Kevin Rudd Family History


Kevin Michael Rudd was born on September 21st, 1957 to Bert and Margaret Rudd at Nambour in Queensland, Australia.

His father died in 1968 when he was eleven.  The family then lost their farm and the years that followed were not happy ones because of their poverty and the shame of relying on charity.

Kevin made it to university where he studied Chinese language and history.  His career then took him to the diplomatic service and to Queensland state government before he entered Parliament in 1998.  His rise there was rapid and, when the Labor party won the 2008 electtion, he became Australia’s 26th Prime Minister.  He was replaced as leader in 2010 but returned in 2013 for a short period as Prime Minister.

In 2008 Kevin Rudd was presented with two leather bound volumes of his family history by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at a private ceremony in Sydney. Far from being the embarrassment it might have been just a couple of decades prior, the discoveries gave Kevin Rudd’s image a boost.  Convict ancestry has recently lost its aura of shame and become almost a badge of honor in modern Australia.

A Rudd, Standen and Sweeny family reunion is held every year at Appin south of Sydney.

Convicts Past

Thomas Rudd – the fourth great grandfather of Kevin Rudd – was transported on the Earl Cornwallis from London to Sydney in 1801 to serve a seven-year sentence for “unlawfully acquiring a bag of sugar.”  In 1806 he married Mary Cable, a fellow convict, at Parrramatta and they were the parents of nine or possibly more children there and in Campbelltown.

Thomas’s crime was eclipsed by that of Kevin Rudd’s paternal fifth great-grandmother Mary Wade, a London street urchin who made a pittance by sweeping streets and begging. In 1788, aged twelve, she and an older girl coaxed an eight-year-old girl into a toilet where they relieved her of “her dress, petticoats, a linen tippet, and a cap and absconded.”

Mary was transported to NSW for life, arriving in 1790 on the infamous Lady Juliana as part of the Second Fleet.  She “married” fellow convict Jonathan Brooker and reportedly bore twenty one children. When she died in 1859 she had more than 300 descendants and is now considered as one of Australia’s “grand founding matriarchs.”

Another paternal fifth great-grandmother was Catherine Lahey who arrived in Sydney in 1800 after forging one shilling and sixpence to pay her rent.

Living in the Country

Thomas Rudd moved to Campbelltown, NSW in 1812 where he ended up a respected businessman and sizeable landowner.  In 1926 the Rudd estate in Campbelltown, a huge area of land stretching from Chamberlain Street to Leumeah Station, was subdivided to create “farmlets” for orchard or poultry farming.

Some of his sons settled and prospered in the Murrumbidgee district.  James arrived in 1836 in Wagga Wagga where his property was named Wagingoberrembie.  Thomas moved to nearby Gudagai in the 1850’s; while the younger brother Edward – Kevin Rudd’s ancestor – came to Wagga Wagga in the 1870’s.  The last of Edward’s line in Wagga Wagga was Albert Rudd who died there in 1973.  

Most of Albert’s children moved elsewhere.  Two – Coral and Gordon – departed for America.  Albert (Bert) moved to Queensland when he married his wife Margaret in 1948.  Their son Kevin Rudd was born on the farm there in 1957.

One notable feature of these Rudds is that they generally avoided the large towns and preferred to live in the country.

Kevin Rudd’s Family Tree

  • Thomas Rudd from London (1765-1830) m. Mary Cable from Essex (1775-1860) in Australia in 1806
  • – Thomas Rudd (1805-1882) m. Sophia Ray (daughter of Sarah May Wade)
  • – John Rudd (1806-1851) m. Margaret Cullen
  • – James Rudd (1808-1851) m. Mary Cullen
  • – William Rudd (1810-1885) m. Emma Terry
  • – Mary Ann Rudd (1813-1884) m. Patrick Sheridan
  • – Isaac Rudd (1814-1866) m. Mary Ann Brennan
  • – Sarah Rudd (1816-1890) m. William Jones
  • – Edward Rudd (1818-1878)
  • – Anne Rudd (1820-1835)
  • Edward Rudd from Campbelltown m. Sarah Brooker (1823-1890)
  • – John Rudd (1841-1918)
  • – Sarah Rudd (1843-1923)
  • – William Rudd (1848-1910)
  • – James Rudd (1850-1835) m. Harriet Campbell
  • – Eliza Rudd (1857-1908) m. John Rynehart
  • John Rudd from Campbelltown m. Eliza Larkin (1840-1905) in 1864
  • – John Albert Rudd (1865-1942)
  • – James Rudd (1868-1935)
  • – Edward Rudd (1872-1951)
  • – Ida Rudd (1875-1910) m. William Hannam
  • – Ernest Rudd (1878-1954)
  • John Albert Rudd m. Sarah Winnell (1867-1958) in Wagga Wagga in 1886
  • – Leila Rudd (1888 -1909)
  • – Albert Rudd (1894-1973)
  • – William Rudd (1897-1970) m. Eva Harrison
  • – Violet Rudd (1900-1933)
  • – Aubrey Rudd (1905-1987) m. Violet Russell
  • – Evelyn Rudd (1911-2008)
  • Albert Rudd from Wagga Wagga m. Maud Harrison (1898-1969) in 1913
  • – Coral Rudd (1913-1983) m. Arthur Smith; died in America
  • – Vera Rudd (1917-1984) m. Ernest Lipscombe
  • – Albert (Bert) Rudd (1918-1969)
  • – Roy Rudd (1922-1992)
  • – Gordon Rudd (1924-1984) died in America
  • Albert (Bert) Rudd m. Margaret DeVere (1921-2004) in Queensland in 1948
  • – Kevin Rudd (b. 1957)
  • Kevin Rudd m. Therese Rein (b. 1958) in 1981
  • – Jessica Rudd (b. 1984) m. Albert Tse
  • – Nicholas (Nick) Rudd (b. 1988)
  • – Marcus Rudd (b. 1991)



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Written by Colin Shelley

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