Deniliquin & District Historical Society’s James Tyson Papers have been recognised as items of significance.
They have been officially added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Australian Memory of the World Program.
The collection of historic documents revealing insight into the life of James Tyson, a famous Deniliquin pastoralist and Australia’s first recorded self-made millionaire, were reviewed by UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Committee chair Dr Roslyn Russell in January 2016.
On February 9, they were officially added to the register at a ceremony at Canberra Museum and Gallery.
Tyson was a pastoralist who held large swathes of land around Deniliquin, including iconic property ‘Mundiwa’.
He was also a money lender who got borrowers to use farmland as collateral and, according to Historical Society member Suzie Keys, had a ‘‘sixth sense’’ when predicting drought.
This allowed Tyson to lend in good times before a drought hit, seize properties when debtors went bust because of drought, and build his pastoral empire further.
Tyson later became a member of Queensland’s (now abolished) upper house, and Banjo Patterson wrote a poem entitled ‘T.Y.S.O.N’. about the remarkable man.
According to the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame, which inducted Tyson as a member in 2010, Tyson’s wealth at his death in 1898 was estimated at equivalent to $13 billion today.
The program is an international initiative that aims to safeguard the documentary heritage of humanity, and alongside Tyson’s papers, others listed are Captain Cook’s Endeavour Journal, Eddie Mabo’s papers and Keith Murdoch’s letters from the trenches in Gallipoli.
Tyson’s papers are shared between the National Library of Australia, the State Library of Queensland, the Queensland State Archives and the Deniliquin & District Historical Society.