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Sophia Arndell (1834–1914)

by Mary Salmon

There passed away last week Miss Sophie Arndell, one of the third generation from Dr. Thomas Arndell, who came out as surgeon with Governor Phillip in the First Fleet. She was the second of three unmarried Misses Arndell, daughters of Thomas Arndell the Second, who have for some years lived in Lewisham, but who were born at the original family estate of Cattai, Hawkesbury River, where her grandfather retired and farmed in the disturbed times of the Bligh rebellion. Like many others of the original Hawkesbury settlers, the Arndells have spread far and wide over the continent of Australia, and two of the brothers of the deceased lady were among the pioneer squatters of the Upper Hunter River district, owning the large estate of Glendhu station, whilst the eldest brother, Thomas, remained in the old homestead at Cattai Creek. Miss Arndell's sisters were, besides two unmarried, Mrs. George Loder (who died many years ago), of Abbey Green, Singleton, and Mrs. F. R. White, of Harben Vale, Blandford. Whilst the deceased lady has for many years lived a very retired life, she and her sisters were among the cultured women of early times on the Hawkesbury, and in a quiet way did much good in the district. When her brother married Miss Mary Hall, of Macquarie, the next large estate, the family separated, and soon Mr. Arndell's large family filled the old home. Miss Sophie Arndell reached the venerable age of 80 years, her home at Petersham being the central meeting for members of the large clan that has sprung from the original pioneer settler and first medical doctor on the Hawkesbury. "No family," says a writer on the old times, "has so closely preserved the traditions of the old timers as have the Arndells." Of the brother, Thomas, of the late Miss Arndell, when he died, on October 30, 1907, it was said "no name is more honoured, not only in the Hawkesbury, but in the whole State, than Arndell. A man with very large sympathies for his fellowmen, springing from a family strong in their faith as uncompromising Presbyterians, a man who lived a moral life and was upright in all his doings. What a wonder that such a man was beloved and honoured and venerated!" What was said of her brother, Thomas, was also applicable to Miss Sophie. "Her life was gentle and simple, with kindliness and courtesy to all," said one who know her. We are fast losing the men and women who knew the land in its primitive pioneer days, and there is a little pull at our heart strings every time one passes away. Intimately associated with this family were the Threlkelds, a daughter of the original Thomas Arndell, physician, magistrate, wool and wheat grower, and Imperial Government official, being married to the Rev. Mr. Threlkeld, the missionary, in the Port Macquarie district, also the pioneer preacher for the Sailors' Home, and the first resident teacher and clergyman in the old South Head church, now pulled down. Mrs. Threlkeld was a splendid helpmate to her husband, both in family and public life; and the descendants of these two fine old families are many, still keeping in close touch with each other.

Original publication

Citation details

Mary Salmon, 'Arndell, Sophia (1834–1914)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


18 February, 1834
Cattai, New South Wales, Australia


19 April, 1914 (aged 80)
Dulwich Hill, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.