State Weapons Collection


MM 15


The Migration Museum manages the State Weapons Collection on behalf of History SA. It has been built up by donations and purchases over many years and is a melding of collections previously held by earlier government departments.

Many of the earliest weapons were part of the Historical Relics Collection transferred from the Art Gallery of SA. The collection is also believed to include items from the old School of Mines. More recent sources (other than private donations) include various police firearms amnesties and a few non-military items from the Army Museum of South Australia. The collection now includes a range of weapons including longarms and handguns; swords, daggers and bayonets and a variety of accessories and accoutrements. Both military and civilian items are included, as well as items of wide cultural origins. The collection does not contain any Aboriginal weapons, these being considered the province of the expertise within the South Australian Museum.

Some of the weapons are of a rare design, some are artistically flamboyant, some are worn and damaged and some are in superb condition, while many are important links to the history of South Australia. Also included are the arms of explorers, local police and volunteer military forces, as well as a number of weapons manufactured or retailed within the State. These feature some gems - Colonel Light's sword, Governor Gawler's travelling pistols, First World War souvenirs captured by local Australian Imperial Force (AIF) battalions, some recreational target rifles of the German settlers and a good representative collection of the products of the Sporting Arms Company ('Sportco'), manufactured in the southern Adelaide suburb of St Marys. There are also examples of weapons from other areas of Australia and other countries. It is the most extensive and comprehensive state owned collection of weapons in South Australia.

A Migration Museum collection. Access to collection items held in Museum Stores is by appointment only.


17th to 20th century; Ammunition; Cannons; Daggers; Firearms; South Australia; Swords

Colonel Light; Governor Gawler; Migration Museum, South Australia; Sporting Arms Company (Sportco)

Weapon accessories; Weapons



Coverage Spatial

South Australia; Australia

Coverage Temporal



Related Collections


2012-12-12 16:50

2011-03-22 15:57