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Steele Rudd - creator of Dad and Dave

Steele Rudd (Arthur Hoey Davis) was born on November 14, 1868 to Mary and Tom Davis of Drayton. When Arthur was about four years old, the large family of fifteen moved to Emu Creek near Stanthorpe.

Arthur left Emu Creek school at twelve and went on to work as a tarboy on Pilton Station. At seventeen, Arthur went droving but, with the encouragement of his mother, soon after attained the position of Curator of Intestate Estate in Brisbane.

It was while in Brisbane that Arthur joined a rowing club and became a great rower and he began writing sketches about people involved in rowing under the name of “Steele Rudder”. Arthur began to write the “Selection” stories to combat his homesickness for the farm and the bush.

When the Bulletin received his first articles they declared that they would take all that he wrote. “On our selection” was published by locally born literary critic, A.G. Stevens who was oblivious to Steele Rudd’s true identity until he published the second “selection” book.

In 1903, Davis was retrenched from the civil service and began the Steele Rudd Magazine, illustrated by Ashton Murphy the famous black and white artist. In 1907, Steele Rudd moved to Sydney to be closer to the literary scene.

This move badly affected his wife, whose health deteriorated, which resulted in the termination of the magazine. The family returned to Greenmount where Davis continued to write successfully but usually failed to secure financial rights to his work.

Once the farm was running well, Davis formed the Darling Downs Polo Association. He became chairman of the Cambooya Shire and chairman of the District Recruiting Committee when war broke out. After the war, Davis continued to write but had to give up the farm and so the family moved to Brisbane.

In 1921, Davis was instrumental in forming the group named Queensland Authors and Artists Association, which is today known as the Fellowship of Australian Writers. Arthur Hoey Davis died on October 11, 1935 and is buried at Toowong Cemetery.

Sources

LH Files – LH/RUD Davis, Eric Drayton – “The life & times of Steele Rudd”. 1976
Fotheringham, Richard – “In search of Steele Rudd”. 1995

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