Arnott Family

By Cathy Jones

Arnottholme Albert Road Strathfield. Phot Cathy Jones 2019
Arnottholme Albert Road Strathfield. Photo Cathy Jones 2019

William Arnott [1827-1901] founded Arnott’s Biscuits near Newcastle NSW and later Arnott’s headquarters were moved to Homebush NSW. Arnott married Monica Sinclair, who died in 1865 and later Margaret Fleming who died in 1902. He had children by both his wives and descendents of both his families lived in Strathfield and most appear to be involved with the running of Arnott’s Biscuits. To avoid confusion between members of the family, I have detailed the line of decadency in this article. William Arnott died at his residence ‘Arnottholme’ 65-7, Albert Rd in 1901 and his widow, Margaret died in the following year.

James Hayden Leslie Arnott [1856-1931] was the son of William Arnott and Monica Sinclair and two of his sons, Walter and Harold, were Strathfield residents. Walter Esmond Arnott [1879-1955] was a solicitor and married Mary Patterson Ross in 1905. Walter, or Wally as he is often called, built ‘Balnagowan’ 15-17 Wakeford Rd in 1915 and lived there until his death in 1955.

Harold Arnott [1888-1971]. Harold married Nellie Gertrude Huffan and built ‘Brockby Lodge’ on corner of Homebush Road and Victoria St in 1923. ‘Brockby Lodge’, an Arts and Crafts mansion, was designed by architect A L Buchannan. ‘Brockby Lodge’ is classified by the National Trust and listed by the Royal Institute of Architects as a significant building of the Twentieth Century. This house is sometimes called the ‘Cheesehouse’ by local residents due to the yellow coloured rendered finish. One of Harold’s children was Terrence Harold Arnott born 1914. Terrence lived at 141 Homebush Rd and is noted on various records as a biscuit manufacturer.

Another son of the Arnott/Sinclair marriage was Samuel Sinclair Arnott [1861-1934. His son Percival Sinclair Arnott [1889-1950] was a resident of Strathfield. Percy Arnott was also a well-known sportsman, who played cricket for NSW. He married Nina Boden in 1915 and in 1916 built ‘Wawona’ at 96 Albyn Rd [cnr Chalmers Rd]. ‘Wawona’ [sometimes called ‘Arnott House’] is a classic Californian Bungalow designed by architect Herbert Dennis in 1916 and is classified by the National Trust [1].

Three of the children of Arnott’s second marriage to Margaret Fleming resided in Strathfield.  Janet Duman Arnott [1867-1948] married broker James Simpson Perry.  ‘Waratah’ 37 Homebush Road was built for Janet by William Arnott and shares a boundary with Arnott’s ‘Arnottholme’ property in Albert Rd.  Janet’s son Alan Arnott Perry [1891-1959] married Louise Kent.  Louise was the daughter of architect Harry Chambers Kent, who lived at ‘Kelmswood’ in Redmyre Rd.

Colonel John Mclean Arnott [1869-1945] was the Managing Director of Arnott’s Biscuits[1]. Colonel John McLean Arnott served in the AIF with much distinction during World War I earning the rank of Colonel[2].  In 1895, he married Adeline Hardy, the daughter of John Hardy of Hardy Bros jewellers and owner of the home ‘Strathfield’. Arnott lived at ‘Strathfield’ for a short time after his marriage and then moved to ‘Ilemong’ 20 Carrington Avenue, before acquiring ‘Hatherly’, which he renamed ‘Birnam Wood’.   ‘Birnam Wood’ was demolished c.1927 and subdivided creating the street Birnam Grove. One of Col. Arnott’s sons was Bruce Hardy Arnott [1898-1916] who died during WWI.  His name appears on the Roll of Honour outside the Strathfield Council Chambers.

Margaret Fleming Arnott [1872-1953] married Dr George Mander Jones, grandson of retailer David Jones.  They lived at ‘Dagworth’ 39 Homebush Rd from 1901-1907 and Dr Jones practiced medicine in Strathfield.

In 1939, Arnott’s Biscuits Pty Ltd donated the clocks in the Strathfield Council Chambers Clock tower in memory of William Arnott.

[1] page 2, SDHS Vol. 11 No. 10, June 1989.

