Born at Dunkeld, Scotland; arrived in Melbourne per ship David Clark on 31st October, 1839. Died January, 1849, in his official residence, Melbourne Botanic Gardens.
He was a trained landscape gardener in his native land, and on his arrival in Melbourne engaged in farming pursuits in the Heidelberg district. When the Botanic Gardens site had been determined upon, principally through the pronounced opinions and foresight of Mr. C. J. Latrobe, then Superintendent of the Province of Port Phillip, the area was taken over in February, 1846, and Mr. Arthur was appointed first superintendent of the garden, and began by fencing in 5 acres on the east side of the present garden, bordered by Anderson Street and declining towards the lagoon (present lake). During the short period he was in charge he performed excellent work, and a number of trees planted by him are vigorous at the present day (1908).I am indebted for most of the above information to Mr. . Ambrose C. Neate, late of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. who obtained it from Mrs. W. Barr, one of Mr. Arthur's daughters, who was still living in 1908.
Maiden, J.H. (1908). Records of Victorian Botanists. Victorian Naturalist 25:101-117