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Sir Herbert Sydney Hudd (1881–1948)

by Dean Jaensch

This article was published:

Herbert Sydney Hudd (1881-1948), by unknown photographer, c1912

Herbert Sydney Hudd (1881-1948), by unknown photographer, c1912

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 45311

Sir Herbert Sydney Hudd (1881-1948), politician, was born on 25 February 1881 in Adelaide, son of William Hudd, confectioner, and his wife Mary Ann, née Haylett. Educated at Grote Street Public School, Adelaide, he left at 13 to work in his father's chocolate factory at Medindie. He later became a managing partner of W. Hudd & Sons. Hudd showed an early interest in debating and joined the Pirie Street Literary Society in 1903 as an enthusiastic secretary and organizer; he became vice-president of the South Australian Literary Societies' Union in 1909 and president in 1912-13, and was a member of the debating team which won an interstate contest in 1911. He extended his education by reading three nights a week in the public library.

In 1910 Hudd was defeated in an attempt to enter parliament as a Liberal Union candidate for Torrens, but he won the seat in 1912 and for three years was secretary of the Parliamentary Liberal Party. In 1915, following a redistribution, he stood unsuccessfully for Sturt. In September he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force as quartermaster sergeant and served in France and Belgium in 1916-18 with the 43rd Battalion. In August 1916 he was commissioned second lieutenant and was promoted lieutenant next January; from November 1916 he acted as quartermaster and was awarded the Military Cross in June 1918 especially for 'his energy, organizing ability and constant devotion to duty' during operations east of Ypres in October 1917. Confirmed as quartermaster and promoted honorary captain in January 1918 he was next year commissioned by the South Australian government to inquire into town planning and country public house trusts in England. On 7 May 1919 at Kensington, London, he married a fellow South Australian, Mabel Law, daughter of Richard Smith; in November they returned to Adelaide where Hudd was demobilized next February.

In June 1920 Hudd was elected to the House of Assembly for Alexandra at a by-election following the death of his friend the premier A. H. Peake. He held the seat until 1938 and from 1941 until his death. A senior member of the Liberal Union and the Liberal Party, he was again secretary of the parliamentary party and in 1927-30 government whip. In the Butler government of 1933-38 he held the portfolios of public works, railways and marine which together accounted for the greater part of the State's budget. Appointed K.B.E. in 1937, he was regarded as one of the ablest debaters in public life in South Australia, although at least one contemporary was critical of his administrative ability.

Hudd was a member of the Council of the University of Adelaide (1921-24), the Adelaide Hospital Board (1912-15) and the Institutes' Association of South Australia and deputy chairman of the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Sciences. He belonged to the Commercial Travellers' Association and the Adelaide Club. He died of cardiac disease at Glenelg on 30 April 1948. Childless, he was survived by his wife and was buried in St Jude's cemetery, Brighton.

Select Bibliography

  • Literary Societies' Journal, 10 May 1908
  • Observer (Adelaide), 1 May 1920
  • Mail (Adelaide), 11 Nov 1922
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 1 May 1948
  • R. F. I. Smith, The Butler Government in South Australia, 1933-1938 (M.A. thesis, University of Adelaide, 1964).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Dean Jaensch, 'Hudd, Sir Herbert Sydney (1881–1948)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1983, accessed online 13 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne University Press), 1983

View the front pages for Volume 9

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