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Arthur Bryant Triggs

Pastoralist and collector (1868–1936)

About Arthur Bryant Triggs

Arthur Bryant Triggs was a successful Australian pastoralist who lived at Old Linton (then known simply as ‘Linton’) in the town of Yass. He bought and leased many remote station properties, having up to 500,000 sheep under his watch at a time. A generous benefactor to Yass Hospital and other local community organisations, it was said that “when Mr Triggs was prosperous, Yass was prosperous”. He was also a man of learned tastes, a student of literature and passionate collector during a rich and remarkable life.

Location

  • Street address:Plaque to be installed soon

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible

Category

  • Pastoralism
  • Commerce

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Detailed information

Sidney Kidman, known as Australia’s ‘cattle king’, with Arthur Triggs, c.1914. Photograph from the National Portrait Gallery.
Sydney Kidman (left) and Arthur Triggs (right) c. 1914. Photograph: Falk Studios. National Portrait Gallery, Australia. Purchased with funds provided by The Ian Potter Foundation 2007

Arthur Triggs arrived in Sydney from London in 1887. He joined the Bank of New South Wales, moving to Yass the following year after being appointed accountant at the local bank branch.

Arthur married Maria Sophia Ritchie in 1892. The couple lived at her mother’s property, Linton, where their only child Jessie was born.

In 1895, Arthur began to focus on the land. He purchased 8,000 wethers (castrated male sheep) with station owner Abraham Wade. After acquiring Wade's interest, he sold the sheep at a profit and resigned from the bank.

Following Maria’s death in 1897, Arthur remarried and had four children with Mary McBean, the daughter of a nearby pastoralist. He gained sole ownership of Linton after 1908.

The vast scale of Arthur’s farming operations helped maintain sheep values in parts of the state. Perceiving that investing in sheep was profitable as long as he had enough land, Arthur secured a string of stations from Bourke to Kiandra in western New South Wales. These included Fort Bourke, Wirchilleba, Tara, Merri Merrigal, Wollogorang, Douro, Willie Ploma, Wee Jasper and Talbingo.

He always wanted to ensure his travelling stock was never far from his next property.

Using an elaborate system of bookkeeping, Arthur conducted business from Cooma Street, Yass. He attributed his success to loyal staff whom he paid well and encouraged in their own ventures. Often purchasing and selling stock without inspection, his commercial instincts were trusted, and so was his word.

Drought, financial troubles and the outbreak of war almost forced Arthur into bankruptcy in 1915. He later moved his offices to Sydney and by 1921 - after wool prices bounced back - he had already paid off all his creditors.

A quiet, cultivated and courteous  man, Arthur donated heavily to Yass Hospital, of which he served as president. He was  a generous financial supporter of local charities and sporting organisations.

He was also a devotee of Greek, the Bible and Shakespeare, and cherished fine items. These included medieval manuscripts, early books, autographs and pictures. Two years after his death in 1936, Arthur’s widow donated his collection of 2,500 rare coins to the Nicholson Museum of Antiquities at the University of Sydney.

In 1939, an impressive gateway was erected in Arthur’s memory at the entrance to Victoria Park, Yass.

In 1945 Linton was acquired by the Australian Government to serve as a war veterans' home, enabling Arthur’s legacy to live on in the community of Yass.