Information courtesy of Ron Drummond.
The Old Scots saying “Its an ull win blows naebody gweed” "Its an ill wind blows nobody good) applies in the coming of Hudson Brothers to Granville. There is no question that the strike of 1874 when P N Russell and Company closed down their works at Darling Harbour for all time had much to do influencing the coming of Hudson Brothers.
The effect of this labour ebullition and the action taken by the firm of P N Russell was to create a vacancy in the manufacturing trade of the colony. The Hudson Brothers gauged the situation as their opportunity and successfully tendered for a five years supply of Government rolling stock in connection with the main railway running from Sydney. This class of work had previously been imported or carried out at the works of P N Russell.
The history of the Hudson family dates back to the 1850’s when the brothers were apprentices to their father a successful builder holding several large building contracts. The brother started a business in a small way in 1862. The beginning may have been small but it became the largest building firm in the colony. The headquarters at the time was Botany, Redfern. The eldest brother Henry was the leading mind throughout the firm existence.
The Cumberland Mercury for July 6th 1881 under the headline of “Granville” “Two of the Hudson Brothers were at Granville last Saturday viewing the site for their future workshops.” The proposed new building will be larger than Redfern. It was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald 21st August 1882, a special train had been organised on Saturday 19th August 1882 to carry 250 ladies and gents to the laying of the Foundation Stone, planting of trees and the naming of Hudson Brothers new works at Granville, it was decided to name the locality Hudson.Mr Robert Hudson engaged nineteen iron workers from the valley of the Clyde in Scotland, they arrived in Granville 1882. Some of them could not find houses, so they had to live in Sydney until the Hudson Cottages were finished. Robert Hudson also sailed to Scotland to employ a further twenty-five iron workers under contract for the new works. A large sum of money from Scotland was invested in the Company, being handled by Mr J C Alexander who was appointed Works Manager a position he held until the works changed ownership.
The craftsmanship of the Hudson Brothers was of the highest quality workmanship many of their works are still in Sydney in 2018. Henry Hudson was responsible for the ceiling in the Great Hall - the Mac Laurin Hall at Sydney University.
St Paul's Church, Redfern
Despite the day to day work of the business that had to carry on, it was necessary to have facilities for the workers to enjoy when they had a break. The Scotsmen and some English men who worked in the foundry needed to carry on some of the activities and skills that they enjoyed back home. Hudson Brothers were employers who believed that a happy workforce is a productive workforce. This can be seen in the many and varied activities available to the people who were employed.
Photograph above shows Hudson Brothers, houses were built by Hudson Brothers they built kit homes for the engineers they brought out from Scotland. The rectangular building above the houses was later the Battery Factory, which is built on the land that had been cleared to allow the Scottish men to play their favourite sport.