"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sidney Kidman

9 May 1857 – 2 September 1935 aged 78.

The post below about mustering and trucking cattle from Helen Springs Station (which is one of the S Kidman Co properties) prompted me to have a closer look at one of Australia's Legends Sir Sidney Kidman.

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Sidney Kidman left home aged 13 to work as a sheep drover. Being a man of vision, he formed a small business with his brother in droving and trading cattle and horses.

S. Kidman & Co Ltd was founded in 1899. Sir Sidney went on to become the greatest pastoral landholder in modern history, earning the nickname of "The Cattle King".

The present company is a family business owned by descendants of Sir Sidney Kidman.

With a land holding of 123,599 square Kms the Kidman empire is large by any standard, in terms of a series of cattle properties specifically chosen by the company founder Sidney Kidman to "drought-proof" his herds of cattle, it was visionary in concept and brilliant in its execution.
It spreads from the Kimberley in West Australia, the Northern Territory (Crocodile Dundee territory) Queensland and South Australia

The 7 black sections on this map of Australia show the location and size of the SK properties, they are spread over a vast area that Sidney Kidman came to know well as he searched out and acquired the links to his "drought-proof" dream.
All of this was done originally from the back of a horse, there were no roads or cars in that era, he later progressed to a horse and "jinker" (a compact wagonette) Later again he tried using a motor car but found it totally unsatisfactory as he kept running of the road??? as he gazed about and dreamed his dream.
The foundling company was nearly wiped out by a severe drought 1900/1904 but survived and rebuilt, there have been other droughts that have left scars on them but through it all the Kidman Company has fared pretty well thanks to the fore-sight of its founder.

Sidney was revered by his employee's one of whom wrote this poem to help celebrate his 75th birthday.

Kidman’s Boys.

By Les Daley

The old man sat in the grandstand
And he gazed at the oval below-
At the boys in blue, at the boys he knew,
Round his heart was a sort of glow.
And his thoughts travelled far from the city,
With its hustle and bustle and noise:
He was riding on the cattle track,
Riding with Kidman's boys.

Once again with the greenhide and stockwhip
He was wheeling the mob on the plain:
How they baulk and dash as the writhing lash
Sings its staccato refrain.
And his eyes they kindle and sparkle,
His head takes a statelier poise;
The horses' manes toss as they bow to the boss,
Aren't they ridden by Kidman's boys?

For these are the men from the stations,
Who ride'neath the Northern Star's light,
Where the saltbush blows and the mulga grows
And men must be men in the fight.
Where they're not yarded up by tramlines,
And no boundary of brick wall annoys,
A thousand mile ride, they take it in their stride,
'Tis the day's work for Kidman's boys.

There's Hooper of Diamantina,
And Archie McLean of the Peake:
Pierce Edwards there, with silvering hair,
And Mick, who prefers not to speak.
John Brooke is down from Mundowdna,
And Cusack, whom Morney employs,
Kempe of Macumba, and Ferber of Momba,
And Johnnie, they're all Kidman boys.

Durham Downs sends us McCullagh,
And Carr's from Nundora, the tinker,
Gourlay and West are there with the rest
And Spencer from far Innamincka-
Riding through good times and bad ones,
Riding through sorrows and joys,
Like Crombie of Glengyle, going broke with a smile,
'This the spirit of Kidman's boys.

And we who sit snug in the city
And rail at the drabness of life,
Rave of depression and have an obsession
That we were just born into strife.
Let's take a cue from these riders,
And stop all this gloom that annoys,
Get a stockwhip and rope, put a lasso on hope
And smile, just like Kidman's boys.

Let's ride on the trail of good fortune
And cut out bad luck from the mob,
Where there's a muster, bring dull care a buster
And stick on like glue to the job.
And tho' drought and ill luck may assail us,
Stick your chin out and don't drop that poise,
And tho' tough be the battle,
You'll muster fat cattle,
And win out -- like Kidman's boys.

BTW I spent quite a bit of time finding out that Nicole Kidman is not related to Sir Sidney Kidman, just thought you might like to know!!

For anyone who would like to know a bit more of this fascinating story

Please follow this link


Lee said...

I have the book "The Cattle King" by Ion L. Idress - and have read it...a wonderful story about an incredible individual and so inspiring. I will read it again.

Jack K. said...

Thanks for sharing and for all of your devoted research.

LZ Blogger said...

Peter ~ It reminds me a little bit of the movie "Australia" But it could just be me?
~ jb///

Walker said...

It takes people with vision to shape the future an he was a pioneer through and through

Joy Des Jardins said...

Peter, thanks for sharing this with us....really interesting about Mr. Kidman. Quite an amazing man...

Cliff said...

I'm glad he gotter done. Those types seem to cast a spell on their employees that make them loyal. The only way to accomplish that sort of success for sure.
As a matter of fact I was wondering about Nicole. Thanks for doing that.

Big Dave T said...

Of course, not knowing much about Australian history, my first thought was whether or not this guy was related to Nicole Kidman. Thanks for pointing out that she wasn't.

Some of your territories there seem to require hardy souls to live there. Both man and animal.

Janell said...

Wonderful post! My favorite verse: "And we who sit snug in the city
And rail at the drabness of life,
Rave of depression and have an obsession
That we were just born into strife.
Let's take a cue from these riders,
And stop all this gloom that annoys,
Get a stockwhip and rope, put a lasso on hope
And smile, just like Kidman's boys."

I like your posts on Australia. I found the one below on the road trains and cattle hauling especially interesting.
I want to come and visit - preferably on horseback. I have my own saddle. Can I stay with you? In lieu of coming in person, I will enjoy visiting Holties House in the Blogosphere.

Rachel said...

I agree with Janell! I'd love to visit Australia!

Mr. Kidman was an amazing person and he started so young! Very impressive what he accomplished!