James Tyson became one of Australia’s great cattle barons and his renowned frugality - ‘Hungry’ Tyson - further cemented his place in Australian bush mythology. He was the son of Isabella Tyson, a convict who arrived in New South Wales with her free husband, William, in 1809. Born in 1819, James was the youngest of three sons who engaged in pastoral ventures. Only limited success was achieved until 1852, when James and William junior overlanded cattle to the Bendigo goldfield and established a successful butchery. Selling out at a handsome profit three years later, James and his other brother John purchased sheep properties around Deniliquin in southern New South Wales.
This was the start of a pastoral empire which, under the controlling hand of James, included eleven large properties in Queensland. Tyson also grew sugar-cane at Tully, and in 1893 he was appointed to Queensland’s Legislative Council. Unlike many of his colleagues, Tyson supported rural reform and two years earlier he had recognised the claims of striking shearers: sheep on his Meteor Downs property were the only ones shorn by unionists under union conditions in Queensland during the first Shearing Strike of 1891. Tyson died near Cambooya in 1898 and was initially buried in Toowoomba before his remains were transferred to the family vault at Campbelltown in New South Wales.
OM69-11, James Tyson Papers, State Library of Queensland