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Our history

Black and white image showing two men unloading grain bags from a truck

Our co-operative has a long and proud history. Since being established in Western Australia in 1933, CBH has continuously evolved, innovated and grown to become Australia's largest co-operative, biggest grain exporter and one of the country's largest agribusinesses. 

1920 – 1950

  • Co-operative Bulk Handling (CBH) was founded during the Great Depression through the realisation that a cheap and efficient bulk handling system would reduce growers' costs and strengthen the struggling wheat industry.
  • Five experimental bins to handle bulk wheat were established at Benjabbering, Nembudding, Korrelocking, Yelbeni and Trayning.
  • CBH was founded on 5 April 1933 with the trustees of the Wheat Pool of WA and Wesfarmers Ltd jointly registering the co-operative.
  • In the first year, CBH received 42,565 tonnes of wheat.
  • The founding co-operative had an authorised capital of £100,000 divided into 100,000 shares and was based on the co-operative principles of one-member, one-vote. By 1943, CBH had repaid all its start-up debts and control of the company was handed to growers.

1950 – 1980

  • In 1955, all grain port facilities were handed over to CBH control and management.
  • In 1961, the standard gauge railway was introduced through the eastern Wheatbelt to the coast.
  • The CBH storage system expanded rapidly and by the 1960s there were more than 300 grain receival points. As the receival systems became more efficient, the sites were rationalised. Many silos were dismantled, and others upgraded to take larger tonnages at a faster rate.

1980 – 2010

  • In 1989 the deregulation of the domestic grain market saw CBH lose sole handling rights.
  • In 2002, Co-operative Bulk Handling moved into grain marketing through the merger with fellow grower-controlled organisation, the Grain Pool of Western Australia. The merger created the CBH Group.
  • This was a defining moment for CBH, beginning the transformation of the company into an integrated business focused on delivering a greater share of the grain value chain to growers.
  • In 2004, CBH partnered with the Salim Group to form Pacific Agrifoods, which is now known as Interflour. In 2007, CBH was granted a licence to export wheat in bulk from Australia and on 1 July 2008 bulk wheat exports were deregulated.

2010 – Today

  • Western Australian grain is now exported to more than 30 countries including Japan, South Korea, Europe, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Thailand, and China.
  • As we move further into the 21st century we have a much more competitive environment and are confident that our co-operative structure will ensure we remain strong and sustainable in the years ahead.
  • Today, CBH has around 3,700 grower members and is the only major participant in the Australian grain industry owned by growers. We have more than 100 grain receival sites across Western Australia, four ports, our own rail fleet, a fertiliser business and investments in end processing, creating a fully integrated supply chain able to generate value for our grower members along every step.