Arnott’s SAO biscuit

Arnott’s SAO biscuit
It is thought that the name of the popular biscuit by Arnotts, SAO, stands for ‘Salvation Army Officer’. This theory arose from the fact that Arthur Arnott, one of five sons of William Arnott (company founder), was a Colonel in The Salvation Army.

SAO Biscuit
It is thought that the name of the popular biscuit by Arnotts, SAO, stands for ‘Salvation Army Officer’. This theory arose from the fact that Arthur Arnott, one of five sons of William Arnott (company founder), was a Colonel in The Salvation Army.

Salvation Army Officer – Colonel Arthur Arnott
The story of the origins of the SAO biscuit is part of the Army’s folk-lore; the letters derive from Salvation Army Officer, being in deference to the biscuit company founder’s son who was saved in the Army and became an Officer. The company has never confirmed this interpretation of the naming of the celebrated cracker; perhaps recently even further distancing itself since being taken over by an American consortium. In 1987, the then Australian company issued new packaging with the explanation: “How were SAO crackers named? Some say it was when one of our founder’s sons became a Salvation Army Officer. Others claim it was when the grand clipper Sao Paulo sailed into Newcastle harbour.” The artwork on the packaging show both versions, but, perhaps, with The Salvation Army Cap and cornet over shadowing the ship the company revealed its preferences. We prefer our story as we too celebrate the SAO centenary.

From the Arnott website

The Sao Song Words & Music: Pat Drummond:

Arnotts SAO commercial [1986] :

Traditionally, Arnott’s delivery vans have had number plates in the range SA 0nn in recognition of the SAO brand.

Ships Biscuits – The At Sea Necessity That Floated William Arnott’s Success
The news of the death of Mr. Wm. Arnott, which sad event took place at Arnott Holme, Strathfield, at a late hour last evening, will be received everywhere with the deepest regret. The deceased gentleman left Newcastle nearly two years ago, and took up his residence at Strathfield. He had been in failing health the whole of that time, and the end was not unexpected. Mr. Arnott was born in Edinburgh in 1827, and came to New South Wales when but 20 years of age. He began business in Hunter-street as a baker in 1865, and having made a success of this, he established the present large factory in Melville-street, Cook’s Hill, which has since undergone remarkable expansion, and now finds employment for hundreds of men, boys, and girls. Of late years the conduct of the business has been largely directed by his sons. Apart from business, he was widely known in connection with the religious and charitable institutions. For 22 years he was superintendent of the Newcastle Wesleyan Sunday School, and for six years held the same office in the Wesleyan Sunday School at Mayfield. Mr. Arnott was devotedly attached to his church, and liberally supported it. He took a keen interest in the Newcastle Benevolent Society, having been hon. treasurer to the committee from the inception of the society, in 1885. In 1897 he became president, in succession to Mrs. J. C. Ellis, a post he continued to hold up to the time of his death. He was president of the Newcastle Young Men’s Christian Association for nine years, prior to 1897, and was one of the strongest supporters of the movement. He was a well-known figure in all kinds of religious and philanthropic meetings, at which his capable chairmanship made him a desirable leader. In the early days of the Benevolent Society the deceased gentleman bequeathed £1000 to that institution, and in all charitable matters he was ever to the fore, his cheque being always available whenever a deserving case was brought under his notice. As a citizen he was respected and esteemed by all classes of the community, while in commercial circles he was known throughout the length and breadth of Australia as a business man of integrity and high principle. Mr. Arnott leaves a widow and grown-up family of seven sons and five daughters.

SAO biscuits were advertised on Brisbane buses in 1957
sao bus

refer also
A tribute to influential Australian Christians – William Arnott.


Which organisation established Australia’s first film studio ?



Edward Halsey – Adventist baker

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