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Biographical entry Arnot, Arthur James (1865 - 1946)

26 August 1865
Hamilton, Scotland
15 October 1946
Castle Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Electrical engineer


Arthur Arnot was the first electrical engineer of the Melbourne city council, appointed in 1891. He designed and managed the Spencer Street power station and was Australasian manager of Babcock & Wilcox Ltd, Sydney 1901-1929.


Educated Hutchisontown Grammar School and Haldane Academy, Glasgow. Entered Glasgow College of Science 1881. Appointed assistant engineer Grosvenor Gallery power station. Arrived Melbourne 1889 under two year contract to erect a large alternating-current plant for Union Electric Co. City Electrical Engineer 1891-1901. Patented the world's first electric drill on 20 August 1889. Installed comprehensive system of street lighting in Melbourne city 1891-92. designed and managed Spencer Street power station 1894-1901. Helped draft the Victorian Electric Light and Power Act of 1896. Member, Institution of Electrical Engineers, London 1899-1906. President, Electrical Association of New South Wales. President, Victorian Institute of Electrical Engineers 1899. Examiner in electrical technology for Victorian technical schools. Councillor, Working Men's College 1897-1901. Australasian manager, Babcock & Wilcox Ltd, Sydney 1901-29. Lieutenant, Submarine Company, Victorian Engineers from 1894 and served with Australian Engineers, Australian Military Forces from 1915. Retired in 1925 with rank of major. Retired from Babcock & Wilcox Ltd 1929.

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Published resources

Book Sections

  • 'Arthur James Arnot' in The Cyclopedia of Victoria, Smith, James, ed. (Melbourne: Cyclopedia Company, 1903), p. 321. Details
  • Goss, Noel; O'Neill, Sally, 'Arnot, Arthur James (1865-1946), Electrical Engineer' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Bede Nairn and Geoffrey Serle, eds, vol. 7 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1979), pp. 100-101. Details

Journal Articles

  • 'Coming Men. No. 13 - Mr A. J. Arnot', Table Talk (1893). Details
  • Arnot, Arthur James, 'Some notes on the electric lighting of the City of Melbourne (Paper & Discussion)', Various Papers and Discussions of the Victorian Institute of Engineers vol. II 1892-1899 (1900). Details


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Digital resources

Arthur James Arnot


Helen Morgan