In 1922, the Munitions Supply Laboratories (MSL) were established by the Australian Government to support the armed services. The MSL were based in Maribyrnong, in Melbourne and comprised Physics, Chemistry and Metrology (measurement) Sections. The Physics Section was the main department to be involved in optical munitions work coordinated by the Optical Munitions Panel, although the other two sections also made contributions to the war effort.
Prior to the formation of the Optical Munitions Panel, the MSL had gained many years of experience in repairing military optical instruments, and they were more experienced with such equipment than any other Australian laboratory. The MSL were very helpful to the Panel; they also held large reserves of materials useful to the Panel's work, including imported optical glass.
The MSL also assisted contractors and industrial firms in the construction of optical instruments. Occasionally the MSL would even allow their scientists and experienced technicians to leave the MSL for months at a time, so that they could provide on-site advice to contractors who were having trouble in manufacturing mechanical optics parts. The MSL Optics Section, under J.J. McNeill, became the focus for the testing of new techniques and design prototypes.
The main MSL physicists and technicians involved in optical munitions work were: