Sidney Kidman ran away from home when he was thirteen
to escape his step-father and created the largest pastoral
holdings in the world spanning the Australian continent.
Sidney, the fifth of six sons was born in Adelaide on 9
May 1857 at Athelstone to George and Elizabeth Mary nee
NUNN. His father was dead within the year and his mother
remarried. The boy left home with five shillings in his
pocket and riding Cyclops, a one-eyed horse and made his
way to Poolamacca station in NSW where his
brother George found
him a job with George Raines, a bushman, squatting on
the unfenced runs wherever he found good feed for his cattle.
In this job Sidney shared a dug-out in the bank of a dry
with an Aboriginal called
Billy who taught him bush skills.
When this job came to an
end Sidney Kidman worked as a roustabout on Mount
Gipps station, the site of the fabulous silver-lead-zinc
discovery at Broken Hill a decade later. When
he saved enough money he purchased a bullock-team and
from then on he worked for himself and was soon an employer
In 1886 Kidman bought
his first station, Owen Springs south-west
of Alice Springs. He developed the idea of buying a chain
from the well-watered
tropical country, south
into South Australia within easy droving distance of Adelaide.
By the time of World War I he controlled
station country considerably greater in area than England.
1921 he gave his country home at Kapunda, the scene of his
annual horse-sales, to the South Australian government
for a high school.
On 30 June 1885 at Kapunda, Kidman married Isabel Brown
Wright, a schoolteacher; they had three daughters and a
son. Sir Sidney died 2 September 1935 in Adelaide and he
was buried in Mitcham general cemetery.
S Kidman & Co
Ltd is still one of Australia's largest
beef producers with a herd of 200,000 cattle. The company
pastoral leases covering 120,000 square kilometres in three
states and the Northern Territory. Kidman cattle stations
produce grass-fed beef for export to Japan, the USA and
South East Asia. One station the company owns is Anna
Australia, the world's largest cattle
station covering some 30,000 square kilometres or roughly
the same size as Belgium.