Army Inventions Directorate, 1942–46 – Fact sheet 199

Inventions to support the war effort

In 1942 the Army Inventions Directorate (CA 537) was formed to encourage, coordinate, test and develop inventions of merit – particularly those with military applications – to assist Australia and the Allies in the war effort. The Directorate replaced the Central Inventions Board (CA 153), but had greater functions and resources at its disposal.

With headquarters in Melbourne and offices in each State capital and in Newcastle, the Directorate used the mass media and various technical journals to call for inventions. It also circulated lists of problems to selected inventors and scientific and technical organisations. By the time it was disbanded in 1946, the Directorate had received over 20,000 submissions and had accepted 127 for development. DP Mellor devoted a chapter in The Role of Science and Industry (volume V of the 'Civil' series of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1939–45) to the Directorate's role and detailed some of the most notable submissions.

Record holdings

The Melbourne office of the National Archives holds a relatively comprehensive collection of Army Inventions Directorate records, including correspondence records about inventions; drawings, plans and photographs of inventions; and a range of indexes and registers. Details of these records are listed below.

Army Inventions Directorate records held in Melbourne

Correspondence records

Drawings, plans and photographs

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
SeriesDrawings of inventions1939–45MP100/1
SeriesBlueprints of inventions1939–45MP100/2
SeriesVolumes of photographs of inventions (the second volume of this series is an incomplete duplicate of the first)1939–45MP100/3

Indexes and registers

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017