Following the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Tasmania's Premier Robert Cosgrove lobbied for a fair share of war work and subsequent benefit from the Commonwealth expenditure on Australian-made munitions and materials and Launceston's industries rose to the challenge.
Inveresk's Railway Workshops started with a small order for standard tools and gauges and gun firing platforms, but became major contractors for an enormous quantity and wide range of precision equipment, shells and mortar bombs.
As skilled men left to fight at the front, workers known as 'dilution labour' came from all walks of life and took their place.
Salisbury Foundry employed three shifts to cast fittings for ships' propellers, steel girders and heavy angle sections of mobile panel bridge equipment.
The 64 men employed at the Phoenix Foundry made equipment for ships, pontoon bridge work and exhaust pipes.
Glasgow Engineering built cargo winches and a panel bridge, as well as carrying out urgent repairs to ships and for four years, Reconditioned Motors made cable drums, aero cylinders and stainless-steel bolts among other projects.
Famous for its tennis racquets, the Alexander Patent Racket Co. at Newstead used casual labour to make shell carriers, ammunition boxes, tent poles and camping equipment.
AE Jack's shipbuilding yards at Trevallyn completed six wooden vessels for the Commonwealth Government, three for harbour defence work and three small hospital ships.
Launceston's textile industries also contributed to the war effort. Patons and Baldwins made yarn and Kelsall and Kemp produced blankets and flannel while Waverley Woollen Mills supplied one million blankets, employing extra men to do the work usually done by women.
Thyne Bros. spun yarn, made knitted goods and adapted their plant to manufacture camouflage nets and Kiltie Hosiery produced thousands of pullovers, gloves, singlets, knitted wool skirts and khaki drill military trousers.
Launceston's contribution was a great achievement, much of it done in secret with the Commonwealth Government spending approximately 12,000,000 pounds in Tasmania on the production front.
The businesses were understandably proud of their efforts, while at the same time attempting to keep up civilian production, although at a reduced rate.
Despite the lack of trained and skilled tradesmen, and its 'rural' reputation, Tasmania's industrial war effort was second to none.