Rudd was born Arthur Hoey Davis at Drayton, Queensland, and left school early, working on nearby stations before joining the public service in Brisbane. He married Violet Brodie in 1894 and they had four children. The Bulletin published his first sketch of life as a selector in 1895. More stories followed, and their popularity led the Bulletin to publish the collections On Our Selection (1899) and Our New Selection (1903), which were also successfully adapted for the stage. Rudd established Steele Rudd's Magazine in 1903, which continued (with name-changes, lapses and revivals) until 1927. Rudd was prolific, writing six plays and more than twenty books, including the well-received novel, Memoirs of Corporal Keeley (1918). His wife's institutionalisation in a mental hospital, the dissolution of their marriage, problems with alcohol and money, are all considered to have contributed to a decline in the quality of his later work.