[2] ‘Who’s Who in Australia’, The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, Melbourne Australia, 1927-1928 edition

35 comments

  1. how about Jean Arnott, died wahroonga, 1936, she has a remarkable stone at waverly cemetery… just wondering.

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  2. Effie Gladys Piper was the daughter of one of the Arnott brothers daughters I am trying to find out more about her, I have very little history. Effie died in 1923. I think she was the granddaughter of William Arnott

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    1. Effie Piper was born in 1892 at ‘Waratah’ Homebush Road Strathfield. She was the daughter of Edward Piper and Eliza Wood Arnott (daughter of William Arnott and Monica Sinclair). There is a marriage recorded in 1921 of Effie G Piper and Edward Shaw at Sutherland in NSW. The death of Effie Gladys Shaw was recorded on 22 July 1923 (father Edward and mother Eliza) and she is buried at Woronora Cemetery, Sutherland, New South Wales.

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  3. I went to McDonald College at Beresford Rd Strathfield starting in 1987 & the school was originally in the old Arnotts House. I think it was the Arnotts family home?? I think its now a mens shelter & the school no longer owns it.

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    1. The house you are referring to was not an Arnott’s home. It is located at 11-13 Beresford Road was originally built for John Morrison, who had associations with NSW Railways. It was sold in late 1920s to the International Bible Students Assocation, better known as Jehovah’s Witnesses and remained in their possession until the early 1980s.

      Cathy

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  4. I see you have an entry from another S. Taylor, but it’s not me. I’d like to congratulate you on this terrific website. It’s so fascinating. I was born in 1945 and lived at 55 Wentworth road strathfield between the OTEN and railway bridge. My mum lived there for 67 years from 1937. The house is still there, owned by OTEN. I went to Burwood public school and then to strathfield girls high school 1958-62 , following that to nursing at western suburbs hospital Croydon. For years we attended St. Andrews church cnr parramatta rd and later st Thomas Enfield. I was a choir member, active In the youth group, taught Sunday school, my father was a warden, and I was married at st. Thomas. My best friends today are people I met at st Thomas. I enjoyed reading the entries about the graves. One of the boys I was in infants school with was John Arnott whose father we kids thought owned Arnotts biscuits. Any chance you could see if he is/was a family member? Born same year as me I think. We had many kids from strathfield at Burwood school. I remember John Reed, whose father owned Reeds Bakery which used to be just down the street from the school. I think they lived in Shaftesbury rd Burwood.

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  5. Margaret McLean Fleming was the daughter of John and Agnes McLean who were Scottish immigrants who came to Australia as assisted immigrants in October 1858 with their seven children. I have a lot of information on the descendants of John and Agnes McLean. If you would like to know more please contact me. My mobile is 0498 220 895. I would love to hear from you.

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    1. Hi Kathryn, was Margaret an adopted daughter of the Flemings? I am looking for more information on Margaret and her family.

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      1. Hi Allison I am also looking for more info on Margaret’s family. Margaret & William Arnott were witnesses on the marriage cert of her ‘sister’ Mary McLean. All references to Margaret are as half sister to her siblings and she is listed as Margaret Fleming adopted on the 1851 census. she is also listed as Margaret Fleming aged 1 on the 1841 Census. Three of the older siblings did not migrate to Australia John, Jane/Jean and Agnes. I am wondering if Margaret was maybe illegitimate daughter of Jane? father Robert Fleming? Very confusing!

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  6. My Nan was a friend of Sue Arnott and wanted to know if she was still alive
    My nan is Hazel Stewart 93

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      1. Hi Allison , Just wondering where my grandfather Herbert Leslie Arnott fit’s into all of this. i know he lived in sydney as young child/man then after marrying my grandmother Laurel Cooke moved to Walgett then Inverell.

