professional historians australia (south australia)
Home > On this day > January > 16 January 1851 George Fife Angas and John Howard Angas

16 January 1851 George Fife Angas and John Howard Angas


16 January 1851   George Fife Angas and John Howard Angas

George Fife Angas is often called the 'Father of South Australia' although he did not come to the colony from England until 16 January 1851, over 14 years after settlement. Early in the 1830s he became interested in the ideas of Edward Gibbon Wakefield who advocated 'systematic colonisation', that is, he believed the best way to establish a new colony was to sell the land to free men and use the money to fund further immigration, thus bringing in labour and capital.

Angas became involved in several groups set up to promote these ideas in relation to South Australia. After the South Australian Act was passed in 1834, Angas helped raise the capital to form the South Australian Company. Angas himself bought 750 £50 shares and by 1840 the Company had a paid capital of £340,000 and was paying a dividend of 6%. This was the Company which bought and sold land at £1 per acre. Many investors in England bought land in South Australia through agents of the Company. While the Colony was under the control of the Colonial Office and its Commissioners, the Company played a large part in getting the colony going in a businesslike way.

When Angas came to South Australia he was almost immediately elected to the Legislative Council. He held his seat until he retired from public life in 1866. He died on the 15 May 1879 at the age of ninety.

His son, John Howard, was also a highly respected man in South Australia. He came to the colony as a young man to look after his father's interests in the Barossa Valley. In the early 1850s, in his own right and in partnership with A.B. Murray, he began a sheep run at Reedy Creek where they produced prize winning rams. Later he purchased runs at Mount Remarkable, Belalie and other places, while he pursued his interest in breeding sheep and Hereford cattle. He too was and MLC and MHA for over eleven years. He was instrumental in starting the Bushmen's Club in Adelaide and the Home for Inebriates at Belair and was involved in other philanthropic works. He was regarded as a kind and generous employer, sharing his good profits with his workers by paying them well. He died at his home 'Collingrove', now owned by the National Trust, on 17 May 1904.

100 Famous Australian Lives, Paul Hamlyn, Sydney, 1969, pp. 55-63.
Rodney Cockburn, Pastoral Pioneers of South Australia, Volume II, Adelaide, 1927.

Tags: Angas George Fife, Angas John Howard