There has been no recorded use of the Historic Arnott Bakehouse over the last 100 years and now after 12 years of restoration by the Arnott family, the Bakehouse has now re-opened for use as the new home of Morpeth Sourdough.
This historic Bakehouse was built by Richard Chapman in about 1851. Chapman was a property owner, butcher and businessman of Morpeth whose residency extended from at least 1850 to his death in 1867. His butchery business and residence was next door to this site but has since been demolished.
This building has technical value as a rare, authentic, trade industrial building providing evidence of early bakehouse design and technology. The bakehouse is a Scotch oven in design and has been sited by the NSW Heritage Office as the oldest of its kind still standing in the Southern hemisphere.
It also provides intact evidence of an early colonial workplace and represents an aspect of trade and occupation in a regional area that had direct links with Sydney and with navigation. The Bakehouse is situated on the Hunter River, whose importance as a colonial port is well established, with 1300 steam ships arriving at its wharves annually, in its heyday.
Bakery products made in this bakehouse would have been consumed locally as well as being shipped to other parts of NSW and beyond.
During the 1860’s the bakehouse was operated by the Arnott family of Arnott’s Biscuits fame and is the only known industrial building still standing, associated with the establishment of the Arnott’s baking business in Australia, from the 1800’s.
The Arnott family made a great contribution to Australia’s development and provided an example of hard work and entrepreneurial business activity for others to follow. The owners, Allison and Stephen Arnott, are directly related to William Arnott and his brother David, who once operated this Bakehouse, and have been committed to the conservation of this historic Bakehouse.
We welcome your visit to the Historic Arnott Bakehouse, enjoy the history and surrounds, share some information or learn about early baking technology and sourdough. We are open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm, look forward to seeing you!