Sandy's flying exploits were legendary, but one thing he was always pedantic about was the maintenance and service of his Cessnas. First the 172VH KJA and later VH EHC were serviced across the country every 100 hours. In the early years Berty Bird (true) from Longreach was responsible for the servicing and later Mack McClymont and Longreach Air Maintenance.
The great enjoyment for Sandy was when the flood water was coming down the Thomson and Barcoo rivers and into his beloved Cooper Creek. He would spend hours flying the floodwaters, contacting property owners about how high the water would get and how long before waters would recede and if they needed assistance to move the stock, his plane was available. He always said "no two floods are the same".
Sandy received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for saving the life of a grazier near Yaraka when he landed his plane on the side of a sand hill when it was flooded.
The threat of irrigation development in the Channel Country really got Sandy and others wound up. He and Bob Morrish put years of their lives into saving the integrity of the Cooper Creek from a proposed large scale cotton irrigation plan. The proponents really copped the wrath of Sandy and others when he took them on at public meetings. They could not handle his dogmatic and sometimes humorous dialogue. He let them in know in no uncertain terms that "you'll never take one cup of water out of Cooper Creek" - and they didn't.
Sandy was not taking any chances and he decided to run for Queensland Parliament against Howard Hobbs, the likeable local member for Warrego at the time in the mid 1990s. That didn't work out, but he had a successful local government career on the Barcoo Shire where you can be assured, and was noted by Marie McCullough "that money always got spent in the Windorah area".
Racing Thoroughbreds was a natural sporting pastime for the Kidds and with their fair share of success. Windorah Lass was an early family favourite in the '60s. Sandy raced, in partnership with Dr Tom Murphy from Longreach, on the Western circuit, Sand Storm and Dust Storm and Kiwi Best. They were trained by Matey Richards from Jundah. Success was nearly always assured as prior to departure for the race meeting, Sandy's mum, Mary Kidd, always splashed the holy water on the truck to ensure all arrived and the track safely and returned home in one piece.
Sandy took great delight in introducing himself to the new young medical professionals that visited the town from time to time. He would make an appointment and head into town. As all doctors do, they'd take the blood pressure and place the stethoscope to monitor the heartbeat. The new medicos, when they were examining Sandy must have thought they'd wasted their six years at medical school as they never seemed to find a heartbeat. Sandy let them go for a bit and let them panic and refer to manuals, search past records and finally, he would tell them, much to their relief, that Sandy was born with his vital organs, including his heart, on the opposite side! True.
In 1999 Sandy along with Tom and Dude purchased Tabletop Station at Croydon. In 2011 Sandy went to live with Tom and Jane and their family. Dude remains at Ourdel Station at Windorah which is the original Mayfield Station.
In February this year Sandy moved to Jetta Gardens in Brisbane prior to his passing. Sandy filled the chapel at Nudgee College with lifelong friends spanning his 79 years.
Every rural town has a character. Someone who goes out of their way for the benefit of others and their communities. Sandy was one of those special characters and a champion bloke to go with it. Friend, stranger or dignitary, Sandy treated all equal. Great host, tour guide and story teller. He did like the camera and the microphone, especially with a Cooper Creek Cordial (BR).
They wrote a song about Sandy called "Sandy Kidd" by Jeff Brown. It didn't go to number one in the charts, but Sandy would be number one in many people's hearts.
- Brendan Wade: 0439 663 060, firstname.lastname@example.org