- 1880s - 1980s (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
The Colonial Sugar Refining Company was founded on 1 January 1855 by Sir Edward Knox. It was formed in Sydney as a partnership of unlimited liability which took over some of the assets of the Australasian Sugar Company and Robey and Company including sugar stocks and the Brisbane House refinery and distillery. On 1 June 1857 the Colonial Sugar Refining Company shareholders and Victorian business interests formed an associate company – the Victorian Sugar Company – to establish a refinery and distillery in Melbourne. From 1869-70, three large sugar mills were built and operated on the Macleay and Clarence rivers, New South Wales. A new sugar refinery opened in Pyrmont, Sydney, and from 16 February 1878 Pyrmont became the New South Wales refinery. In 1880 Knox handed over the general management of the company to his second son Edward William.
In 1882 the company began sugar production in Fiji with crushing at the Nausori mill. The company also introduced a system of chemical control of processes in its mills. In 1886, Rarawai mill in Fiji , built by CSR for the New Zealand Sugar Company, began crushing. From 1885-88, Dr G Knottman, CSR chemist, developed the POCS formula determining the “pure obtainable cane sugar” in cane. The Colonial Sugar Refining Company and the Victoria Sugar Company were amalgamated in 1887. The company was incorporated as a limited liability company in New South Wales on 1 July 1887 changing its name to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Limited. The New Farm refinery opened in Brisbane in 1893 and in 1894, CSR’s Lambasa mill in Fiji began crushing. Crushing began at CSR’s Childers mill, near Bundaberg, Queensland, in 1895 and at the Lautoka mill in Fiji in 1903. In 1906 the remaining Kanaka workforce were deported.
In 1915 the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (Fiji and New Zealand) Limited was formed to take over the assets of the company outside Australia. This subsidiary was liquidated in 1923 and the assets returned to CSR Co Limited. I the same year, the Queensland state government signed an agreement with CSR to refine all of that state's sugar production. In 1920 the indentured labour of Indians in Fiji was cancelled on Government decree. CSR introduced a tenant-farming system in Fiji in 1924 as a possible solution to its labour problems. The company bought the Penang mill, Fiji, in 1926.
From around 1939, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company Ltd expanded into manufacturing industrial chemicals through its Industrial Chemicals Division, and building materials as early as 1942 with the construction of a plaster mill in Sydney and manufacturing plasterboard. In 1948 CSR Chemicals Limited was formed, later changing its name to CSR Chemicals Pty Ltd in January 1952. In 1959, CSR acquired an interest in Bradford Insulation. In 1973 the company name changed to CSR Limited. CSR Limited took over Australian Estates Co Ltd in 1975.
Name of creator
The Australian Estates Company Limited, formerly the Australian Estates & Mortgage Co Ltd, carried on business as wool and produce selling brokers, stock and station agents, pastoralists, raw sugar millers and cane growers. The Australian Estates & Mortgage Co Ltd was formed in 1894 as a subsidiary of The Union Mortgage & Agency Company of Australia Ltd and was registered in London on 5 December 1894. The Australian Estates & Mortgage Co Ltd acquired mortgages, properties and stock from The Union Mortgage & Agency Company of Australia Ltd in 1894 and 1896. In 1899, the company was amalgamated with the parent company, but took until 1902 to complete. In 1924 The Australian Estates & Mortgage Co Ltd's sugar business was expanded when the company amalgamated its mill "The Palms" at Mackay witht the nearby "Pleystowe" mill, and formed the Amalgamated Sugar Mills Ltd. In 1927, the same year that G S Colman became joint General Manager in Australia, the New South Wales Pastoral Co Ltd was formed in London in order to acquire properties in NSW, which included "Burra Burra", "Jemalong" and "Raby".
On 21 July 1936 the name of the company changed to The Australian Estates Company Limited. After the Second World War, the company underwent extensive growth and expansion, acquiring Kamilaroi Pastoral Co (1946), a half share in F A Hill & Co, Edward Trenchard & Co (1947), John McNamara & Co (1950) and other McNamara companies. In 1954 the Australian Estates Co (Agencies) Pty Ltd was set up to acquire new branches in Victoria, and in 1956 the Australian Estates Co (Queensland) Pty Ltd was set up to do the same in Queensland. In the following years a series of subsidiaries were established and the company acquired more businesses and properties. In 1973 the company further diversified purchasing an interest in the Denny Group in the United Kingdom - E M Denny (Holdings) Ltd were meat processors and traders in the UK and Ireland. Much of the post-war growth and expansion of the company had been carried out under D C F (Sir Denys) Lowson as Chairman and Managing Director, who resigned in 1974 after investigations into his involvement in share dealings. After attracting the interest of Rupert Murdoch and B H South, the company was taken over by CSR Limited in March 1975.