Sidney Kidman

Sidney Kidman and his Corner Country Connections

Sidney Kidman was the second youngest of George and Elizabeth Mary Kidman’s six sons. He was born in 1857 at Kapunda in South Australia, the year before his father died.

In 1862 Sid’s mother remarried, but it was an unhappy arrangement and one by one Sid’s older brothers left their home near Adelaide. Sid earned some money working in stockyards and at the age of 13 bought a horse and headed north.

He found his older brother George on Poolamacca Station in the Barrier Ranges of New South Wales. George was not happy to see Sid and ordered him to go home. Sid’s refusal to go was the start of a life of hard work and enterprise that earned him the title of Cattle King.

After investing in businesses such as droving, buying and selling horses, coaching, mining and butchering, Sidney Kidman purchased his first property, Cowarie on the Birdsville Track in South Australia, in 1895. He subsequently went on to own more many properties across South Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia as well as western New South Wales.

The stations were linked and close to rivers, stock routes and railheads so that cattle and horses could be moved along readily to sales in the city markets.

The breakup of his properties in New South Wales was the result of changes to lease ownership, but his companies retained ownership of land in other states until finally selling the last property to Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting in 2016.

More about Kidman, his properties and legacy can be seen on Sturt’s Steps interpretive shelter on Pine View Station, and in the Sturt-Kidman Interpretive Centre in Milparinka.