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.
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
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
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
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.