Deposit M85 - CSR Limited microfilm deposit 1

Identity area

Reference code



CSR Limited microfilm deposit 1


  • 1653; 1804 - 1974 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

777 reels of microfilm

Context area

Name of creator

(1855 -)

Administrative history

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.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Section A Reels 1-18 consist of microfilm copies of CSR Sydney Library Archive Section files (originals in NBAC N305) containing correspondence, memoranda, extracts of minutes, legal documents, newspaper cuttings, reports, histories, publications, photographs, illustrations, and miscellaneous documents relating to CSR Limited, its officers, the Australian and international sugar industry, immigration and labour. Section B Reels 1-2 are closed. Section C Reels 1-19 are microfilm copies of Raw Sugar Marketing Division documents relating to the International Sugar Council, international sugar matters and charter parties. Section D Reel 1 consists of microfilm copies of Drug Master File 1324 containing information lodged with the Food and Drug Administration by CSR plus a microfilm reader index. Section E Reels 1-737 consist of microfilm copies of Head Office correspondence exchanged between branches, mills and officers. These reels continue the various Head Office correspondence series found within deposit 142 and on occasion into the early 1970s some correspondence begin with the microfilm series.


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Archives staff will need to request permission from the owner of the records before access can be given. Advance notice is required for access to M85 (Section E). Note: M85 (Section B) Reels 1-2 microfilm is a closed section.

Conditions governing reproduction

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

M85/index: original index located with microfilm

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

NBAC N305, CSR Archives deposit 1

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

NBAC 142, CSR Head Office deposit

Related descriptions

Notes area


In 2017 reels 15, 16, 17, 18, 234, 235, 315, 344, 368, 377, 400, 422, 459, 490, 546, 585, 616, 653 and 706 were digitised for CSR. Access to CSR records is restricted so no reference copies have been put onto DSPace. Preservation masters are stored at \\\preservation. Sarah Lethbridge. 22 June 2017.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description on 22 May 2012




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