Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

When I was younger my family and I would visit my Grandma and Grandpa once a week, often for dinner. The dinner and dessert were always delicious and afterwards we’d retire to the lounge room (where Grandpa was usually already seated). The dishes would eventually be washed and much later (not long before we’d leave) we returned to the kitchen and sat down at the table to eat supper.

Sitting down for supper is one of my fondest childhood memories. Grandpa went to bed early so Mum, Dad and Grandma would have tea and my brother and I would occasionally have milo. Accompanied by our drinks were always Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot biscuits. Grandma would set them out on a plate and place them in the middle of the table along with the butter. I’d eagerly take a biscuit and get on with the task of buttering the flat side. Then, depending on my preference that day, I’d either eat the buttered biscuit on its own or place another biscuit on top and eat them like a sandwich.

Though probably not the healthiest of snacks they were nevertheless delicious. They were an incredibly simple end to a night but still managed to give a lot of pleasure. It was thinking of this memory that made me curious about the historical advertising pertaining to Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot biscuits. I began searching through Trove and came across the following ads:

Arnott’s Living Pictures – 1902

Brisbane Courier - 1902

Arnott’s Living Pictures – 1914

Brisbane Courier - 1914

My Biscuit! – 1920

Sydney Morning Herald - 1920

Delight Your Children – 1923

The Register - 1923

Arnott’s Famous Milk Arrowroot Biscuits – 1934

Women's Weekly - 1934

Recipe for Health – 1945

Women's Weekly - 1945

The Rising Generation – 1950

The Mercury - 1950

Safe Home!! – 1955

Women's Weekly - 1955

You just don’t outgrow your fondness for Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuits – 1967

Women's Weekly - 1967

Update: 27 March 2017

Lynda Marsh has shared with me a lovely ad printed by Arnott’s which features her Grandmother, Dorothy Cronin, as part of the Arnott’s Living Pictures campaign. What an adorable image!



12 thoughts on “Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuits

  1. Sonja Strathearn says:

    Thank you for finding the Arnotts ads. I am researching my great grandparents family who lived in Brisbane, and my grandfather started working at the Arnitt’s biscuit factory age 13 in 1909, before leaving at 16 to go to The USA and eventually enlisted in the army there in World War 1. I wish I could find out more about the factory

    1. Jess says:

      Hi Sonya,

      You’re welcome! I love looking through old historical ads and seeing how products were advertised in the past so it is definitely my pleasure.

      I had a little search to see if I could find info on the history of the Arnott’s factory in Queensland but unfortunately I struggled to find anything. Perhaps you could try searching through Trove (Australia’s digitised newspapers) to see if there’s an old article on there.

      Otherwise, you could try contact Arnott’s directly via their online feeback form. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to give you some information about the factory.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment! 🙂

  2. kathryn says:

    This is awesome. I was just discussing with my partner why it is that people put butter on milk arrowroot biscuits. It’s something a lot of people I know remember, and I wondered how it came to be so googled it – and your blo and ads gave me the answer. Arnotts came up with it themselves! Genius. Thanks for that! Thought I probably wouldn’t find an answer to this! 🙂

    1. kathryn says:

      *blog… i should reread before i press enter!

    2. Jess says:

      Hi Kathryn,

      I’m glad my blog post gave you the answer you were seeking. 🙂 I’m always looking through old advertising and it’s interesting to see how some concepts are still around today (i.e. the Minties slogan) while others didn’t really catch on (vegemite and milk was advertised a lot in vegemite ads – can’t say I know of anyone who’s tried that one). :-S

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. 🙂

  3. Hi Arnotts
    I currently work for Arnotts , and am trying to find some history on my Father in Law who was Arnotts Milk arrowroot baby of the year or winner of a competition in 1929 , He Thinks it was advertised in the Newcastle herald

    His name in Ken Smith , do you have any Records in your achieves of this

    Thanks in Advance

    Kind regards Craig

    1. Jess says:

      Hi Craig,

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately I’m not the archivist for Arnotts and I don’t have any information relating to your father-in-law. I’m a private individual who simply has an interest in history (in this instance, historical advertising). Perhaps you could try emailing Arnotts; their website is: Otherwise, you may like to try searching the newspapers on Trove ( If he was a winner his photo may have been printed in the paper. Hope this helps! 🙂

  4. Ellen Di Rocco says:

    My mother was an Arnott’s baby [ for a photo] in the late 1930’s are there any records? My Grandmother [ Vera Irene Smith] worked in the Arnott’s factory in Sydney. My mothers name is [Irene] Yvonne Smith. I am very curious.
    Thanks Ellen

    1. Jess says:

      Hi Ellen,

      I’m afraid I don’t work for Arnott’s so I can’t say whether or not they have records of the Arnott’s baby photos but I suggest that you try searching in the newspapers on Trove ( A lot of the Arnott’s baby photos were printed in the papers along with the names. You never know, you may get lucky and find a photo of your mother. 🙂

  5. Lorraine Gray says:

    I spent my early years living with my grandmother and grandfather in New Zealand, although they were both Australians from Victoria. The family moved to New Zealand when the gold ran out in Kalgoorlie where Grandpa was mining. Whenever I was sick like with a cold or recovering from measles etc. my biggest treat that Grandma brought to my bedroom on a tray was a plate of Milk Arrowroot biscuits, sprinkled with sugar and soaked in hot milk. I can still remember the taste!

    1. Jess says:

      I haven’t eaten them like that before but it sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your story, Lorraine. 🙂

  6. Kerrie Ann Brown says:

    I have a beautiful very large original picture (framed) . It looks similar to those lovely Pears soap adverts. HOWEVER ! This picture belonged to Geoffrey Arnott and I believe it was him as a boy in 1910 approx holding a milk arrowroot biscuit Newcastle.On the bottom is a caption “Always makes me Glad” Geoff Arnott gave this picture to my friend in 1975,who was also an ex MD of Arnotts. Before my friend died he gave it to me . I have never seen this picture used or advertised. It is printed on canvass and is 14 inches by 26 inches.Printed by MS Hill 4 Bridge st Sydney.

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