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

The Commonwealth Oil Refineries terminal in Carrington, New South Wales.
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 1922, the company purchased the disused shale oil refinery at Hamilton, that had been operated by British Australian Oil Company, and relocated equipment from there for use in its new refinery in Victoria.[4][5]

In 1924 it opened Australia's first oil refinery that processed imported crude oil, near Laverton, Victoria, north of the Melbourne - Geelong railway, adjacent to Kororoit Creek Road.[6][7] 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.[8]


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[9]


Between 1952 and 1959, BP Australia branded its standard-grade petrol as COR, but then dropped the name.[10][11]

See also


  1. ^ Fitzhardinge, L. F. (1983). "Hughes, William Morris (Billy) (1862 - 1952)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 14 November 2008 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  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. Vol. 25, no. 5052. Western Australia. 31 August 1920. p. 12. Retrieved 25 January 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "HAMILTON OIL WORKS". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. 16 August 1923. p. 6. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  5. ^ "WHY TO VICTORIA?". Daily Telegraph. 24 August 1922. p. 4. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  6. ^ "A History of Altona and Laverton: Industrial Development". Altona and Laverton Historical Society. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  7. ^ Commonwealth Oil Refineries (Australia) (1938), The romance of the C.O.R. : a great national institution, C.O.R, retrieved 20 June 2015
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ "Commonwealth Oil Refineries Ltd (1920 - c. 1952)". Australian Science at Work. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
  11. ^ BP Australia; Commonwealth Oil Refineries (Australia) (1957), BP C.O.R. road map Western Australia, BP Australia, retrieved 20 June 2015