Arthur James Penno


The Metropolitan Infectious Diseases Hospital was established on 7th October 1932 by the South Australian Government, to take over from the overcrowded Infectious Diseases Block at the Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace.  The new hospital was designed to accommodate patients with infectious diseases such as polio, scarlet fever, measles, and diphtheria. 

The hospital was an autonomous organisation controlled by its own Board of Management and its finance was maintained solely by the contributions of local councils.  Arthur James Penno, J.P. served on the Board of Management at the time the new Infectious Diseases Hospital was established, representing the Local Boards of Health for the municipality of Brighton, and the districts of Burnside, Mitcham and Marion.

PENNO, Arthur James, J.P.


Arthur James Penno was born in Wallaroo, South Australia on the 25th May 1870.


His father, Mr Robert James Bray Penno, moved from Cornwall, England to Australia in the 1860’s, where he worked as an engineer at the Wallaroo mines and later at the Wallaroo Mill. Robert Penno married his first wife Mary Ann Goldsworthy in England, with whom he had seven children (two born in England, five in Australia).  His first wife, Mary Ann, died in Kadina, South Australia on 13th January 1869, at the age of just 34. 

Parents of Arthur James Penno – Robert & Emma Penno

Robert’s second marriage was to Emma Crosby, who was born in Hindley Street Adelaide.  Robert and Emma Penno (pictured above) had a further eight children (Arthur James Penno was the eldest child from his father’s second marriage).


At the age of 24, Arthur married Elizabeth Hannah Turner, of Coromandel Valley, on 10th January 1895, at the Coromandel Wesleyan Church, South Australia.  Arthur and Lila had 3 children.

  • Daughter, Elizabeth Mary (Lila) Penno, born 28th October 1895, died in 1973 at the age of 78.
  • Son, Arthur Guilford Penno, born 9th May 1899, died 3rd September 1976 at the age of 77.
  • Daughter, Myrtle Amy Penno, born 16th April 1901 in Snowtown, SA, died 12th December 1995 at the age of 94.


According to the Civic Record of South Australia 1921-23:

Mr A.J. Penno, during his 33 years residence of Mitcham, proved himself to be actively interested in various matters pertaining to the welfare and progress of the district.

He represented the Upper Sturt Ward as Councillor, and also acted in the capacity of Chairman for 25 years.  He represented Mitcham on the Metropolitan County Board, and also served as President of the Local Government Association.


Arthur James Penno was a member of the local Rechabite Lodge, and also a member of the Blackwood Masonic Lodge (no. 93).


Mr Arthur James Penno was a keen sportsman, enjoying both cricket and football, and he was a Foundation Member of the Blackwood Bowling Club. 


News (Adelaide, SA), 23 July 1935, page 4
Mail (Adelaide, SA), 27 October 1934, page 9
Advertiser (Adelaide, SA), 18 April 1936, page 20
News (Adelaide, SA), 22 August 1934, page 3


Arthur James Penno died at his residence in Blackwood, South Australiaon 10th August 1951, at the age of 81.

Arthur James Penno, and his wife Eliza Hannah Penno, are buried in Coromandel Valley Cemetery, Onkaparinga City, South Australia.

More Information about the Metropolitan Infectious Diseases Hospital can be found here:

Written by Karyn Baker, CALHN Health Museum Volunteer