O.F.M. was the ORDNANCE FACTORY MARIBYRNONG. Up to the end of June 1943 and at a time when the wages were about £5 ($10) to £6 ($12) per week Australia had spent £1,106,000,000 (£156 per head) on the war effort. A lot of the money was spent at home in making war necessities such as armaments, munitions, boots, clothing, and in providing special training. Significant increases in numbers occurred in the personnel employed in the fighting services, and also in the work force involved in the war effort. During the financial year 1942-1943 the war cost Australia £561,743,000 (over a billion dollars), while the Income Tax raised from individuals totalled only 16.5% of this amount. To finance the war the Australian government had previously borrowed money from the public, and from institutions such as the savings banks, friendly societies, and life assurance societies, by running three successfully subscribed Liberty Loans. The institutions had contributed considerably more money to these Liberty Loans than the public, however it can be argued that the public members of these institutions had also contributed some money indirectly.
The 4th Liberty Loan which opened on 5 October 1943 and closed on 9 November 1943 was intended to raise £125,000,000, with the government aiming for 750,000 subscribers. Bonds costing £10 each could be bought on a time payment scheme. A total of £126,408,000 was raised at two different interest rates and maturity dates, however the number of subscribers had only reached 567,533. Some newspaper reports of the time indicate that the low number of subscribers was a partial failure of the loan, because spare money in the community could lead to inflation at a time when goods were in short supply. The government set target quotas on how much money should ideally be raised in a particular district, and how many subscribers should ideally take part. Often these quotas proved to be excessive.
The Special Red Pennant Award as given to the No 1 FORGE O.F.M. was normally for achieving the highest per capita contribution within each particular group. What is unknown at this stage is what other entities were in the same group, or how large the group was. There were other variations of the awards such as those given to country districts, where a star was placed on the left hand corner of the pennant if the money quota was reached, while two or three stars indicated that the quota was doubled or tripled. A bar was also included on the pennant if the quota of subscribers was achieved, while two bars indicated double the quota of subscribers.
The above information was sourced from Trove newspaper articles at: (1) http://nla.gov.au.nla.news-article70439716, (2) http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article141292541, (3) http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11797265, (4) http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11788072, and from (5) http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/pdf/RCDIG1070158--1-.PDF (see page 580).
This framed award has significance in that it serves as a historic reminder that the No 1 Forge O.F.M. and the Ordnance Factory Maribyrnong once existed within the Shire of Braybrook, and later the City of Sunshine, and that it was involved in the manufacture of ordnance for World War 2. It also serves as a historic reminder that it costs a huge amount of money for a country to be involved in a major war, and that a big contribution is required from the public to raise money and to produce goods for the war effort.
Permanently sealed brown stained wood frame with a glass face. Enclosed behind the glossy glass is a triangular shaped pennant made of red felt material. The red colour appears to be somewhat faded. The inscriptions and markings on the pennant are in blue, gold, and white coloured inks.
Inscriptions & markings
The AUSTRALIAN COAT OF ARMS diagram plus the following writing: SPECIAL AWARD / 4th LIBERTY LOAN / Oct.-Nov. 1943 / No 1 FORGE O.F.M.