A Refinery is Built

As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of Altona Refinery in 2019, we’ve been delving into our video archives to look at the way we once were.


A Refinery is Built
‘A Refinery Is Built’ is a documentary outlining the vast scope of the initial project to build Altona Refinery back in the 1940s. A later documentary, ‘Let’s Get Cracking’, follows the expansion of the refinery in the 1950s.

Altona Refinery represented an enormous investment in Australian industry during the post-World War II period even by the standards of the day, both in scope and in monetary terms. Initial construction cost £1,000,000, and the major expansion of the 1950s meant Altona Refinery was then the most modern of its kind in the world.

While opening the refinery expansion, then Prime Minister Robert Menzies expressed the nation’s gratitude.

“Somebody anxious and capable to produce something vital to modern development - to transport, to industry, to growth in Australia - is prepared to come here, to spend with such speed and such efficiency, so vast a sum of money,” he said.

Today, Altona Refinery remains one of Victoria’s major manufacturing facilities, producing more than 14 million litres of refined fuel products per day.

“We continue to increase local economic output. In Victoria, this equates to around $270 million a year – however the full contribution of Altona Refinery to the Victorian economy, including direct and indirect benefits, is substantially higher,” said Altona Refinery Manager Riccardo Cavallo.

And ExxonMobil’s local investment in Australian refining continues.

“Over the past five years, we have invested more than $400 million on improving the safety, reliability and viability of our refining and distribution facilities in Melbourne’s west,” Riccardo concluded.