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  7. I went to Burwood Public school infants with John Arnott of the biscuit family. Same age as me probably. Born 1945 or 46

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  8. Beresford Waterman, who lived on the old Rural Deanery mansion in Ourimbah road Mosman, describes the Arnotts ad being ultimately in Mosman. His grandfather Walter, was the Manager of the Bank of NSW in Mosman and his father Cliff, the manager of Bank of NSW Manly. By the 40’s or 50’s or 60’s, the full owners of Arnotts were residing in either Beauty Point or Clifton Gardens. They were good friends of Beresford’s. Not too clear on the era. Cliff had inherited s house in Strathfield, and many great families came from there. Cliff inherited the Earldom of Stair in 1949, but refused it! (Dr. David Forrester)

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  9. I’m searching for evidence of my Grandmother’s cousin being married to a Arnott son. We believe her birth surname was Clark or Clarke. The family story is that she was the lady who produced the drawing of the Parrot eating the biscuit which became the emblem for Arnott’s Biscuits. My Grandmother’s Aunt was born a Murphy and she married a soldier (Clark) they were the Publicans at the Prince of Wales Hotel (White Horse Hotel) in Innisfail, Queensland prior to their daughter getting married to a Arnott. They had moved to Sydney by 1905. Can anybody tell me the name of the lady who produced the Parrot emblem please?

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    1. The bird (rosella) was the first bird william arnott saw on his arrival to australia, he nicknamed polly, so it was fitting he used this as his emblem. The saying used throughout the family is “on her tee sits the best polly”-Honesty is the best policy.

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  10. My great, great grandfather, william arnott actually had 12 children, although a good read, you have ommitted a large majority of his children and their children, which would have been lovely to read a more detailed family history. Well done though.

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    1. Hi Leonie,
      My brother’s godfather was Cam Arnott. We lived in Newcastle. We had heard he was related to the Arnott family. Is he anyone you know of?

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  11. I knew a Pearl Arnott, and also an Arnott who married a Southwell.
    You did not mention the association with the Salvation Army . I was told that SAO name came from Salvation Army Officer

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  12. Hello everyone, Many years ago I met with “Nip & Bill” Arnott at Clifton Gardens In North Queensland and ended up
    with some of his walking sticks… Sounds funny, but true! Is anyone interested?

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  13. Hello, My great great .. ect grandfather was George William Webb, 1887 mayor of Newcastle. Grandma always told us he married one of Arnotts daughters. I was wondering if anyone knew of a Arrnot girl become a Webb.

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    1. Hi Hollie, two Webb daughters (father George) married two of William’s sons:- Bessie married James Haydon Leslie (eldest son) and Sarah married Samuel Arnott. Was George the Milner in Newcastle, also Mayor?

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  14. Just wondered if John B Arnott is related to the Arnott family. He was involved with the First 15th Royal New South Lancers in Parramatta. Don’t know how old he would be now.

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  15. Does anyone know the ancestors of William Arnott please,in particular what part of the UK did they come from?

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  16. Our family has a handed down story that one of my Grandmothers female cousins by the name of CLARKE married a Arnott and it was her that designed the parrot with biscuit for the Arnott’s biscuit logo. She was apparently a very talented artist. I believe her mother was my Great Grandmother’s sister my G Grandmother was born Alice Murphy and her sister married a Clarke. Does anyone have any info on the origins of the Arnott’s logo and it’s artist? My Great Grandmother lived in Innisfail, Queensland and the Clarke family also lived there at some time.

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    1. I read somewhere that the arnotts parrot design was very similar to an already existing American design

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    2. Hi Marilyn,
      My grandfather Harold Hawker was the son of Mary Ann Hawker (nee Arnott). Sadly, Mary Ann died soon after his birth and my grandfather spent some of his early years living with the Arnott family in Strathfield. He died when I was young but my his wife ans my grandmother Doris, used to tell us that the Arnotts were prominent members of the Salvation Army (hence SAO biscuits). She said that the parrot on the logo was a cryptic message. The parrot is Polly or Pol and she is sitting on a T bar. So the joke was that “On its T is the best Pol I see”. Which translates to “Honesty is the best policy”. Who knows if this is really what the artist had in mind, but it may help you with your research

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      1. I believe a parrot biscuit logo similar to Arnotts existed in the USA years before arnotts used their own parrot. It’s the sort of thing that often happens with logos.

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      2. Thanks for your reply. Maybe our family story about our relative marrying a Arnott and being the artist that created the Arnott’s Parrot will have to remain a family tale passed down through the generations. The first time I heard the story was from my Grandmother Ellen Neilsen (nee Cheshire) born 1898 who was a cousin to the Artist via her mother Alice Cheshire (nee Murphy).

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