George Fife Angas

George Fife Angas was born 1 May 1789 Newcastle on Tyne NBL and at the age of 15 became an apprentice coach builder for his father, Caleb Angas. In 1824 as a married man, he moved to London to establish a shipping firm which soon incorporated banking. George became well-known for his benevolence. In 1832 he joined the committee of the South Australian Company which was promoting the establishment of a colony based on civil and religious freedom. When the 1834 Act set up the establishment of the new colony with funding to come from the sale of land, Angas purchased over 13,000 acres at 12 shillings an acre when slow sales threatened the project. The land was initially offered at 20 shillings. When he became Chairman of the Company in 1836, Angas transferred his purchase back to the company.
Angas sent three vessels, Duke of York, Lady Mary Pelham and Rapid to the new colony and they departed by the end of March 1836.angas
George Fife Angas undertook many projects to promote the colony. He established the South Australian Banking Company in 1841. His own religious persuasion as a dissenter encouraged Angas to support like-minded emigrants. He persuaded German Lutherans seeking freedom of worship led by Pastor Kavel to travel to South Australia. The first group arrived on the Prince George and the supply ship Bengalee in Nov 1838.  They were followed by two groups on the Zebra (Dec 1838) and the Catharina (Jan 1839).
However, despite his benevolence, we need to remember that Angas was a very shrewd businessman and every project he promoted ensured he became even more wealthy. The German Lutherans is a case in point in that not only were they a labouring source for the landed gentry but they also purchased their land from Angas making him a handsome profit through inflating the prices tenfold and providing mortgages at 10%.
Angas finally settled in South Australia in 1851 and built his home at Lindsay Park near present day Angaston on the edge of the Barossa Valley. He represented the district in the Legislative Council for fifteen years where his conservatism was at odds with the progressiveness of his fellow legislators and he actively opposed many initiatives that eventually turned out to be very positive for the colony. These included opposition to the annexation of the Northern Territory, the emigration of pauper Irish girls, and the establishment of railways.
George Fife Angas died 15 May 1879 and was interred in the family vault at Lindsay Park. He is reputed to have given away an average of £10,000 a year in his latter years to religious and benevolent institutions.

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