William Arnott

William Arnott

Male 1827 - 1901  (73 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name William Arnott 
    Born 6 Dec 1827  Pathhead near Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Name: William Arnot
      Gender: Male
      Birth Date: 6 Dec 1827
      Baptism Date: 30 Dec 1827
      Baptism Place: Dysart,Fife,Scotland
      Father: David Millie Arnot
      Mother: Isabella Smith
      FHL Film Number: 1040195
      Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950


      Arnott, William (1827?1901)

      by Phyllis Mander-Jones

      This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (MUP), 1969

      William Arnott (1827-1901), biscuit manufacturer, was born on 6 December 1827 at Pathhead near Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. He was apprenticed to a baker and confectioner and, with his younger brother David, followed his family to Australia, arriving at Sydney in the Sir Edward Parry on 17 February 1848. Both brothers were bakers in Maitland until 1851 when they went with separate parties to the Turon River diggings. William had no luck as a gold miner but did well baking bread and pies on the field and early in 1853 he was back in Maitland as a baker and pastry-cook. He prospered until the two great floods of the Hunter River in 1857 brought disaster. The new building he had put up in 1856 was flooded and he had hardly recovered when he was flooded out again in 1861. In 1862 he was forced to compound with his creditors and in 1864 there were more floods. In February 1865 one of his creditors demanded full payment and in April his wife Monica, née Sinclair, died; he had met her on the voyage to Sydney and they were married in 1850.

      Arnott moved to Newcastle in 1865. By September he was established in Hunter Street, Newcastle, and quickly built up a successful business, helped by his second wife, Margaret Maclean, née Fleming, whom he married at Morpeth in October. The move to Newcastle was made possible by loans from friends but he repaid all his debts within twelve months. In the next few years the name of Arnott became famous for bread and cakes but especially for sweet and plain biscuits and ships' biscuits, in which there was a big trade with the growing number of ships in port. Between 1869 and 1876 he acquired land in what became Union Street and built a family home and a factory fitted with the latest machinery. Two sons by the first marriage were already in the business and the elder, James Haydon Leslie, now specialized in biscuits, while the younger, Samuel Sinclair, took charge of confectionery manufacture and later of accounts. From 1882 biscuits were sent by ship to Sydney, where the market proved profitable and became even more so when the Hawkesbury River railway bridge was opened in 1889.

      In 1888 the family moved to Mayfield, near Newcastle, and in 1893 Arnott left his sons in charge and visited Scotland with his wife and a daughter. On his return in 1894 he bought a factory in Sydney and took his sons into partnership. He had some forty employees in 1880 and by 1894 the number had increased to nearly eight hundred in Sydney and Newcastle. He retired in 1899 and moved to Strathfield near Sydney, where he died on 22 July 1901. For several years the management of the business had been left to his sons but he had supported the plan for a new factory, built at Homebush between 1906 and 1908.

      William Arnott's success was founded on hard work, integrity and insistence on quality. He was a sincere Christian, noted for his lovable and kindly nature. He and his wife were active in philanthropic work and the Wesleyan Church. In 1857 he was elected a trustee of the church in Maitland; in Newcastle he was connected with the Sunday school for twenty-four years, in twenty of which he was superintendent. An example of his honesty in business dealings was in 1883 when he repaid in full his 1862 Maitland creditors; they presented him with an address and a gold medal and held a luncheon in his honour. One of his recreations was rifle shooting. He joined the Volunteer Rifle Corps in 1860 and won the first three contests for the silver belt presented by the mayor of Maitland.

      Arnott was survived by his wife (d.1902), two sons and two daughters of his first marriage and five sons and three daughters of the second. The sons of his first marriage, Leslie and Samuel, became chairmen of directors of the business and were succeeded by their half-brothers, William, John Maclean and Halse Rogers; while Robert Fleming became an engineer and Arthur Smith a colonel in the Salvation Army.
      (Wikipedia)

      William Arnott was born on the 6th December 1827 in Pathhead, Fifeshire, Scotland to David Millie & Isabella Arnott. He was the first of 8 children.

