Dad and Dave from Snake Gully, the original Aussie battlers

Credit: National Film and Sound Archive Collection

Before the Kerrigan family from The Castle, there was the Rudd family. The original Aussie battlers.

Although the theme tune was The Road to Gundagai, the writer who inspired Dad and Dave from Snake Gully was a Queenslander.

Arthur Hoey Davis was one of 13 children and wrote a series of stories On Our Selection under the pseudonym of Stelle Rudd.

Born in Drayton near Toowoomba, Davis grew up on his parents’ selection at Emu Creek, now known as East Greenmount.

He sold the rights to his work and the new owners added the Gundagai connection and turned the works into a radio drama series which ran from 1937 to 1953.

It was a golden age for radio drama and comedy and Dad and Dave was the most popular show of the time.

It came about when chewing gum manufacturer Wrigleys asked its advertising agent to create a serial that was Australian in character and would appeal to a national audience. It became a part of daily life for many Australians.

The characters struck a chord with their audience as they shared the same troubles.

Families would gather around the wireless after a hearty meal, often prepared in a camp oven in the backyard or in the wood stove, and listen to Dad and Dave.

Each episode starts with a narrator reading this script:

We now present an episode of Dad and Dave. A human story of two typical Australians – their families, their lives, their hopes, their doubts, their fears and their triumphs.

The characters of Dad and Dave represent all that is sturdy, honest and resourceful in the great Australian outback. You’ll laugh with them. You will sympathise with them and perhaps their troubles may in some way remind you of your own and perhaps their courage will inspire you.

Now let us visit the homestead in Snake Gully just off the road to Gundagai. It is a typical Australian homestead. There’s a veranda running almost right round the house. In front of the house are a few trees and a small well-kept garden …

(left) Family of Arthur Hoey Davis (Steele Rudd) in front of the home on the ‘Old Selection’ (with Dad featured in the back row on the right), Queensland 1896, nla.obj-138036353

Image courtesy of the National Library of Australia

The Ipswich Historical Society is heading back to “the good old days” with a family night – Dinner at Cooneana with Dad and Dave.

Tickets are no longer on sale, but if you would like to find out more about the Ipswich Historical Society or become a member, you can contact them on 3282 2358.

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