LAST MODIFIED Wednesday 8 November 2017 20:27

George Hudson and family

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "George Hudson and family", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 19 March 2018

HUDSON, George W. (? George WALL; ? George Wall HUDSON)

Musician, member of the theatrical orchestra, bandmaster (City Band), music seller, music publisher

(Trading as G. Hudson, G. W. Hudson, Hudson and Co.)

Born ? Cork, Ireland, c.1808
Active Sydney, NSW, by 1843
Died Sydney, NSW, 27 July 1854, aged 46 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony)

HUDSON, Eliza (Elizabeth; Eliza KING; Charlotte HUDSON; Eliza WALL; Charlotte Elizabeth WALL)

Music retailer

Active Sydney, NSW, by 1843
Died Coogee, NSW, 18 June 1873, aged 70 years

HUDSON, Master (? George HUSDON, junior; George WALL)

Orchestral musician

Born Sydney, 1843
Active by 1854
Died Randwick, NSW, 24 January 1918


George Hudson's earliest datable sheet music publication appeared in 1844 with the release, by "Hudson and Co." from their musical retail premises at 377 Pitt Street North, of the original ballad My lov'd my happy home by 99th Regiment bandsman, William Cleary. Hudson's connection with this bandsman was perhaps not incidental, for he was later a (civilian) bandmaster himself, and as a prolific publisher took a special interest in issuing local lithographic copies of popular songs and dance band music, especially polkas, from imported prints.

Hudson was apparently also a member of the orchestra at the Royal Victoria under its then leader John Gibbs. Gibbs went briefly into a business partnership, nominally with Eliza Hudson, in 1850-51, perhaps not unconnected with the fact that by February 1852 George was newly insolvent. Hudson must have continued trading, at least sufficiently to be the subject of a good-natured Bell's Life lampoon in July that year. Early in July 1854 he was advertising the services of a band along with John Gibbs and William Johnson, but died after a short illness later that month. In August, a "Master Hudson" (perhaps George Hudson, junior, born in 1843, or less likely Joseph Hudson, born 1845) was listed as a member of Lewis Lavenu and John Gibbs's orchestra for the season at the Royal Victoria Theatre, presumably the son taking the place of his late father. Eliza Hudson appears to have continued her late husband's business until she sold up the stock and good-will early in 1858.

Later in 1858, the widow Eliza married William Sheridan Wall (1815-1876), curator of the Australian Museum, whose second wife, Frances, had died earlier that year after a long illness. George Hudson junior appears to have taken his step-father's surname, and as George Wall served as mayor of Randwick in 1879, remaining a prominent alderman. He died in 1918. His son Frank Edgar WALL, M.D (1879-1941) was a NSW MLC from 1914 to 1941.

Wall descendant, Kylie Fennessy contacted me (January 2016) regarding her hypothesis that George Hudson sometimes went by the name of George Wall, or George Wall Hudson, raising the possibility that he was somehow related his widow's later husband, William Sheridan Wall. Was he perhaps a cousin, or a step- or even illegitimate brother? It is thus, possibly, quite significant that one of Hudson's last publications (and perhaps indeed his last), in January 1854, was The catodon polka by his young theatrical orchestra colleague, violinist George Strong (d. 1878). The dedicatee of Strong's polka, celebrating the Australian Museum's acquisition of a catodon skeleton, was also William Sheridan Wall.


Low's City of Sydney directory for 1844-45

Hudson & Dolan (late Richards), music sell[e]rs, 277 [sic], Pitt st.

"NEW MUSIC", The Sydney Morning Herald (21 August 1844), 4

NEW MUSIC. My Loved my Happy Home.- An original Ballad, the words and music composed (and by permission most respectfully dedicated to Mrs. Colonel Despard, 99th Lanarkshire Regiment) by W. CLEARY, Corporal of the Band. Published by Hudson and Co., 377, Pitt-street North.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (23 August 1847), 1

JUST PUBLISHED. The Brecon, Bohemian, and Jullien's original Polkas. Also, the following favourite Songs: "We may be happy yet", "The Spell is broken", "They say there is some distant Land", "In happy Moments," &c.
The above may be had from G. Hudson, music seller, No 377, Pitt-street North.
N.B. - A superior toned Cornopean, by Pask. Also, Fousses' Pianoforte Tutor, Nicholson's Flute Tutor.

"MUSIC", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (20 January 1849), 2

The charming little ballad, "Will you love me then as now?" so effectively sung by Madame Carandini, at the Victoria Theatre, has been published by Mr. G. Hudson, music-seller, Pitt-street. It is got up in excellent style, and the thanks of the public are due to Mr. Hudson for having dashed into the speculation of music publishing for their convenience, in a time of unparalelled gloom and depression.

