Arnott’s Living Pictures – Edna May McEnerney -“Adaville” – Victoria Street Erskineville

Arnotts living pictures Erskineville.png

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate Friday, 2 June 1916

The lovely daughter of Mrs. McEnerney made her appearance as ‘An Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot Biscuits Girl’ in 1916. Advertisements featuring young Edna May McEnerney appeared in newspapers around Australia from about May 1916 to May 1917 (and once more in October 1917). More than a dozen appearances have been identified.

The Arnott’s celebrates 150 years website describes the ‘Living Pictures’ advertising campaign as running from 1892 until the 1950s and having involved tens of thousands of proud mums sending in testimonials with portraits and photographs of their well–fed babies. The lucky few would have portraits of their children featured in print. When an image of Edna was used in a full page advertisement in The Sun newspaper in April 2017 the number of unsolicited testimonials and photographs was put at 14,000:

Arnotts - Facts are stubborn things.png

The Sun (Sydney) Sunday, 1 April 1917

So whereabouts along Victoria Street was ‘Adaville?’ A check of the Sands Directories shows Cecil ‘McEnery’ residing in Victoria Street in the 1912 to 1926 editions of the directory.

Victoria Street Erskineville North side 1912 to 1915.png

Victoria Street Erskineville (North side) 1912 – 1913 – 1914 – 1915

The un-numbered residences ‘Pitiote,’ ‘Idaville,’ and Rockleigh’ make their first apperance in the Sands Directories in 1912, suggesting they were constructed or completed and tennanted in 1911. The first appearance in 1913 of ‘Mikado’suggets it was completed in 1912, or remained untennanted at the time the 1912 edition of the Sands Directory was compiled. The location of these residences is difficult to ascertain from these directories, the four houses seemingly squeezed between number 2 Victoria Street and the intersection of Campbell (now Rochford) Street. The location of the four houses does not become clear until the publication of the 1919 edition of the Sands Directory, after which consistency in the location of the four houses is established:


Victoria Street Erskineville (North side) 1919 – 1920 – 1921 – 1922

The four houses can be identified on the North side of Victoria Street, between Turtle’s Lane and Pleasant Street (now Morrissey Road) as shown on this map. The modern day numbering of the houses is as follows:

“Mikado” 26 Victoria Street Erskineville
“Pitiote” 28 Victoria Street Erskineville
“Adaville” 30 Victoria Street Erskineville
“Rockleigh” 32 Victoria Street Erskineville

Victoria Street Erskineville.JPG

Left to right: Mikado – Pitiote – Adaville – Rockleigh

McEnerney? McEnery?
A check of the NSW registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages shows Edna M. McEnerney was born to Cecil G. and Amy C. McEnerney in the district of Newtown in 1914.

Adaville? Idaville?
As for the name of the house, generally the Sands Directory entries for Erskineville are a little rough, as previous explorations have shown. Cross checking the details against another source provides clarification. Further insight can be provided by the meticulously compiled rate books generated by the Erskineville Council. Here below is an extract of the Erskineville Council Rate Book for the year ending 31 December 1914:

Erskineville Rate Book 1914 extract.png

Erskineville Rate Book  1914 (City of Sydney Archives)

Whilst the quality of the scan may be low, the names of the occupiers and of the houses can be identified, and correspond with those listed in the 1915 Sands Directory. The surname ‘McEnerney’ is further confirmed, and Cecil McEnerney’s occupation can be identified from the middle column as ‘Pipe Moulder.’ The name of the McEnerney residence appears more than likely to be ‘Adaville’ – a comparison of writing drawn from elsewhere in the Rate Book suggests the first letter of the house name is an ‘A’ rather than an ‘I:’

Atherton v Inspector.png

For comparison: Atherton & Inspector


Adaville – 30 Victoria Street Erskineville



Happy and Healthy Arnotts Famous Milk Arrowroot Biscuits.png




This entry was posted in 1910-1919, Advertising, Arnott's, Victoria Street and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s