In late 1919 the War Trophies Committee was established and its role was to distribute 'war trophies' which had been captured during the War. A meeting was held on October 16, 1919 and the report of this meeting tells us how the guns would be distributed and it also has an insight in to how the Australian War Museum collection was started - lt was agreed that all trophies captured by units of the six States should be handed over as soon as possible, and that an immediate distribution should be made of one gun to each of thc C.M.F. (1) units with, which A.I.F. (2) units have been affiliated. This will absorb only a relatively small portion of the trophies due to the States, and it was thought fitting that the first trophies allocated should go to the A.I.F. battalions and regiments which were responsible for the capture of the trophies as a whole. A first selection will be made from the trophies for the purpose of establishing at a date to be decided upon a National Australian War Museum. This would be the Commonwealth share of the material, and it would include a complete representation of all trophies and relics, as well as a collection of war pictures by Australian artists, some of which have already been painted. Another part of the Commonwealth museum would be a magnificent set of official war photographs, numbering about 12,000, and ultimately all the war diaries and other official papers in connectionwith the various campaigns would be assembled in this Commonwealth museum (3).
On April 20, 1920 The Herald reported on the number of War Trophies to be distrubuted - The War Office Trophies Committee reported that it has distributed nearly 100,000 trophies to the Imperial War Museum, and to the over seas Dominions. Australia, with 1243 guns, has secured the greatest number of trophies. Canada comes next with 1175, and New Zealand has 384. The King desires two guns each for Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the Horseguards, and the Tower of London (4).
A War Trophy Committee was established in each State and they determined how the guns would be distributed. I have found the following references to local distributions in the Shires of Berwick, Cranbourne, Dandenong and Fern Tree Gully. I can only find one photo of a local gun and I do not know how many were actually installed or where or what happened to any of them.Shire of Dandenong
Correspondence to the Dandenong Shire Council May 1920 - From Victorian State Trophy committee, advising of the distribution of the following war trophies to the Shire of Dandenong: One machine gun, Dandenong; one machine gun, Carrum ; one machine gun, Aspendale. It was decided to also apply for a machine gun for Springvale (5).
Correspondence to the Berwick Shire Council June 1920 - From Victorian State Trophy committee, re distribution of war trophies to townships within the shire, the following towns to receive one machine gun each:—Gembrook, Bunyip, lona, Berwick, Beaconsfield, Pakenham, Narnargoon.—The President moved that councillors have meetings so as to decide what should be done with guns in respective ridings.--Cr Anderson seconded.--Cr Anderson moved that an extra gun be secured for Beaconsfield riding.-Cr Walsh thought they should have one for Cora Lynn (8).
Report September 1920 - On Tuesday evening next, a public meeting will be held in the Cranbourne Shire hall, when trustees will be elected for accepting a machine gun, from the Defence authorities, as a war trophy for Cranbourne (10).
Report December 1920 - The war trophy, assigned to Cranbourne, has arrived. It is a machine gun, captured at Mount St. Quentin. The trustees have the matter of its erection in hand. There may also be a public gathering to receive it in an official manner (11).
This is a transcription of the report, above, of the unveiling of the German machine gun at Clyde on April 8, 1921.