Arnott’s Celebrates 150 Years

Arnott’s, one of Australia’s best-loved brands, begins celebrations for their 150th Anniversary by Bringing out the Biscuits and encouraging Aussies young and old to rediscover the joy of sharing a delicious moment with someone special.


Millions of Australians have grown up on Arnott’s Biscuits and for them, Arnott’s is more than a food company; it’s a piece of Australia’s history. The name Arnott’s is synonymous with Australia’s favourite biscuits. Bringing families, friends, neighbours and colleagues together over a Milk Arrowroot, Monte Carlo, Iced VoVo or Scotch Finger.


The history of Arnott’s spans from humble beginnings baking pies and ships biscuits in Newcastle, through war times, when the biscuit range dropped to only 19 varieties – one made as a supply for our troops – through recessions and booms.


In 2015, there are 125 different biscuits in the Arnott’s range across household names like: Shapes, Tim Tam, Vita-Weat, Cruskits and Arnott’s sweet biscuit portfolio. Arnott’s Biscuits are found in 95% of Australian households.


This year, Arnott’s embarks on a host of anniversary celebrations including new biscuits varieties, a partnership with Camp Gallipoli, collectors’ tins and a roaming biscuit bakery travelling to locations across Australia.


“Arnott’s Biscuits have been an Australian family favourite for 150 years. In 2015, we’re celebrating our history and looking towards the next 150 years with a year of new product innovation, community activities and events aimed at bringing families together over a biscuit. Later this year, we’ll be unveiling a new look Arnott’s pack which we hope will have Aussies heading down the biscuit aisle for generations to come.” Nik Scotcher, Marketing Director, Arnott’s Sweet Biscuits.


Employing around 2400 people in Australia, 99% of Arnott’s Biscuits sold in the domestic market are made at one of three state-of-the-art Arnott’s bakeries in Huntingwood, NSW; Virginia, QLD; and Marleston, SA.


Arnott’s supports hundreds of local businesses in Australia, each year spending around $250 million purchasing raw ingredients including: 85,000 tonnes of flour and grains from areas including the Darling Downs, Moree, Riverina, South Australia and Western Australia; 18,500 tonnes of sugar from North Queensland; 4,100 tonnes of dairy products from Victoria and NSW; and 4,400 tonnes of canola oil sourced from canola crops from Western/Southern NSW and Northern Victoria.


Arnott’s by numbers:

  • Aussies chomp through 537 million packets of Arnott’s Biscuits a year, New Zealanders consume 45million.
  • 214 million of these are sweet biscuits.
  • Over 95 million boxes of Shapes are eaten each year.
  • 669 million individual Tim Tam biscuits are devoured. Tim Tam Original is Arnott’s most popular biscuit of all time.
  • Arnott’s make 6.5 million tonnes of chocolate a year at the Marleston, SA site.
  • Arnott’s Biscuits can be found in 40 countries worldwide.
  • Arnott’s have employed over 50,000 Aussies over the past 150 years.
  • The current longest serving employee works at the Huntingwood Bakery and has been with the business for 45 years.


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For further information please contact:

Nicole Thomson
Communications Manager (brand)
+61 (2)8767 7607


Renee McCarthy
Communications Manager (corporate)
+61 (2)8767 7516


Notes to Editors: A brief history of Arnott’s

The Arnott’s story travels through floods and goldfields to the coal port of Newcastle, then to Sydney, the company’s markets spreading from small-town domestic buyers, to the supermarkets of the world.

1865: Arnott’s is founded by William Arnot in Newcastle, NSW.
Arnot (spelt with one ‘t’– he added the second later) bakes pies (Scotch pies) and ships biscuits for the port of Newcastle from a small shop front on Hunter Street.

1870: Expansion is so rapid, William Arnott takes over the whole building.

1875: Always insisting on the freshest ingredients, William Arnott purchases 200 cows to provide fresh milk for his biscuits.
Between 1869–1879: Business has grown so much that Arnott moves to a modern factory over four quarter acres in Union Street, Newcastle.

1880s: Arnott’s employs 300 men and women.

1888: The Arnott’s parrot is registered as a logo (trademarked in 1907).


The parrot came from Miss Leslie Arnott (William’s daughter-in-law). Miss Arnott drew a sketch of a Mexican parrot given to William by the Captain of a Newcastle Coal fleet, in the sketch, the bird sat on a pole and ate a biscuit. The actual bird lived until 1918.

1888: Milk Arrowroot is registered as a trademark but the biscuit has been baked for many years already (since 1882).


