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Documentary details history of Kurnell Refinery

An historic documentary capturing the 58-year lifespan of the former refinery at Kurnell in New South Wales has been released by Caltex Australia as a tribute to the site, the people who worked there and the Sutherland Shire community.

In collaboration with film maker John Marsh, the iconic Australian company commissioned the film, Kurnell Refinery: The Heart That Beats Within, to preserve the significant history of the refinery before it was converted to the largest fuel import terminal in Australia.

The film complements a commemorative book and photography collection already lodged with the NSW Heritage Council, the State Library and the Sutherland Shire Library.

The last Kurnell Refinery Manager, Greg King, said the facility had made a significant contribution to the coastal township, the wider community and the entire state by providing a reliable supply of fuel and thousands of jobs for people over almost 60 years of operation.

“Keeping the refinery operating provided us all with satisfying and interesting jobs. It challenged us and sometimes frustrated us. But when we reflect on our time at Kurnell, what we all seem to remember the most is the people, the sense of community and the friendships,” Mr King said.

“What I like most about the film is that, while it does give a sense of the breadth and complexity of the refinery, it really showcases the people who were instrumental in its many years of successful operation.”

Caltex’s Executive General Manager of Supply Chain Operations, Andrew Brewer, said the proudly Australian company felt it essential that the stories of those who were at the very heart and soul of the manufacturing powerhouse were preserved and shared for generations to come.

“Given Caltex’s 115-year history of operation in Australia, recording the Kurnell refinery’s significant past and allowing people to share their stories and memories is something that we are proud to facilitate,” Mr Brewer said.

Construction of the Caltex Oil Refinery in Kurnell started in 1953 and operations began in 1956. In 2012, Caltex announced the site would cease operating as a fuel refinery.

Today the site serves as Australia’s largest fuel import terminal and continues to supply fuel to motorists and businesses across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.


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