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On 1 January 1855, the Colonial Sugar Refining Company was established in Sydney to refine imported raw sugar for the domestic market. Incorporated in 1887, the company changed its name to CSR Limited in 1973. Refining operations expanded to Melbourne in 1857, and to New Zealand in 1884. The company began raw sugar milling in 1870 in northern New South Wales. Over the next two decades, sugar milling was expanded to Queensland and Fiji. (The Fiji mills were sold in 1972 and the NSW mills in 1978.) CSR first distilled ethanol from molasses in northern NSW in 1873. In 1923, CSR entered into the first of 66 annual toll refining agreements with the Queensland Government to refine and market the sugar crop. In 1989, the company resumed refining as a commercial business when arrangements for an import embargo and administered price were repealed. The Sugar Australia joint venture was formed in March 1998.

In 2010 CSR Sugar and associated businesses were renamed to Wilmar. CSR Ethanol is now named Wilmar BioEthanol.