"A SHARP", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (10 February 1849), 2 

A few weeks since we felt ourselves called upon to compliment Mr. Hudson, the music seller, of Pitt-street, for having the courage, in these bad times, to publish the very sweet ballad, sung by Madame Carandini, " Do you love me then as now." Since that time we are Informed, that Mr. H. sent the usual number of copies to a music seller in George-street, who, in lieu of following the rules of the trade, republished the ballad in his own name with the ad captandum words "SECOND EDITION." This is bringing out the opera of the "Pirati" with a vengeance, and in a style that can never produce anything but discord. "The world" as Tom Cook was wont to say, "is made up with flats and sharps" - in this case we have the saying verified quite as natural as life.

"Australian Botanic and Horticultural Society", Bell's Life in Sydney (29 September 1849), 2

. . . the lively Polkas of the military band, responded to by those of the city [band], led by the illustrious Hudson, "the railway galop king", roused us from our reverie, and recalled us to our usual observing mood.

Hudson's band may well have played Jullien's famous Railway Galop; however, this is also a punning reference to his namesake, the British railway entrepreneur George Hudson.

"Irish Melody, SET TO A SCOTCH TUNE", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (20 October 1849), 3 

On Thursday last a party of about sixty or seventy ladies and gentlemen proceeded down the harbour on board the steamer Brothers, which had been engaged for the occasion, on a picnic excursion. The City Band was on board, and played several airs . . .

What tunes and what tunes
Did the portly Hudson play?
All sorts of cranky "Green stuff,"
With a touch of Alice Gray.
And he puffed, and he puffed,
Like a "pathriot" away . . .

A political squib on local reaction to the sentence of transportation passed in London on John Martin and Kevin O'Doherty

"Gala-Day at Botany Gardens", Bell's Life in Sydney (5 January 1850), 2

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (25 February 1850), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (23 March 1850), 1

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (25 March 1850), 1

MR. EMANUEL'S PROMENADE CONCERT", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (29 March 1851), 2 

. . . Hudson's very efficient Band was in attendance, and gave general satisfaction . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (10 April 1851), 3

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, in the business of Music Sellers, carried on by us under the firm of J. Gibbs and Co., at No, 377, Pitt-street, in the City of Sydney, was this day dissolved by mutual consent. - Dated this 5th of April, 1851. JOHN GIBBS. ELIZA HUDSON. Witness - W. G. PENNINGTON, Solicitor, George street.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (1 December 1851), 3

NOTICE.- CITY BAND. Having seen an advertisement in the Bell's Life newspaper, on Saturday last, announcing the attendance of the City Band, under the guidance of Mr. Hudson, at the Balmain Regatta, this day: we, the members of the City Band, beg to apprise the public that such is not the case, and disclaim all connection with Mr. Hudson and the so-called City Band. We also understand many persons are under the impression that the City Band is not in existence at present; we therefore beg leave to contradict any such malicious insinuations, put out by all such evil-minded persons to our disadvantage. (Signed) MEMBERS OF THE CITY BAND.

"NEW INSOLVENT", The Sydney Morning Herald (7 February 1852), 4

"INSOLVENCY PROCEEDINGS", The Sydney Morning Herald (11 February 1852), 2 

NEW INSOLVENT. FEB. 6. - George Hudson, of Hunter-street, Sydney, music publisher. Amount of liabilities, £24 10s.; of assets, £5; and of deficiency, £19 10s. Mr. George King, official assignee.

"A CARD", Bell's Life in Sydney (31 July 1852), 2

Mr. Hudson, of the Royal Victoria Theatrical Orchestra, begs to announce that, encouraged by the unrivalled success and distinguished patronage which have attended the production of "Marsh's Australian Polka," and other compositions of a similar kind, he will, in the ensuing season, introduce to the public notice two new pieces, namely, "The Household Valse" and "Menagerie Quadrilles." The former will include faithful imitations of all the peculiar sounds incidental to the course of household occupations during the day, from the cleansing of the boots and knives in the morning to the fastening of the hall-door at night. Mr. Hudson conceives that this valse will be particularly adapted to the domestic and home-loving habits of the Australian public. The Menagerie Quadrilles (dedicated by permission to the Zoological Society) will comprise combinations of the cries of the different animals - Beaumont and Waller's collection - corner of Pitt and Park-streets. The very flattering reception which had been given to Mr. Hudson's musical productions has emboldened him to bring forward these novelties, in doing which he believes he ventures upon ground which Marsh and other professors have hesitated to tread.