      He emigrated to Australia on the 17th February 1848, arriving in Sydney with his younger brother David, aboard the ship Sir Edward Parry from Scotland. Soon after their arrival in Sydney they travelled to Morpeth to be reunited with their parents and four siblings, who were residing in the Tamworth region, at Peels River. They had remained in Scotland to complete their trade qualifications as bakers and confectioners and were now ready to explore the vast opportunities of the new colony.

      His life?s achievement was as the entrepreneur who built one of the largest biscuit companies in the world, Arnott?s. An iconic Australian brand that is deemed the second most prestigious and well known trademark in Australia (the ABC logo is the first) by IP Australia.

      William Arnott is the great, great, great grandfather of Stephen Arnott, owner of Morpeth Sourdough. Stephen, a 6th generation baker, is continuing his family tradition at the same bakehouse in Morpeth where William and his brother David ran their business during the 1860?s.

      Share your Arnott's stories, pictures or facts with us, we?d love to hear from you.
      (Morpeth Sourdough)

      ARNOT

      Over the years The Fife Family History Society Journal has reviewed many published
      Fife family histories. We have gathered them all together here, and will add to the file as
      more become available. Many of the family histories are hard to find, but some are still
      available on the antiquarian market. Others are available as Print on Demand; while a
      few can be found as Google books]

      THE ARNOT(T) FAMILY`s 19th CENTURY TRAVELS from Pathhead in Fife, Scotland, to New South Wales, Australia. An Overview. By Gwen Connolly.
      This is computer generated.
      Those who have been to Australia or know something of its commerce, will have heard of Arnott's Biscuits, now the largest independent biscuit manufacturer in Australia. The business was founded by William Arnott (1827-1901), a native of Pathhead. He added an extra "t" to his surname to distance himself from his father, David Millie Arnot (1806-
      1872), a bleacher at Denburn, near Kirkcaldy, who had been
      sentenced to 7 years transportation at Perth Circuit Court, 25 Sep 1837, for forgery and embezzlement, and had arrived Sydney, 22 Nov 1838 in the "Earl Gray." The passage of
      his wife, Isabella Smith (1806-1888), daughter of David Smith, feuar, and Euphan Ramsay of Dysart, and that of her younger children, Euphemia (1831-1861), John Smith (1833-
      1888, who later became tailor and postmaster at Wickham, NSW), Thomas (1835-1914) and Robert Smith (1838-1877),
      two other daughters were born in Australia, had been arranged by the philanthropist, Mrs Caroline Chisholm, one of whose many good works for immigrants was to unite convict families in Australia. The Arnot family was one of 18 ticket of leave holders who obtained free passage on the "Asia," which had been chartered to take female convicts to Australia, and arrived Sydney, ex Woolwich, on 20 Aug 1847. The elder sons, the above William (1827-1901), and David (1829-1905), had arrived Sydney, 17 Feb 1848, on board the "Sir Edward Parry," in a passage again arranged by Mrs Chisholm; out of the 75 children on board, they were
      the only two from Scotland.
      The Connolly booklet gives a detailed history of each child, accompanied, where possible, by photographs. There is also a photograph of the mother, Isabella Smith Arnot, but, unfortunately, not of the father, David Millie Arnot. The booklet also reproduces in full, the execercise, or school, book made by Thomas Arnot at Pathhead in 1846,
      (Published by Family Histories)


      1875 Arnott?s first factory opens

      Arnott's Steam Biscuit FactoryIn 1865, William Arnott opened a bakery in Newcastle supplying goods to local people and visiting ships. Among his products were ship?s biscuits. He opened his first factory, known as William Arnott?s Steam Biscuit Factory, in 1875 and launched the famous Arnott?s Milk Arrowroot biscuits in 1882. The well-known parrot logo, which still adorns Arnott?s trucks, was introduced in 1888.>Arnott?s Ltd. History

      William Arnott emigrated from Scotland with his brother in 1848. He worked as a baker in Maitland, New South Wales, before a brief period spent on the gold diggings. Returning to Maitland in 1853 he established another bakery business which was repeatedly destroyed by floods. He moved to Newcastle in 1865, where his business was successful enough to allow him to repay his Maitland creditors within a year.


