Sir Sidney KidmanPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The mural and bust commemorates Sir Sidney Kidman (1857 -1935) , Australia's largest landholder, who was known as ‘The Cattle King'. 

Sidney Kidman worked his way up the pastoral industry via a series of tough jobs on outback stations, such as drover, bullock driver, and even an odd-job boy in a grog shanty. Following his mother's death in 1873, he received an annual stipend from his grandfather's will, before obtaining his full inheritance of £400 in 1878. Through astute investments, Kidman parleyed his inheritance into a healthy fortune. In 1887, he bought his first property, 'Thule' Station, near Charleville in Western Queensland, further cattle stations in the Northern Territory, South Australia, New South Wales, and Western Australia were to follow. Until by 1903, he owned 98,420 km2 across Australia. By the end of World War One, he had become a national institution, having given fighter aeroplanes and other munificent gifts to the armed forces. In 1920 he gave to the Salvation Army £1000 and a half share in one of his cattle-stations. In 1921 he gave his country home at Kapunda, the scene of his annual horse-sales, to the South Australian government for a district high school.

Sidney Kidman was knighted for his services to pastoralism in 1921. When he died, at the age of 78, in 1935, Sir Sidney Kidman owned 3.5% of Australia's land, 68 cattle stations covering more than 250,000 km² running more than 600,000 cattle. In 2016, S Kidman & Co., the company he created in 1899, was still listed as one of the largest landholders in Australia.


Address:Main Street, Kidman Square, next to Post Office, Kapunda, 5373
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.341053
Long: 138.915314
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Art
Monument Theme:People
Artist:Ben Van Zetten (sculptor)


Front Inscription

Plaque :

A Kapunda & Light 
Tourism Inc, Project 
    In Recognition Of

09 / 05 / 1857 - 01 / 09 / 1935

Often referred to as 
`The Cattle King`

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
And Resident Of Kapunda

Plaque on bust :

1857 - 1935
"Australia`s Cattle King"
Commissioned By 
Kapunda Tourism Committee
August 1st 1992
Sculptor - Ben Van Zetten

Plaque :

Kidman Square `Sir Sidney Kidman - A Man Of Vision`
 1857 - 1935

This mural describes the story of Sidney Kidman beginning with his life as the young stockman on horseback through to his life as the older gentleman and businessman.  It depicts the elements and the sense of space of Australia`s interior with an emphasis on the importance of water and his vision of a `back corridor` to overcome the droughts of Australia`s inland.

He became one of the best known pioneers of outback gaining the title of the `Cattle King`.  He went on to become the greatest pastoral landholder in modern history - eventually owing over 100 stations (107,000 square miles) running 200,000 cattle and 250,000 sheep.  But he was more than just a cattle man.  He had many other successful business ventures and made major contributions to Australia`s war effort.

He married Isabel Wright of Kapunda in 1885 and thereafter made Kapunda his home.  Sidney Kidman, the man of vision was knighted in 1921.  But wealth, power and honours did not change him.  Though controversial at times, he always remained the practical, homespun bushman loyaly respected by his station managers, workers and fellow businessmen.

Kapunda will remember him particularly for the gift of his home `Eringa` for the purpose of a High School, his instigation of the Kapunda horse sales (the largest in the southern hemisphere) and his generosity during difficult times.




Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au