3 December, 2022
Arnetts retrace family history
THE direct descendants of the late Bill and Doris Arnett retraced their steps and rediscovered their roots recently during a trip of the Tablelands.
On 3 October 1952, the Arnetts and their eight children boarded the Cameronia ship from the port of Glasgow and headed to Australia through a sponsorship by Hebert Joseph Geraghty and Councillor Raymond Rex from Mossman Shire.
Bill passed away in 1992 and Doris passed away in 1997 and their children to this day still honour their great courage travelling to Australia and across the Tablelands.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of their arrival to Australia, the Arnett children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren toured the Tablelands to visit places of significance.
Over two days, they travelled by bus from Cairns to Julatten to Tarzli and Millaa Millaa.
In 1952, the original family was loaded into the back of a cattle truck in Cairns and bought to Julatten where they began their life in Australia.
“Coming from Yorkshire, England, to this tropical area would have been quite a shock cli-mate wise,” Geoffrey Arnett, one of the Arnett’s sons, said.
“The style of housing would have also been a shock, as Bill Arnett had been a station master in England, and now was moving into an unsealed house, complete with a resident carpet snake, no electricity and no running water in the house.”
The family stopped at the house where they once lived in Julatten and had lunch at Geraghty Hall, where they were joined by Barry Mildren who told stories of his memories of the Arnett family.
The next day, the group travelled to Tarzali where the Arnett family grew up, with three daughters being welcomed to the world.
The next stop was Heidke Road in North Johnston where their 12th child was born and then a stop in Malanda so the family could have lunch and reminisce.
“As you would imagine the stories that were told as they travelled together around the Table-lands, and at dinner that night, paid testimony to the brave step that the Arnett family took in leav-ing the security of England to try their luck in this new country,” Geoffrey said.
“The overriding message that came through both from the original family, and descendants, was that this was a success story.
“The majority of the family have been able to find the work they sought, have been able to purchase their own home, and live the life that they wanted. All agree that the decision made 70 years ago was the right one for this family.”
The family has now grown from 12 to 168, with majority of them remaining in North Queensland.