80-year-old Neville Arnott reminisces about his family car dealership which opened in Benalla in 1921.LIBBY PRICE July 17, 2014 8:00am
80-year-old Neville Arnott reminisces about the family car business after the Arnott Motors sign is removed
One of the most familiar signs around town, that of Arnott Motors on the corner of Bridge and Carrier Sts, has disappeared with the removal of the car dealership logo last week to make way for new signage after the business was sold last year.
It’s the last chapter in the family business which started in 1921 when Herbert Arnott secured the Ford franchise and opened Arnott’s Garage.
His grandson, 80-year-old Neville Arnott, is proud to have been one of the last multi-generational car dealerships in regional Victoria.
‘‘My grandfather started the business and is credited with having driven the first motor car into Benalla. He sold Bean cars and Indian motorcycles,’’ Mr Arnott said.
‘‘Then in 1926 one day Grandfather said he was going down to Melbourne to sign up with this new mob starting up in Australia .
‘‘We sold Chevrolets in those days, then after the second World War they started making Holdens.’’
Mr Arnott began working in the family business in 1950 at the end of Year 11 at Benalla High School.
Mr Arnott said his father, Bert Arnott, asked him, ‘‘When does school break up?’’
Mr Arnott said he told his father, ‘‘This Friday,’’ and his dad’s reply was, ‘‘Good, start work at the garage on Monday.’’
‘‘I bumped into one of my old headmasters at Rotary a while ago and he said he had noticed one of my old reports said I was destined for a university career,’’ Mr Arnott said.
‘‘But in those days you never had a say in what you did. I’d always thought I would start work at Arnotts Motors.’’
The toughest time for the business was the flood in 1993.
‘‘All the business areas were under water .
‘‘I contacted the insurance company that we’d been with since 1935 and told them they owed me 93 grand and they were reluctant to pay. It went on month after month.
‘‘I’d heard the new boss of the company was going to be at the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce dinner so I rang the insurance company to say I would be into the Box Hill office to pick up the cheque and said, ‘I thought I would just let you know your boss will be at the dinner tonight and if I don’t have my cheque I will punch him in the nose!’
‘‘I got my cheque and in front of everybody gave special thanks for the company’s help in times of trouble with the flood,’’ Mr Arnott said.
The business has been sold to Wangaratta Motor Group which sells numerous makes of cars and will relocating elsewhere in Benalla.
So what was Mr Arnott’s last sale?
‘‘We don’t drive to Melbourne any more now we’re both 80 years of age.
‘‘When she did, she was always the first away at the traffic lights in her turbo-charged 1.4
New fair in Mooroopna will show how to re-use and recycle.
Yarrawonga/Mulwala's largest ever professional golf event, the Shepparton BMW Senior Victorian Open, got underway today with 124 players hitting off from 8am to 1pm on Yarrawonga's Black Bull Golf Course at Silverwoods.
Tatura’s rainfall for the last three months of 2015, 116.6mm, was marginally down on the long-term average for the same period, 120.8mm.
MEDDLING mothers can cause plenty of grief when you’re young, especially when they get involved in your love life.
THE second annual Christmas town party in Lockington did not quite attract the crowd organisers were hoping for, but it failed to dampen their spirit.
Special supplement in this weeks edition
For Tocumwal’s Lynda Snowden, working the land hasn’t stopped her from falling in love with the majestic surrounds of her day to day life.
TOOLLEEN Recreation Reserve Committee of Management presented three awards on Australia Day in front of 80 local residents.
The NSW Government has recommended the Old Cobram Barooga Bridge be placed on the State Heritage register.
Deniliquin doctor Marion Magee says she is disgusted with the treatment of local nurses.
Federal Member for Murray Sharman Stone has been criticised by two Victorian MPs for suggesting the Federal Government should stop spending money on the $2 billion irrigation modernisation program until problems are sorted out.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.