AUSTRALIAN OIL HISTORY TIMELINE

1854 : AUSTRALIAN KEROSINE AND OIL COMPANY began retorting shale at Hartley Vale , New South Wales producing kerosine and making candles.

1867 [19 May] : Harold Crofton Sleigh (pronounced Slee), merchant and ship-owner was born in England.

1895 [February] : VACUUM OIL opened its first Australian office in Queen Street , Melbourne.

1895 [November] : Harold C.Sleigh and John McIlwraith formed a partnership , opening an office in Flinders Street , Melbourne.

1900 : R.W. CAMERON AND CO. began operating as Australian agent for THE TEXAS COMPANY.

1901 : COLONIAL OIL COMPANY - an offshoot of STANDARD OIL - set up business as the first motor spirit (gasoline) importing firm in Australia.

1902 : JOHN FELL AND COMPANY was established in Sydney and began the production of lubricants made from N.S.W. shale oil.

1904 [March] : VACUUM OIL was officially incorporated under Victorian Law as a proprietary company

1905 : The SHELL TRANSPORT AND TRADING COMPANY and the ROYAL DUTCH PETROLEUM COMPANY established BRITISH IMPERIAL OIL COMPANY LIMITED in AUSTRALIA as a joint venture.

1908 : The VACUUM OIL COMPANY took over the Australian operations of the COLONIAL OIL COMPANY.

1909 : NEPTUNE OIL COMPANY was set up to handle the oil business developed by the KITCHEN family.

1913 : H.C. SLEIGH took over the first consignment of CALIFORNIAN motor spirit imported into Australia and marketed it as GOLDEN FLEECE.

1913 : C.C.WAKEFIELD & CO. LTD. branded CASTROL lubricants first marketed in Australia.

1914 : The KITCHEN interests , including the NEPTUNE OIL COMPANY , were sold to the LEVER GROUP.

1918 : THE TEXAS COMPANY AUSTRALASIA LIMITED was incorporated in New South Wales.

1920 : C.O.R. ( COMMONWEALTH OIL REFINERIES ) was formed by the Australian federal government and the ANGLO - PERSIAN OIL COMPANY as equal patrners.

1924 : ATLANTIC REFINING COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA appointed HARRISONS RAMSAY PTY.LTD. as Australian agent to market its ATLANTIC brand products.

1924 : C.O.R.'s refinery at Laverton , Victoria came on stream.

1924 : NEPTUNE OIL instaled the first company-owned pump at a multi-brand service station in Hunter Street , Sydney.

1925 : UNION OIL OF CALIFORNIA appointed F.W.WILLIAMS AND COMPANY PTY.LTD. as Australian agent to market UNION motor spirit using the VENUS brand.

1926 : The LEVER GROUP sold the NEPTUNE OIL COMPANY to the ROYAL DUTCH / SHELL GROUP.

1927 [by the end of] : To bring the Australian company name into line with its "SHELL" brand name , the BRITISH IMPERIAL OIL COMPANY LTD. became THE SHELL COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA LTD.(INC.IN GREAT BRITAIN).

1928 : The VACUUM OIL COMPANY was the first oil company in Australia to appoint an aviation manager.

1932 : PACIFIC OIL COMPANY LTD. was formed in Melbourne.

1933 [24 April] : HAROLD CROFTON SLEIGH died and was buried in Box Hill [Melbourne] cemetery. His son HAMILTON MORTON HOWARD SLEIGH took control of the H C SLEIGH partnership.

1933 : ALBA PETROLEUM COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA PTY.LTD. was established by P.J. Adams and A.G.Wales.

1933 : STANDARD OIL OF NEW JERSEY bought the ATLANTIC UNION company and continued to use the ATLANTIC brand name until the early 1960 's.

1935 : PACIFIC OIL COMPANY LTD. was merged into the ALBA PETROLEUM COMPANY.

1936 [23 March] : AUSTRALIAN MOTORISTS PETROL CO.LTD. was incorporated in New South Wales by William Gaston Walkley.

1936 : The TEXAS COMPANY (AUSTRALASIA) LIMITED became part of the CALTEX GROUP.

