Two hours drive west of Brisbane lies the township of Nobby on the Darling Downs, population few and far between. Why visit Nobby? This is where author Steele Rudd was said to have written many of his stories ensconced at the local pub.
Rudd’s Pub is an interesting spot with its farming memorabilia filling the walls and ceiling space as well as references to Rudd’s iconic characters, Dad and Dave.
Steele Rudd was the pseudonym of Arthur Hoey Davis (14 November 1868 – 11 October 1935) an Australian author, best known for his short story collection On Our Selection.
The stories contained in this book provide a humorous account of life on a plot of land ‘selected’ in the late 1800s. Apart from the humour of life in the bush and of yokels visiting the city, these stories also included Dave’s awkward romance with local lass, Mabel.
The 1920 movie On Our Selection and 1932–1952 radio series Dad and Dave helped turn the characters into Australian cultural icons before the days of television. A Selection referred to “free selection before survey” of crown land under legislation introduced in the 1860’s to encourage settlement and agriculture.
The movie was remade in 1995 starring Leo McKern, Joan Sutherland, and Geoffrey Rush with the theme song by John Williamson. No-one ever said it was a good movie and harking back to more simple times it would not sit well with todays audience though it would have resonated with the previous generation.
The refreshing bevy at Rudd’s Pub was pleasant, as was the walk around Sister Kenny Memorial Park and Museum (in a nod to her work with poliomyelitis).
Our real find was Steele Rudd Park which sits on a corner of the original Selection on Steele Rudd Road, East Greenmount.
The park features replica historical buildings and information about Rudd’s childhood and later life. It includes a picnic table and gas barbeque as well as bathroom facilities – though be careful where you sit : bush facilities have a tendency to attract frogs 🙂
This is pretty country surrounded by gently undulating plains with its pastures full of fat cattle. Still, it is not difficult to imagine the hardships endured by our pioneers attempting to raise large families on these plots fighting constant battles against dust, drought, snakes and heat.
Lets finish with a typical Dad and Dave joke :
Dave decided to take Mabel to the Snake Gully Café for lunch. Dave looked at the menu and said, “They’ve got sheep tongues on the menu, Mabel. I think I’ll have that. What about you?”
Mabel said, “No Dave, I couldn’t eat anything that came out of an animal’s mouth.”
“What would you like then, Mabel?” said Dave.
Mabel said, “I think I’ll have an egg.”_
* Well worth a visit.
**Worth watching the 1995 version if only for the line up of Australian actors : Ray Barrett, Noah Taylor, Barry Otto, and my 80’s crush, Rory O’Donaghue from The Aunty Jack Show. Do you remember Aunty Jack ?Even named a cat after him.🥰