Hudson's recent insolvency notwithstanding, this appears to be a mostly good natured squib on Hudson's prolific output as a local publisher of popular dance and band music with modish titles. Though Henry Marsh's Australian Polka exists, the titles of the two advertised Hudson issue are merely products of the writer's whimsy.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (25 November 1852), 3

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (22 August 1853), 1 

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS. THE undersigned has received the following saleable Instruments, &c.: B. Sax Cornopeans, 3 cylinders; Sax Horn, 4 ditto; Cornopeans, mounted, fitted case; Ditto, German-silver mounted; Ditto, French fitted; Opheclide, 10 keys; Bass Trombone; G. ditto; Tenor ditto; French Horns; Roling's Post Horns; Ditto Long; Ditto Short; Ditto Turned; Clarionets, B, Bb, C, &c.; Flutes, Violins, Flutinas, Accordeons, Guitars, Flageolets, Violin Bows, bridges, Best Roman and English Strings, Instruction Books, for Violin, Flute, Flutina and Accordeon, &c. Also, a variety of Music. To be had at G. W. HUDSON'S, Music Seller and Publisher, No. 377, Pitt-street North, nearly opposite the Union Bank.

[Advertisement], Empire (14 January 1854), 1

JUST PUBLISHED, PRICE 2s. THE CATODON POLKA, composed by GEORGE STRONG, author of the "Escort Polka," and dedicated to William Sheridan Wall, Esq., Curator Australian Museum. Sydney: Published by G. W. Hudson, Music Seller, Pitt-street North, and to be had at all Music Warehouses in the City.

"CENTRAL POLICE COURT", The Sydney Morning Herald (28 February 1854), 5

Benjamin Brewer was charged with having attempted to break into a dwelling. George Hudson, of Pitt-street, music seller . . .


Master G. Hudson. - 3 copper coins (Dutch India); Master J. Hudson. - A specimen of malachite from the Burra Burra mines, South Australia.

Interesting evidence that the Hudson's two sons, George junior and Joseph, were both donating specimens the Australian Museum, where their future step-father William Sheridan Wall was curator.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (10 July 1854), 1

MUSICAL.- Parties wishing to engage a BAND to attend at balls, pic-nics, or other parties, can be furnished with any number, by applying to Mr. J. GIBBS, Bourke street, Woolloomooloo; Mr. W. J. JOHNSON, or G. HUDSON, Music Sellers, Pitt-street North, Sydney. Punctuality and attention to business may be relied on. N.B. - The most modern music performed.

"DEATHS", The Sydney Morning Herald (29 July 1854), 4 

On the 27th instant, at his residence, Pitt-street North, Mr. George Hudson, Music-seller and Publisher, after a short but severe illness, much regretted by a numerous circle of friends, leaving a widow and two children to lament their loss.

"FUNERAL", The Sydney Morning Herald (29 July 1854), 5

[Advertisement], Empire (25 August 1854), 1

ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE . . . ORCHESTRA. Messrs. Lavenu, John Gibbs, C. Riffel, G. Strong, J. Guerin, Davis, R. Vaughan, M. Vaughan, Wright, Wheeler, Turner, Seymour, M'Laughlin, Bing, Theobald, Earle, and Master Hudson.

[Advertisement], Bell's Life in Sydney (26 August 1854), 3

"DONATIONS TO AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM, APRIL, 1856", The Sydney Morning Herald (6 May 1856), 5, 

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (17 January 1857), 1

PIANOFORTES - GEORGE HARRIS, late with Messrs. W. J. Johnson and Co. pianoforte-makers, &c., Pitt-street, begs to inform the inhabitants of Sydney and its vicinity that his engagement under articles has ceased, and that he intends to follow the tuning and repairing department. Orders, from town or country, addressed to HUDSON, music-seller, l8, Pitt-street North, will meet with prompt attention. 16th January, 1857.

"DONATIONS TO THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM DURING APRIL, 1857.', The Sydney Morning Herald (5 May 1857), 5 

Sands and Kenny's commercial and general Sydney directory for 1858-9 (1858), 79 (164, 256)

157 Hunter Street, Hudson, Mrs., music seller

"DONATIONS TO THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM DURING FEBRUARY, 1858", The Sydney Morning Herald (5 March 1858), 5 

"DONATIONS TO THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM DURING FEBRUARY, 1858", The Sydney Morning Herald (5 March 1858), 5

Two small fish from Coogee, belonging to the family Clupeidae. By Master G. W. Hudson.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (10 August 1858), 12

FOR SALE. The Music and Musical Instruments, &c, belonging to the late G. W. Hudson, and also the goodwill, fixtures, &c., of the shop. Apply at No. l8, Pitt-street North, opposite the Union Bank.

"DEATHS", Empire (20 June 1873), 1 

On the 18th June, at her residence, Coogee Bay, Charlotte Elizabeth, wife of Mr. W. S. Wall, aged 70.

"DEATH OF MR. GEO. WALL", The Sydney Morning Herald (25 January 1918), 6 

"LATE MR. GEORGE WALL", The Sydney Morning Herald (28 January 1918), 8 

Musical publications

All of George Hudson's known sheet music publications are listed here:


Neidorf 1999, volume 2, 178-81 (DIGITISED)

Skinner 2011, passim (DIGITISED)

Many thanks:

To family historian Kylie Fennessy for kindly sharing her research findings (2015-16).

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2018