Do you remember the flashing neon Arnott’s Sao sign and delicious smell of baking biscuits wafting through the car window as you drove along Parramatta Road or the M4 at North Strathfield in the 90s? This was the location of the Arnott’s Biscuits Factory which operated here from 1908 until 1997.
Well the smell is gone but the sign and buildings are still there. As are most of the old factory buildings. This is a photo of one of those buildings, still bearing the name of William Arnott who was the founder of the now 150-year-old company.
Arnott’s Biscuits started its life as a small bakery up in Newcastle in 1865 before heading to Sydney and opening a factory at Forest Lodge in 1894. However they needed to expand so they went looking for a new site. They chose this site due to its proximity to the adjacent railway line.
There were suggestions that the new site was too far from the city to attract workers, but Arnott’s seem to have had no problems, with the number of workers peaking at 2,500 in 1933 and annual production exceeded 10,000 tonnes. During the great depression they were particularly compassionate, unlike many companies who reduced their workforce, Arnott’s reduced operations hours instead which ensured the majority of their workforce were able to stay employed.
They continued to make their baked goods at this site until in 1997 they relocated their operations to Huntingwood. Today the factory has been redeveloped into the Bakehouse Quarter. Facilities include supermarkets, gyms, speciality shops, cafes and restaurants which are built in and around the original factory buildings.
Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.