Skip to main content
Menu

Sir Sidney Kidman

1857 – 1935

Sir Sidney Kidman, pastoralist (1857-1935), is Australia's 'cattle king'. Kidman ran away from his Adelaide home as a boy. Finding work with an itinerant cattleman, he learned much about bushcraft from an Aboriginal man he befriended. After working for a couple of years as a rouseabout and stockman around Broken Hill, he bought a bullock team and began carting supplies between isolated settlements in NSW and Victoria. In the early 1870s he established a butcher's shop in Cobar that was successful enough for him to set up as a large squatter, buying and selling cattle and horses to add to the income he was earning from coaching enterprises in New South Wales and West Australia. In 1886 he bought his first station, in the Northern Territory; over the following twelve years he built up two giant chains of properties stretching across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. By World War I he held land almost equal in area to that of Victoria. He contributed substantially to the armed forces during the war and was knighted in 1921, the day after he donated his country home, Eringa, to the South Australian government. In the mid-1920s, he weathered a land-tax evasion case that dragged on for three years; by 1927, according to historian Russel Ward, his name had come to signify 'a complex of interlocking companies, partnerships and agencies with branches in all the mainland capital cities and some country towns'.

Updated 2018