George and the Germans

It’s time for another fantastic post about my Directed Study on George Fife Angas. Today we are going to delve into one of the interesting events from his life that not only shaped how people viewed him but also how he shaped South Australia. As you might have gathered from the title, Angas had a little bit to do with the German heritage that we see throughout the state. Some of you reading this may have been to Hahndorf, a little town south east of Adelaide and one of Australia’s oldest surviving German settlements.


The German Arms Hotel, Hahndorf (source:

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because without George Fife Angas none of our German heritage would be present in the state. He paid the way out of his own pocket for the Germans to travel and settle within the state, approximately 20,000 pounds, which wasn’t just chump change back in 1838. I guess now is the time to lay out the history of how this act came about and how prolonged the process was.

It all started when Angas was approached by a German religious group who were persecuted in their country. Because Angas and his family had been in a similar situation in the past he agreed to help them move to South Australia and settle on land that he owned himself. After failing to get the South Australian Company to pay for their way over, he finally agreed to pay out of his own pocket. Of course, this agreement had the German population paying him back after they had settled, which they did with interest, but nevertheless to pay that amount of money for a group you don’t know is admirable. However, this was not the end of the issue because the German government were reluctant to give the people their travel papers so that they could leave the country. After all of this was finally settled George Fife Angas was still willing to pay for their journey to South Australia, and, even though it sent him almost broke, they finally got to their new home.

I found this to be interesting and it really hit at the core of the way that a lot of history books have portrayed him: A man who would go out of his way to help people in need no matter the cost. 

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