreshments that will be available to buy from the old canteen.

On Saturday night the museum will throw open its doors for extended hours, with a one-off feature dedicated to rare and curious handguns plus an exhibition of how handguns function.

There’s sure to be heavy demand to take up the tours, so bookings are essential with numbers limited to 12 per group. The cost is $20 per person, which includes museum admission. General museum prices remain at $10 for adults, $7 concessions and $20 for a family.

For more information or to make bookings, go to [email protected] or phone 0427 560 238.

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