Henry Hudson was born in London, England on 20 September 1836. He was the son of a chair maker and builder, William Henry Hudson, and his wife Elizabeth Ann née Dugdale. He and his family migrated to New Zealand before arriving in Sydney in 1843.
He married Mary Ann Turner on 17 July 1858 at St Paul’s Church, Redfern. They had 10 children together, two of whom died during infancy.
Hudson died of heart disease on 9 May 1907 at his home ‘Glenhurst’ in Darling Point and was buried the following day at Waverley Cemetery. He left an estate worth £12,000 and debts amounting to £19,000.
Occupation & interests
Henry Hudson was an engineering contractor and manufacturer who worked for his father’s firm, Hudson Brothers. This firm was established in 1855 in a small shop on Botany Street, Redfern. By 1870, they employed 87 men and boys. His brothers, Robert, William and George also joined the firm. It became the largest manufacturing works in Australia.
Hudson Brothers specialised in woodwork before moving on to metalwork after receiving a lucrative contract from the New South Wales Government for the manufacture of rolling stock in 1879. Hudson Brothers also worked on the woodwork in the University of Sydney’s Great Hall in 1879. The company’s work included manufacturing, mining, refrigeration and agricultural machinery.
Hudson Brothers moved from Redfern to Granville in 1881. They acquired 200 acres of land and built a factory there which opened in July 1883.
The company went into receivership after the 1893 recession and was taken over by Clyde Engineering Company. Hudson was appointed general manager and remained in that position until his death in 1907. Hudson’s obituary noted that on average, his firm employed 800 people per day.
Hudson was a founding trustee of the Equitable Permanent Benefit, Building, Land, and Savings Institution, a president of the Employers’ Association and a vice-president of the Free Trade Association in 1889. He was also a Justice of the Peace.
Local government service
Henry Hudson was elected as an alderman of Redfern on 4 February 1868. He served until 1880. He was elected Mayor of Redfern on 16 February 1872, serving until 1873. He was elected again on 11 February 1880.
‘Death Of Mr. Henry Hudson’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 1907, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14866659
‘The Farmer And Settler’, The Farmer and Settler, 1 August 1906, p. 19, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109681267
‘The Hudson Brothers Works, Redfern’, Australian Town and Country Journal, 15 March 1879, p. 22 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article70936116
‘Mr. Henry Hudson, Mayor of the Borough of Redfern’, New South Wales Government Gazette, 13 February 1880, p. 739, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224188406
‘Suburban Municipal Elections’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 February 1868, p. 5 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28609243
Walsh, G. P. Walsh, ‘Hudson, Henry (1836–1907)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hudson-henry-3810/text6045, published first in hardcopy 1972