The Kidman Way
Sir Sidney Kidman (1857 – 1935) was born near Adelaide in 1857.
As a boy he worked on stations in South Australia and Western New South Wales. In 1870 when copper was discovered at Cobar he set up a butcher shop, selling meat to the miners. From that he then bought his first station, ‘Owen Downs’ in the Northern Territory in 1886.
He went on to become the largest land owner in the world.
The Federal Inland Development Organisation (FIDO) was formed in Bourke in 1960, comprising the councils of Bourke, Cobar and Carrathool. One of FIDO’s objectives was to have the road between Hillston and Bourke via Cobar sealed, which, when completed, would provide a fully sealed road between Melbourne and Darwin. The members of FIDO started lobbying State and Federal governments for the funds to build the road. The estimated cost of the project was approximately $35 million.
In the 1980s the project was gaining momentum with State and Federal governments and the local communities. A couple of station owners whose properties were on the road approached the Mayor of Cobar and suggested that the road should be called the ‘Kidman Way’. The FIDO Committee accepted the proposal and then the councils of Griffith, Murrumbidgee and Jerilderie came on board, and the Kidman Way Road was born!
The Kidman Way was officially opened by the Hon. John Anderson MP, on the 22nd of May 1999. The Kidman Way Road is not named for the person Sir Sidney Kidman but for his inspiring vision to open-up inland Australia.