Shortly after Uriah was born in Bedfordshire, England in 1852, his family emigrated to Australia, initially to Geelong and then to Gympie. Dudley completed an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer with John Walker’s Ballarat foundry, which had established a branch in Maryborough, Queensland. Uriah moved to Herberton in 1872, then took over an engineering business in Gympie in 1879. He reported on mines as far north as the Mulgrave goldfield, inland from Cairns.
He moved to Sydney to study mining and geology through the Sydney Board of Technical Education, then the Silverton boom drew him to manage the Sydney Rockwell mine and, in 1889, the Umberumberka mine. He became secretary of the Mine Managers Association and gave evidence at the Royal Commission on the Gold Mining Industry in Victoria in 1890, where his main theme was the need for better technical training for mine managers. He was Mayor of Silverton for 1890-91 and 1891-92 and was a member of the licensing court. In 1893 he moved to Broken Hill where he managed the chloridising works of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, and taught mining and mineralogy at the Broken Hill Mechanics Institute.
In late 1895 Dudley moved to Western Australia to manage the Golden Bar Gold Mining Company at Menzies. After two years he moved back to NSW to manage Webb’s mine for White Rock Silver Mines, at Drake, where he made several applications for patents for ore processing machines. In 1900 he spent time as a mine manager in Denver City, Colorado, where he was referred to as Professor Dudley. By 1901 he was back in Western Australia, as manager of the Emperor Gold Mine near Day Dawn. He became a Justice of the Peace and a licensing magistrate for the Murchison district. In 1904 he gave evidence in Perth at the Royal Commission into ventilation and sanitation before travelling to London to raise capital for several properties including Great Fingall, Fingall North and East Fingall. While in London again in 1907 for meetings he suffered a stroke and retired to Sydney, where he died in March 1909.
In July 1892, at a meeting of the Amalgamated Mining Managers’ Association of Australasia at Ballarat, Dudley proposed that an Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy be formed. He was commissioned to make enquiries, which he did quickly. By September a Provisional Council, of which Dudley was secretary, was formed and the inaugural meeting of the Institute was held in Adelaide in April 1893. Dudley served as its secretary until 1896. He was considered by his contemporaries as the ‘father’ of the AusIMM.
Dudley was a Freemason and a Fellow of the Geological Society of Australasia. He married Emma Neale at Gympie in 1879. They had two children, neither of whom survived into adulthood.