LAST MODIFIED Sunday 23 June 2019 15:29

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 3 April 2020

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 HUDSON, junior; later took his stepfather's surname, as George WALL)

Orchestral musician

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

G. W. Hudson, music seller (formerly Richards's), 377 Pitt Street, West side; from Sydney in 1848 


George Hudson's names first appears among the signatories in a published letter, dated 22 October 1842, from electors in the new Sydney City Council's Gipps Ward, pleding themselves to Daniel Egan as candidate

Hudson is next documented 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 probably not incidental, for, from by November 1848, he was a (civilian) bandmaster himself, of the Sydney City Band. The band was apparently a successor to the St. Patrick's Band, with which Hudson may also have been associated, if not necessarily as bandmaster, then as a player.

As one of Sydney's most prolific music publishers, Hudson also took a special interest in issuing local lithographic editions of popular songs and dance band music, especially polkas, based on imported prints.

By November 1848, if not earlier, Hudson was apparently also a member of the orchestra at the Royal Victoria Theatre, under its then leader John Gibbs.

In 1850-51, Gibbs went briefly into a business partnership, nominally with Eliza Hudson, 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 John Gibbs's orchestra for Lewis Lavenu's opera 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. 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.

"ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE", The Sydney Morning Herald (27 November 1848), 2 

For the Benefit of Mr. and Mrs. GIBBS, who respectfully solicit a continuance of that liberal patronage which they have hitherto experienced. THIS EVENING, Nov. 27, THE entertainments will commence with, for the first time, the Historical Opera, in three acts (the music arranged for this occasion by Mr. Gibbs), entitled THE ENGLISH FLEET IN 1342; or, THE HEROINE OF BRITANNY . . . Song, "The Robber of the Glen," Mr. Smith. Comic Song, "Ladies in Parliament," Mrs. Gibbs. After which, tho City Band, under the direction of Mr. Hudson, will perform the popular RAILWAY GALLOP, accompanied by the Band of the Theatre. To be succeeded by an entirely new Ballet Divertisetnent (arranged by Mr. Gibbs), entitled THE LOVE TEST; or, THE VINTAGER'S FETE. Comic Duet, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," Mrs. Gibbs and Mr. Rogers. To conclude with the Farce, entitled BOOTS AT THE SWAN . . .

MUSIC CONCORDANCE: The Railroad Gallop (Jullien; Sydney edition by Francis Ellard)

"THE DRAMA", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (23 December 1848), 2 

The great novelty of the season, the Opera of the "Corsair," was produced on Monday night at the Victoria, for the benefit of Mr. J. Howson . . . The libretto of the opera was written by Mr. Fitz Ball, to which Frank Romer composed the music; but as this was not procurable in the colony, Mr. Howson set about the arduous task himself; and it is but just to say, that he has performed it with great taste and ability . . . This was followed by one of the best compositions in the opera, a solo, "I've watched with thee." It was sung with great feeling by Mr. F. Howson, who was excellently accompanied by Mr. Hudson on the Cornet-a-Piston . . .

ASSOCIATIONS: John Howson (composer); Frank Howson (vocalist

"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.

EDITION: Will you love me then as now (Hudson's editions; music recte by Charles Glover; sung as an insertion song in Thomas Dibdin's opera The English fleet in 1342, as performed 27 November 1848 above)

"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

The chartering of the Eagle steamer by Messrs. Beaumont and Waller, for the conveyance to their delightful gardens at Botany, of such of their fellow-citizens as depart not from the honorod custom of their fore-fathers, in celebrating with dance and song the first day of the new year, was one of the happiest ideas that could by possibility have been conceived, and was carried out and perfected in a manner successful beyond the most sanguine expectations of the projectors. So densely crowded were the decks of the Eagle that she had scarce room to spread her wings on her onward course, and even the paddle-boxes and rigging afforded foothold to numbers who were unable to squeeze themselves into any more comfortable locality.

As the steamer ploughed her way down the harbour, the City Band, under the able direction of Mr. Hudson, struck up its enlivening strains, which were only quelled by the qualers with which the marine deities are accustomed to visit strange intruders on their boundless dominions. The drum beating a retreat as they cleared the Heads, bassoon and serpent, flageolet and cornopean, played a lively second to him, and sought the lee gangway, where they speedily cleared their instruments of all accumulated superfluities . . .

So goodly a company had never before honored the sandy shores of Botany with their presence, and a day of unclouded enjoyment was the reward of their adventurous search after pleasure so far from home. It is to be hoped that this will prove but the commencement of periodical visits to this enchanting spot, and that Messrs. Beaumont and Waller will, ere long, throw their gardens open to a liek fashionable and orderly assemblage.


