In 1895 the Vacuum Oil Company became the first oil company established in Australia, less than 30 years after Vacuum first started operations in the United States. Prior to this other brands of oil based products were marketed by overseas companies through their Australian agents.
In addition to oil products, Vacuum supplied equipment such as patent sight feed lubricators, used in the deep mining industry.
In March 1904 Vacuum Oil was officially incorporated under Victorian Law as a proprietary company. In 1906 the company issued Australia's first ever chart of 'Recommendations to Motorists' covering about 200 makes of car and highlighting the increasing range of products it supplied. By 1908, Vacuum was growing rapidly and merged with the Colonial Oil Co, a company marketing kerosene and motor spirit, adding to Vacuum's specialty lubricant products.
In 1916, Vacuum introduced its popular 'Plume' and 'Laurel' brands to the Australian market. The following year Vacuum brought its first 100 gallon, horse drawn tank wagon into service. The Vacuum Oil Company Employees Union was established in the same year.
As motor vehicles became more popular in Australia, Vacuum expanded its operations. In 1924 Vacuum opened its first bulk petroleum products terminal at Pulpit Point in Sydney and took delivery of its first imported bulk oil products cargo, a 1.5 million gallon shipment from the United States.
In the 1930s Vacuum introduced 'Ethyl', Australia's first Super grade motor spirit. Around the same time in the United States, the parent company, Vacuum Oil Inc, merged with the Standard Oil Company of New York to become Socony Vacuum, then Socony Mobil. It eventually became Mobil Corporation. Socony Mobil introduced the Flying Red Horse (Pegasus) logo. It appeared in Australia in 1939 and became one of Australia's best recognised corporate symbols.
Esso website http://www.esso.com.au/index.asp; http://home.austarnet.com.au/jamieson/plume.html
Bendigo Advertiser [DMID records], 3 Dec 1896.