      The Arnott?s Steam Biscuit Factory was established in Newcastle in 1875 to produce a range of plain and sweet biscuits and cakes. By 1882 the company was sending biscuits to Sydney by ship, then, by the end of the decade, by road. In 1894 the first Sydney factory began operations.

      William Arnott died in 1901 but his sons continued to run the business, introducing many new biscuits. In 1906, Iced Vo Vos and SAOs were launched, while other new products at the time were Malt?O?Milk, Keil Fingers (later called Scotch Fingers), Ginger Nuts and Milk Coffee. A new factory was built at Homebush in 1907 as the company continued to grow. By the end of the decade the company had about 150 biscuit varieties in the range. The Family Assorted range appeared around 1924, available in 7lb (3.2kg) and 4lb (1.8kg) tins while the popular Monte Carlo was introduced in 1926.

      Arnott?s continued as a family-run business into the 1960s, expanding by consolidating with other well-known baked goods businesses including Adelaide?s Motteram & Menz, Western Australia?s Mills & Ware, Queensland?s Morrow, and Melbourne?s Brockhoff Biscuits, Swallow & Ariell and Guest?s. It became a public company in 1970 and in the 1980s the Campbell?s Soup Company acquired a 14 per cent share.

      Over following decades, Campbell?s gradually increased its holding until, in 1997, the American company gained full control. In the mid-2000s Arnott?s claimed to hold more than 70 per cent of the Australian market with its products found in 97 per cent of Australian homes.

      In late 2018, Campbell?s put Arnott?s up for auction, raising the possibility that the famous Australian brand might return to local hands. However, it was announced in mid-2019 that Arnott?s had been sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a private equity group based in the US. According to reports, the group is famous for buying and selling, rather than holding assets, so there are likely to be further ownership changes in the future.
      (Australian food history timeline)



    Christened 30 Dec 1827  Dysart, Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Death Notice 1901  Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, NSW Find all individuals with events at this location 
    DEATH OF MR. WM. ARNOTT,
    The news of the death of Mr. Wm. Arnott,
    which sad event took place at Arnott Holme, Strathfield, at a late hour last evening, will be received everywhere with the deepest regret. The deceased gentleman left Newcastle nearly two years ago, and took up his residence at Strathfield. He had been in failing health the whole of that time, and the end was not unexpected. Mr. Arnott was born in Edinburgh in 1827, and came to New South Wales when but 20 years of age. He began business in Hunter-street as a baker in 1865, and having made a
    success of this, he established the present large factory in Melville-street, Cook's Hill, which has since undergone remarkable expansion, and now finds employment for hundreds of men, boys, and girls. Of late years the conduct of the business has been largely directed by his sons. Apart from business, he was widely known in connectlon with the religious and charitable institutions. For 22 years he was superintendent of the Newcastle Wesleyan Sunday School, and for six years held the same office in the Wesleyan Sunday School at Mayfield. Mr. Arnott was devotedly atached to his church, and liberally supported it. He took a keen interest in the Newcastle Benevolent Society, having been hon.
    treasurer to the committee from the inception of the society, in 1885. In 1897 he became president, in succession to Mrs. J. C. Ellis, a post he continued to hold up to the time of his death. He was president of the Newcastle Young Men's Christian Association for nine years, prior to 1897, and was one of the strongest supporters of the movement. He was a well-known figure in all kinds of religious and philanthropic meetings, at which his capable chairmanship made him a desirable leader. In the early days of the Benevolent Society the deceased gentleman bequeathed £1000 to that institution, and in all charitable matters he was ever to the fore, his cheque being always uavailable whenever a deserving case was brought under his notice. As a citizen he was respected and esteemed by all classes of the community, while in commercial circles he was known throughout the length and breadth of Australia as a business man of integrity and high principle. Mr. Arnott leaves a widow and grown-up family of seven sons and five daughters. The funeral is to take place tomorrow afternoon, leaving the deceased's
    late residence for the Rookwood Cemetery.
    Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate, NSW., Tuesday, 23 July 1901 
    Died 22 Jul 1901  Arnott Holme, Strathfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • ARNOTT WILLIAM
      8899/1901
      WILLIAM
      ISABELLA
      BURWOOD
      (New South Wales Death Index 1788-1985)
    Funeral Notice 24 Jul 1901  The Sydney Morning Herald, NSW Find all individuals with events at this location 
    ARNOTT.-The friends of the late Mr. WILLIAM ARNOTT, sen., are kindly invited to attend his Funeral, which will move from his late residence, Arnott
    Holme, Albert-road, Homebush, at 1 o'clock, for Homebush Wesleyan Church, and thence to Rookwood Wesleyan
    Cemetery by road, reaching the Necropolis at same time as funeral train leaving Mortuary station at 2.23 p,m
    WOOD and COMPANY,
    Funeral Directors.
    The Sydney Morning Herald, NSW., Wednesday, 24 July 1901

