It is time for another update on my Directed Study about South Australia’s founding father. I was sitting here, in front of my computer, writing a section for my Directed Study about how George Fife Angas was perceived by his peers and by the public. While I was researching this I struck upon something that I found particularly interesting and as I need to write these blog posts I thought I would share it with you as well.
According to some documents I have been reading, Angas was not particularly liked by his Barossa constituents during his 16 years as mayor. He was respected for his abilities as a businessman and for his common sense when dealing with legislation and colony growth. But he was also seen as a man who thought he was above everyone else and only he knew the right way. His overly pious attitude and his reserved demeanour when dealing with people he did not know probably didn’t win him any friends in the public either. Along with this he also voraciously collected on even the smallest of debts, which might have been a bad habit he picked up after going broke just before he came to Adelaide. His unlikability is not the thing I found interesting, however, it was that as soon as he died this view of him disappeared almost immediately. All of the newspapers and the public seemed to shift from this mentality to one that is now known for him being the founding father and one of South Australia’s most generous men. It was not until quite some time later that an unbiased look at him and his history was completed and this still didn’t shift the way the majority of the public saw him.
So this got me thinking, of all the great men and women in history both here in Australia and around the world, how many of them have been coloured by the information and stories that were written after their deaths? There has probably been research done on this subject but to see this unfold within my Directed Study is interesting, for me at least.