The ‘Living Pictures’ Advertising campaign is one of Australia’s most successful and long lived; running for 60 years (1892- 1950s). Tens of thousands of proud mums sent in testimonials of Arnott’s Biscuits via portraits of their well–fed babies. These became the Milk Arrowroot Children.

1888: ‘William Arnott’s Steam Biscuit Factory’ (so named after the steam ovens) is already producing 80 varieties of biscuit – 31 tonnes each week (as well as cakes and pies).


1901: William Arnott dies.

Arnott’s is available in South and Western Australia but soon expands to Queensland, Tasmania, Java, The Pacific Islands, Singapore, India and South Africa!

1904: A revolutionary new oven – the travelling-chain oven is introduced.

1906: Biscuits being produced include: Raspberry Jelly, Record Reign, Spice Nut, Selected Afternoon Tea, Savoy, Rice, Thin Captain, Vo-Vo, Wheatmeal, You yang, Assorted wafers, SAO.

The SAO – Many believe this was short for a Salvation Army Officer because William’s son Arthur had joined the Salvos. Rumour is, it was named after a sail boat!

1908: Homebush Bakery opens (January 15).

The cost of the project is 10,400 pounds and many call it ‘Arnott’s Folly’ as it is deemed too far away from Sydney.
Steam is raised on Jan 15, 1908. Practically everyone in the district works for Arnott’s!

Right from the start, the Homebush Bakery can’t keep up with demand.


1919: Arnott’s has 18 ovens and it still isn’t enough!

1920: A new biscuit factory is commissioned with 4 x 65ft four pan ovens. This is the site now occupied by Arnott’s Headquarters on George Street, North Strathfield in Sydney.

Baking is a perilous business – the trays go in and out by hand and you have to be careful not to get burnt.


1921: The first gas ovens are introduced and by the mid-1930s all coke ovens have been phased out. This gives a much more even temperature and literally means an end to ‘slaving over a hot stove’.

1929: Homebush Bakery covers most of the original 6.5 acres and has spread across George Street.

Arnott’s now employs 1800 people and makes 150 types of biscuits!

The Arnott’s Tin: The standard tin was 14 pounds. There was a tin shop above the depot with a staff of 30.


1930s: Move from tins to packets and small tins.  The tins today are great collectors’ items and Arnott’s release new ones most years at Christmas.


1934: Arnott’s buys its first band oven, changing the biscuit making process to the one used today. The first biscuits baked in the new oven are Ginger Nuts.

1939: Arnott’s has 121 biscuit lines producing 20 different assortments –many are names of the past now – Abernethy, Butter Cream, Empress, Mikado, Popso, Sailor Prince, and Zu-Zu Mixed.

Arnott’s original Ships Biscuits and Cabin Biscuits are important during wartime. Renamed Arnott’s Service Biscuits they feature among supplies dropped to troops.

1945: The war has seriously affected Arnott’s production and in 1945 only 19 varieties are being made.


Post-war: Demand for biscuits is huge as migrants flood Australia, however, inadequate machinery (machines had been replaced for service production), lost wholesale and retail ties, expensive ingredients (some rationed or completely unobtainable) and severe lack of coastal shipping make baking very difficult. Biscuit makers with resources in different states decide to amalgamate – pooling factories, equipment, recipes and know-how.

Between 1949 – 1963: Arnott’s joins with:

  • Morrows Biscuits of Brisbane
  • Motteram’s Biscuit of Adelaide
  • Mills and Ware in Fremantle
  • Menz’s Biscuits of Adelaide and Guest’s Biscuits of Melbourne
  • Brockhoff’s Biscuits of Melbourne


1954: Arnott’s Shapes launch


1964: Arnott’s Tim Tam biscuits launch (named by Ross Arnott who borrows the name from the racehorse that won the Kentucky Derby in 1958)


1970: Arnotts Limited launches on the Australian Stock Exchange.


1976: Arnott’s acquires Peek Frean’s Vita-Weat brand.


1990: Arnott’s is 125 years old.


1995: Homebush Bakery closes/Huntingwood Bakery opens.


1997: Arnott’s acquired by The Campbell’s Soup Company (NYSE CPB). Production remains in Australia.


2003: Arnott’s acquires three George Weston brands: Wagon Wheels, Quatro and Chocolate Wheaten.


2004: Arnott’s outsources transport and warehouse operations in Australia to Linfox.


2014: The iconic Tim Tam biscuit turns 50.

Today – 2015: Arnott’s employs around 2400 people and supplies biscuits to more than 40 countries around the world.
Biggest selling biscuits: Tim Tam Original, BBQ Shapes, Jatz, Pizza Shapes, Chicken Crimpy, Scotch Finger, Mint Slice and Monte Carlo.