    THE Funeral of the late WILLIAM ARNOTT will leave his late residence, Albert-road. Homebush, at 1 o'clock, THIS DAY, for the Homebush Wesleyan Church, and thence by road to Rookwood.
    WOOD and COMPANY,
    810 George-street South, Undertakers.
    The Sydney Morning Herald, NSW., Wednesday, 24 July 1901 
    Buried 24 Jul 1901  Rookwood Wesleyan Cemetery, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • WILLIAM ARNOTT
      Name WILLIAM ARNOTT
      Age 74
      Date Of Death
      Date Of Interment 24.07.1901
      Area Zone A
      Section Methodist Old 01D OC
      Grave Number 241
      Rookwood Cemetery Search)
    Person ID I15885  Hickey, List, Bundesen, Thomsen, Jensen, Jessen
    Last Modified 1 Dec 2020 

    Father David Millie Arnot/Arnott,   b. 17 Aug 1807, Pathhead near Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Jan 1872, Melville-Street, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years) 
    Mother Isabella Smith,   d. Sep 1888, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 14 Apr 1827  Dysart, Fife, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Name: David Millie Arnot
      Gender: Male
      Marriage Date: 14 Apr 1827
      Marriage Place: Dysart,Fife,Scotland
      Spouse: Isabella Smith
      FHL Film Number: 1040195, 1040110
      Scotland, Select Marriages, 1561-1910
    Family ID F5665  Group Sheet

    Family Margaret McLean/McJean Fleming,   b. Abr 1844, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1902, Arnott-Holme, Albert road, Homebush, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 58 years) 
    Married 1865  Morpeth, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • 2561/1865
      ARNOTT
      WILLIAM
      FLEMING
      MARGARET MCJEAN
      MORPETH
      (New South Wales Marriage Index 1788-1965)

      Second Marriage
    Children 
    +1. Halse Rogers Arnott,   b. 1879, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 May 1961, 70 Burns Road Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years)
    Last Modified 10 Jun 2017 
    Family ID F5664  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    William Arnott
    William Arnott
    Arnott's history is Australian history
    827

    The story of Australia’s favourite biscuits begins a long time ago and a long way away, when a little boy named 
William Arnott is born in Scotland.


    Australian food history timeline


    1875 Arnott’s first factory opens

    Arnott's Steam Biscuit FactoryIn 1865, William Arnott opened a bakery in Newcastle supplying goods to local people and visiting ships. Among his products were ship’s biscuits. He opened his first factory, known as William Arnott’s Steam Biscuit Factory, in 1875 and launched the famous Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot biscuits in 1882. The well-known parrot logo, which still adorns Arnott’s trucks, was introduced in 1888.>Arnott’s Ltd. History

    William Arnott emigrated from Scotland with his brother in 1848. He worked as a baker in Maitland, New South Wales, before a brief period spent on the gold diggings. Returning to Maitland in 1853 he established another bakery business which was repeatedly destroyed by floods. He moved to Newcastle in 1865, where his business was successful enough to allow him to repay his Maitland creditors within a year.

