One of the town’s most memorable people, events and stories is being celebrated this year with a Blue Plaque awarded to Yass local, Arthur Bryant Triggs.

Born on January 30, 1868, in Chelsea, London and arriving in Sydney in 1887, Triggs was a businessman based in Yass. He bought and leased stations from Bourke to Kiandra – usually running between 250,000 to 500,000 sheep, and some cattle.

Cheryl Mongan, Yass & District Historical Society Vice President and Exhibition Curator, described Triggs as a big wheel and an incredibly generous man.

The NSW Blue Plaques program is similar to the program in the United Kingdom, with 17 people, moments or stories successfully nominated by local communities across the state.

Other successful nominations include aviator Nancy Bird Walton, artist Brett Whiteley, performers, authors and history makers.

Triggs is one of the figureheads of the Society’s current Movers and Shakers Exhibition at the Yass & District Museum.

“The quote that I actually opened his profile with is ‘a preeminent figure in the pastoral industry of the state, a man of culture, learning and high ideals, remembered for his public spirit, humanity, and benevolence’. That’s the epitaph on his grave.”

Cheryl initially became intrigued by Triggs’ life after she bought her house in 1988 and found his name on the title.

“At one stage he had something like 135 properties either leased or bought.”

Triggs previously lived at Old Linton on Glebe Street in Yass where he amassed an incredible collection of art.

The house was used by a number of organisations and fundraising activities but when Triggs’ wife died, soon after WWII ended, it was given to the War Veterans Homes for a nominal amount.

For 40 odd years it was a war veterans’ home until New Linton was built, which has now become RSL LifeCare Thomas Eccles Gardens.

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman said it was an honour to have one of the first publicly nominated recipients of the Blue Plaque program in the region.

“I’m thrilled to announce that Arthur Bryant Triggs from Yass is being recognised for his incredible contribution to the history of NSW,” Mrs Tuckerman said.

“Throughout history, many of our region’s locals have made remarkable contributions to the wider community, and I am thrilled to see Arthur Bryant Triggs recognised with this Blue Plaque.”

Now buried in the Presbyterian section of Yass cemetery, Cheryl said Triggs was involved in many projects in town including the Federation League, trying to have the railway diverted through Yass, and the construction of the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall.

“He backed all sorts of organizations and gave money for things,” Cheryl said. “He thumbed up 1000 pounds for the Soldiers’ Memorial Hall in one hit.”

“The Memorial Hall cost 10,000 pounds, he put in 1000 pounds and the rest was raised by the community.”

While Sidney Kidman was regarded as the Cattle King, Triggs was labelled the Sheep King.

Despite his wealth, Triggs had some financial hardships throughout his life, falling into debt after WWI due to a slump in wool prices but Triggs traded his way out of his difficulties and re-established his business.

Minister for Heritage James Griffin said the Blue Plaques program provides an opportunity to celebrate the noteworthy people and stories that helped to shape NSW.

“It’s incredibly exciting to see so many diverse stories from around the state come to light through the Blue Plaques program,” Mr Griffin said.

“This initiative is all about recognising the eclectic characters, personalities and important public figures that have made or become part of the history and fabric of our state.

“These 17 people, moments or stories that I’m announcing today were all nominated by their local communities.”

The initiative is part of a $5 million heritage program, funded by the NSW Government. The NSW public will be invited to nominate additional noteworthy people, stories and events this year.

The Blue Plaques will be added to sites during the second half of 2022.

By Brianna O’Rourke

Photos supplied by Yass and District Historical Society