[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (3 April 1850), 1 

GRAND CONCERT. UNDER THE DISTINGUISHED PATRONAGE OF HIS EXCELLENCY SIR CHARLES AUGUSTUS FITZ ROY, AND THE HONORABLE MRS. KEITH STEWART. MR. DEANE begs to inform his friends and the public generally, that under the above most distinguished patronage, he intends giving a Grand Concert of Vocal and Instrumental Music, at the Royal Victoria Theatre, on Wednesday Evening, the 3rd of April instant, when he solicits their kind support.

MR. DEANE will be assisted by Mrs. Guerin, Madame Carandini, Mesrrs. F. and J. Howson, Mr. Stanley, Mr. Gibbs, Messrs. Guerin, Friedlander, Strong, Turner, Vaughan, Vaughan, jun., Hudson, Ducros, Wright, several Amateurs of talent, and by the kind permission of Colonel Bloomfield and Officers, the splendid Band of the 11th Regiment.
Leader, Mr. Gibbs. Conductor, Mr. Deane . . .

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

"ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE", The Sydney Morning Herald (1 August 1850), 2 

ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE. THIS EVENING, AUGUST 1, Will be presented the opera of LA SONNAMBULA . . . Pas de Deux, the Misses Griffiths. Nigger Melody, "Whar d'ye come from," Mr. Hydes. Pas Seul, Miss Hart. Previous to the after piece Mr. Hudson will perform Rossini's Air "Non Piu Mesta," with variations, on the Cornopean, arranged expressly for him by Mr. Gibbs. To conclude with a new farce called the OMNIBUS; or, A CONVENIENT DISTANCE . . .

"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

"In the Insolvent Estate of George Hudson, of Hunter-street, Sydney, music publisher", New South Wales Government Gazette (10 February 1852), 268 

"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.

"LOCAL INTELLIGENCE", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (24 April 1852), 2 

WHY is Mr. Hudson of the Victoria Orchestra a gentleman evidently highly satisfied with his professional abilities? Because he is constantly blowing his own trumpet.

"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

CORNOPEANS. FOR SALE. - Two first-rate Cornopeans, with shanks and crooks, &c, in cases complete; maker, John Kohler, 35, Henrietta-street, Covent Garden, London. This maker obtained the prize medal for brass instruments at the late Great Exhibition. Apply to G. HUDSON, Pitt-street.

For 3 examples of Kohler cornopeans, see:;; 

"ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE", The Sydney Morning Herald (8 June 1853), 2 

THURSDAY EVENING, JUNE 9, 1853. For the Joint Benefit of several Members of the Orchestra, who, in submitting their claim, respectfully solicit the patronage and support of the public, which by their exertions they have endeavoured to merit. Under distinguished patronage. On Thursday Evening, June 9, will be produced a Drama, in 3 Acts, entitled THE GAMESTER OF MILAN . . . Milanese Hornpipe, Miss Collins; Terence's Farewell, Mdme. S. Flower; Comic Song (Lord Lovel), Mr. Rogers; Song (A Lowly Youth), Madame Carandini; Comic Song (Who'll have me), Mrs. Gibbs; Song (The Peace of the Valley), Mr. F. Howson; Cornet-a-Piston Obligato, Mr. Hudson; Solo, Bassoon (first time), Mr. Davies. To conclude with the very laughable farce of WHO STOLE THE POCKET BOOK . . . Tickets and boxes may be secured at Mr. Torning's, Box Office, Victoria Hotel; and at Mr. Hudson's Music Shop, Pitt-street, between King and Hunter streets.

MUSIC CONCORDANCES: The peace of the valley (music by Michael Balfe; Hudson's edition)

[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

FUNERAL. - The friends of the deceased Mr. GEORGE HUDSON, musician, are invited to attend his funeral; to move from his late residence, Pitt-street North, this Saturday morning, at a quarter to 8 o'clock. JAMES CURTIS, undertaker, Hunter-street.

[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.

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

. . . A little Ostracion, Port Jackson. By Master G. Hudson . . .

Probably a yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus): 

[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 

. . . The following Australian birds, viz., a Petroica Multicolor; a Sitella Chrysptera, and a Ptilotis unicolor. Mr. G. Hudson . . .

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

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 

Thw death occurred at his residence, Medina. Rae-street, Randwick, yesterday afternoon, of Mr. George Wall, wjo for many years was prominent in the commercial and civic life of Sydney and the Eastern Suburbs. He had been ailing for a lengthy period. He was 75 years of age . . .

"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:


Prue Neidorf, A guide to dating music published in Sydney and Melbourne, 1800-1899 (M.A. thesis, University of Wollongong, 1999), 178-81 (DIGITISED)

Skinner 2011, First national music, passim (DIGITISED)

Graeme Skinner, "A checklist of Australian sheet music prints, 1834-c.1850", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia): 

Many thanks:

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

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2020