Sidney Kidman was born in Adelaide in 1857, leaving his home at age 13 with only 5 shillings and a one-eyed horse that he had bought with his savings. He joined a drover, and learned quickly, later working as a roustabout and bullock-driver, drover, stockman and livestock trader. He made money trading whatever was needed, and supplying services (transport, goods, a butcher shop) to new mining towns springing up in outback New South Wales and South Australia. Eventually he and his brothers ended up working on the same station, then bought their own.

That was the beginning of a cattle dynasty which today spans 101,000 square kilometres in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The company produces grass-fed beef for export to Japan, the USA and Southeast Asia. It owns 160,000 cattle on leasehold land run as 17 properties.

kidmanAnd it’s been sold.

AUSTRALIA’S largest landholder S Kidman & Co has agreed to a $370.7 million deal that will see the company partly sold to a Chinese buyer. Under the plan, it will sell 80 per cent of the cattle company to China’s Dakang Australia Holdings and the rest to locally listed Australian Rural Capital.

The deal will be subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

Here’s to Kidman and his legacy.