Feed of fish led to family tradition
In May 1955, Laurie Arnold took his wife Patricia and three-year-old daughter Cathryn on a holiday to Rottnest Island.
He was chasing a good feed of fish.
And he’s gone back every year since — often joined by his five children, 14 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and all their partners.
To celebrate the 60th year of this remarkable family tradition, Mr Arnold’s descendants flew in from Britain, NSW, Queensland and Port Hedland to join other family members on Rottnest this month.
“I remember very clearly why we decided to go to Rottnest in 1955 — a bloke at work said he had caught a six-pound skippy off the jetty,” 88-year-old Mr Arnold said.
“So we headed over.”
And, over the past 60 years, Mr Arnold and his family have caught hundreds of fish meals.
The family’s Rottnest gathering is full of traditions but perhaps the most poignant occurs on the first Sunday of each family holiday.
After Mrs Arnold’s death in 2012, her ashes were placed in the Rottnest church.
Since then, her family head to church for “Nanny’s Sunday”.
This year, there were 44 members of the Arnold family in a congregation of about 70.
As Mrs Arnold’s eldest grandchild Amy said: “After 56 consecutive years of Rotto Arnold family holidays, on your 57th trip, you get to stay in our paradise for ever.
“We will love and miss you for ever.”
This year, four generations of Arnolds were on Rottnest in six chalets, including the 44th member of the family to make the holiday trip - four-month old Patrick.