By Cathy Jones
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-?]. 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 .
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. Colonel John McLean Arnott served in the AIF with much distinction during World War I earning the rank of Colonel. 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.
 page 2, SDHS Vol. 11 No. 10, June 1989.
| ‘Who’s Who in Australia’, The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, Melbourne Australia, 1927-1928 edition|