    The Arnott’s Steam Biscuit Factory was established in Newcastle in 1875 to produce a range of plain and sweet biscuits and cakes. By 1882 the company was sending biscuits to Sydney by ship, then, by the end of the decade, by road. In 1894 the first Sydney factory began operations.

    William Arnott died in 1901 but his sons continued to run the business, introducing many new biscuits. In 1906, Iced Vo Vos and SAOs were launched, while other new products at the time were Malt’O’Milk, Keil Fingers (later called Scotch Fingers), Ginger Nuts and Milk Coffee. A new factory was built at Homebush in 1907 as the company continued to grow. By the end of the decade the company had about 150 biscuit varieties in the range. The Family Assorted range appeared around 1924, available in 7lb (3.2kg) and 4lb (1.8kg) tins while the popular Monte Carlo was introduced in 1926.

    Arnott’s continued as a family-run business into the 1960s, expanding by consolidating with other well-known baked goods businesses including Adelaide’s Motteram & Menz, Western Australia’s Mills & Ware, Queensland’s Morrow, and Melbourne’s Brockhoff Biscuits, Swallow & Ariell and Guest’s. It became a public company in 1970 and in the 1980s the Campbell’s Soup Company acquired a 14 per cent share.

    Over following decades, Campbell’s gradually increased its holding until, in 1997, the American company gained full control. In the mid-2000s Arnott’s claimed to hold more than 70 per cent of the Australian market with its products found in 97 per cent of Australian homes.

    In late 2018, Campbell’s put Arnott’s up for auction, raising the possibility that the famous Australian brand might return to local hands. However, it was announced in mid-2019 that Arnott’s had been sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a private equity group based in the US. According to reports, the group is famous for buying and selling, rather than holding assets, so there are likely to be further ownership changes in the future.

    Arnott's history is Australian history
    827 and Australian food history timeline

    Arnott's Buiscits
    Arnott's Buiscits
    1882

    By this time, Newcastle’s best kept secret is out. Arnott’s famous biscuits are sent to Sydney by the ship load and a fleet of bright red delivery vans donning the company’s peckish parrot.


    Our Story, Arnott's history is Australian history
    Arnott's biscuit-factory
    Arnott's biscuit-factory
    1865

    Armed with little more than a knack for baking, William opens his first factory in Newcastle – and it isn’t long before the Arnott’s name becomes synonymous with a different type of golden nugget: delicious sweet and plain biscuits.


    Our Story,
    Arnott's history is Australian history
    Arnott's Steam  Biscuit's Factory, Newcastle
    Arnott's Steam Biscuit's Factory, Newcastle
    1865

    Armed with little more than a knack for baking, William opens his first factory in Newcastle – and it isn’t long before the Arnott’s name becomes synonymous with a different type of golden nugget: delicious sweet and plain biscuits.


    Our Story, Arnott's history is Australian history
    Arnot's Famous Biscuits
    Arnot's Famous Biscuits
    1870's

    On returning from a visit to his native Scotland, William is gifted a colourful macaw parrot by a ship’s captain – a fated fowl that would become the face of Arnott’s biscuits for more than 150 years – and counting.

    Our Story, Arnott's history is Australian history
    Arnott's 150 years
    Arnott's 150 years
    2015

    One and a half centuries on from the first factory William Arnott opened in Newcastle, Arnott’s celebrates its 150th birthday, setting its sights on the next 150 years with a year of product innovations and community events.


    Our Story, Arnott's history is Australian history


Home Page |  What's New |  Most Wanted |  Surnames |  Photos |  Histories |  Documents |  Cemeteries |  Places |  Dates |  Reports |  Sources