Commonwealth Oil Refineries

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Commonwealth Oil Refineries Ltd.
SuccessorBP Australia Limited
Area served
ProductsRefined petroleum fuels and related products
£93,429 (1940)
Total assets£2,195,227 (1940)
ParentBritish Petroleum Company Ltd.

Commonwealth Oil Refineries (COR) was an Australian oil company that operated between 1920 and 1952 as a joint venture of the Australian government and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.

Early history[edit]

The Commonwealth Oil Refineries terminal in Carrington, New South Wales.

The partnership was established in 1920 on the initiative of prime minister Billy Hughes.[1][2]

The board was to consist of seven members, three representing the Commonwealth and four representing the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The provisional board consisted of: Sir Robert Garran, M. C. Lockyer, and Robert Gibson for the Commonwealth, and F. H. Bathurst, Professor Payne, T. J. Greenway, and W. J. Windeyer for the oil company.[3] Greenway served as chairman for the first year.

In 1924 it opened Australia's first oil refinery near Laverton, Victoria, north of the Melbourne - Geelong railway, adjacent to Kororoit Creek Road.[4][5] The refinery received its first shipment of crude oil on 12 March 1924, with product coming "on-stream" on 17 May 1924. The refinery had an annual processing capacity of 100,000 tons of crude oil. The refinery was shut down on 6 August 1955, eclipsed by much larger refineries being built around the country.

In the 1930s the company was involved in oil search ventures.[6]


In 1952, the Menzies Coalition government sold the Australian government's interest in COR to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which became the British Petroleum Company (BP) in 1954.

In 1955 it developed a refinery at Kwinana, Western Australia[7]


Between 1952 and 1959, BP Australia branded its standard-grade petrol as COR, but then dropped the name.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fitzhardinge, L. F. (1983). "Hughes, William Morris (Billy) (1862 - 1952)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
  2. ^ Commonwealth Oil Refineries (Australia) (1921), Report of the directors and balance sheet, The Company, retrieved 20 June 2015
  3. ^ "Anglo-Persian Oil Co". Western Argus. 25, (5052). Western Australia. 31 August 1920. p. 12. Retrieved 25 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "A History of Altona and Laverton: Industrial Development". Altona and Laverton Historical Society. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
  5. ^ Commonwealth Oil Refineries (Australia) (1938), The romance of the C.O.R. : a great national institution, C.O.R, retrieved 20 June 2015
  6. ^ Amos, D. J. (Douglas James) (1935), The story of the Commonwealth Oil Refineries and the search for oil, E.J. McAlister & Co, retrieved 20 June 2015
  7. ^ Commonwealth Oil Refineries (Australia); Australasian Petroleum Refinery Ltd (1955), And now Kwinana, Australasian Petroleum Refinery in conjunction with C.O.R, retrieved 20 June 2015
  8. ^ "Commonwealth Oil Refineries Ltd (1920 - c. 1952)". Australian Science at Work. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
  9. ^ BP Australia; Commonwealth Oil Refineries (Australia) (1957), BP C.O.R. road map Western Australia, BP Australia, retrieved 20 June 2015

External links[edit]