1939 : The VACUUM OIL COMPANY introduced the FLYING RED HORSE (PEGASUS) to Australia.

1940 [February] : The Australian federal government introduced petrol rationing as an emergency wartime measure.

1941 : The name CALTEX was first used in Australia.

1942 : POOL PETROLEUM PTY. LTD. was formed by importing companies to handle wartime distribution of petroleum products within Australia.

1945 : ALBA PETROLEUM COMPANY OF AUSTRALIA was incorporated into AUSTRALIAN MOTORISTS PETROL COMPANY.

1947 : H.C.SLEIGH became a public company - H.C. SLEIGH LIMITED.

1949 : Petrol rationing was declared invalid by the Australian High Court.

1949 : AUSTRALIAN MOTORISTS PETROL COMPANY name was changed to AMPOL PETROLEUM LIMITED.

1950 : Petrol rationing was lifted by the the newly elected Australian federal government.

1952 : The ANGLO - IRANIAN OIL COMPANY (formerly the ANGLO - PERSIAN OIL COMPANY) bought out the Australian government's half share of C.O.R. ( COMMONWEALTH OIL REFINERIES ).

1953 : PURR PULL COMPANY PTY.LTD. marketer of petroleum products in New South Wales and Queensland was acquired by H.C. Sleigh Limited

1954 : SANTOS incorporated in South Australia.

1957 : COMMONWEALTH OIL REFINERIES LIMITED name changed to BP AUSTRALIA LIMITED.

1959 :[5 June ] : KANGAROO PETROLEUM COMPANY PTY.LTD. was formed and began marketing petrol in Victoria.

1960's [Early] : STANDARD OIL OF INDIANA commenced marketing from AMOCO sevice stations in the eastern mainland states and South Australia.

1960's [Early] : STANDARD OIL OF NEW JERSEY replaced the ATLANTIC sign with the ESSO oval in their Australian service stations.

1960 [August] : CC WAKEFIELD & CO. changed its name to CASTROL LIMITED.

1961 [By April] :
PHILLIPS PETROLEUM commenced operations in northern New South Wales and Queensland using the PHILLIPS 66 brand name.

1962 : KANGAROO PETROLEUM was aquired by H.C. SLEIGH LIMITED.

1965 : AMOCO opened a refinery at Bulwer Island , Brisbane, Queensland.

1966 : XL PETROLEUM PTY. LTD. began marketing in Geelong , Victoria.

1967 [By February] : PHILLIPS PETROLEUM withdrew from marketing in Australia. Petrol marketing was taken over by H.C.SLEIGH - the marketer of GOLDEN FLEECE petrol.

1969 [In mid] : INDEPENDENT OIL CO. PTY. LTD. (IOC) began operations in Victoria

1974 : SOLO OIL was started by David Goldberger and David Wieland who built it into the largest independent fuel retailer and distributor in Australia.

1974 : IOC was wound up.

1976 : GULL PETROLEUM founded in Western Australia.

1981 : CALTEX bought the GOLDEN FLEECE petrol marketing network from H.C.SLEIGH.

1982 : AMPOL PETROLEUM LIMITED bought the marketing and refining assets of TOTAL AUSTRALIA LIMITED.

1982 : MATILDA FUEL SUPPLIES established by Peter O'Keeffe in Queensland.

1984 : BP bought the downstream assets of AMOCO in Australia - including the Bulwer Island oil refinery.

1990 : AMPOL LIMITED acquired SOLO OIL LIMITED.

1990 : MOBIL aquired the downstream assets of ESSO in Australia.

1995 [May] : CALTEX AUSTRALIA LIMITED and AMPOL LIMITED merged their petroleum refining and marketing assets.

1995 [May] : LIBERTY OIL established , being fully owned by partners , David Goldberger and David Wieland.

1999 [In late] : SOUTH AUSTRALIAN FARMERS FUEL agreed to supply fuel to the members of the S A FARMERS FEDERATION . As at OCTOBER 2008 SAFF had over 50 stations in S.A., W.A., N.S.W., Vic. and N.T.

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Copyright Robert Stephens, 1999 - 2010