Australian author Steele Rudd’s fictional father and son Dad and Dave may have faded into the mists of time a bit, but they’re alive and well in the hamlet of Nobby on the Queensland Darling Downs. I’d been to Rudd’s Pub many years before I went back while researching my book, Great Australian Pubs, but not much had changed really. It was still crowded (a long weekend, admittedly), still crammed with all sorts of Steele Rudd memorabilia, and still classically Australian.
Steele Rudd’s real name was Arthur Hoey Davis. He was born in nearby Drayton, and apparently did much of his writing in the pub that’s stood in Nobby since 1893. The first book in the series about Dad and Dave, On Our Selection, was published in 1899 and became a best-seller, eventually selling more than 250,000 copies. It was later adapted for radio, stage and screen, but apparently, Davis wasn’t very happy about these adaptations, which bore little resemblance to his more serious take on country life.
Nobby, despite being a tiny place, is worth a visit. As well as Rudd’s Pub, there’s a small museum dedicated to Sister Elizabeth Kenny, an Australian who was once voted America’s most popular woman (out-polling Eleanor Roosevelt) for her work as a nurse with polio patients. The pub also has a wall devoted to her work.