Interview with Colin Fife Angas – By Anastasia Tsimourtos
The aim of my Directed Studies project is to develop an interpretative plan for Collingrove Homestead, located 7km SE of Angaston, South Australia. As part of this project I have been visiting other historic houses around Adelaide, to assess how they present and display information about the property and its history. I recently visited Ayers House, located on North Terrace in the Adelaide CBD. What I found interesting about this tour was the use of sound bites to convey what life was like for the Queen of England, an upper middle class child, a maid and a miner in the 1800s. Although this particular example at Ayers House has not been well executed—the sound bites are just too long and the tour guides find that they impede the tour they give—it got me thinking about applying a sound bite to Collingrove Homestead.
My interpretative plan proposes that interpretative signage be used to convey information about the Angas family and the history of the property. During my visit to Collingrove, I identified that the major theme of the house is family. With this in mind, I want to convey what growing up at Collingrove Homestead was like, from the perspective of a family member. To develop this idea further, I visited the State Library of South Australia to listen to a recording of an interview with Colin Fife Angas, who grew up at Collingrove Homestead. Listening to this interview, I started to develop my own questions about the house, and about the experience of living at Collingrove, which were not addressed. I feel like this interview was misguided and should have focussed more on why Colin Fife Angas loved Collingrove and the memories that really exemplify why it was such a happy family home. Having said that, this oral history record is a valuable reference and has provided a unique insight into the Angas family and their life at Collingrove, which I hope to include in the interpretative plan I am developing.
Colin Fife Angas (centre), pictured with his brother Robert and his sister Suzanne. Courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.
For my Directed Studies project I am developing an interpretative plan for Collingrove Homestead. Recently I conducted an interview via email with Marcia Frost, current tenant and bed and breakfast business co-owner at Collingrove Homestead. Through this interview, I wanted to understand the current self-guided and guided tour program of the Collingrove Homestead Museum, gauging how frequently the museum is visited, the most popular aspects of the house for visitors, whether visitors know who lived at Collingrove Homestead and whether the museum has generated any business for the bed and breakfast.
The key issues that were identified through this interview were:
- That Marcia and the National Trust of South Australia would like a more self-managed approach to the tours. At the moment there are large wooden information paddles in each room of the museum, designed to inform people about the history of the house and the contents of each room, which are effective but Marcia feels could be updated.
- Only about 1-2% of visitors to Collingrove Homestead know who John Howard Angas was or are aware of the Angas family. I think this is an important aspect of the house that needs to be emphasised in order for people to understand why Collingrove Homestead is an important aspect of South Australia’s cultural heritage.
- The number of visitors to the property can vary considerably. The National Trust of South Australia have expressed that they would like to attract more visitors, especially younger visitors, to Collingrove Homestead.
- Marcia stated that she has received positive feedback about the tour from visitors; however, visitors would like to take photos of artefacts and rooms but are unable to due to The National Trust’s no photography policy.
These are issues I hope to address in the interpretative plan, in order to raise more public awareness for Collingrove Homestead and encourage more people to visit the property.
Entrance to Collingrove Homestead. Courtesy of The National Trust of South Australia.
A glimpse inside the Angas family home: Collingrove Homestead
For my Directed Studies project I am working with the National Trust of South Australia to complete an interpretive study of Collingrove Homestead, located approximately 7km from Angaston. I recently traveled to Collingrove Homestead with Sue Scheiffers, the Vice President of the National Trust of South Australia Council. My aim for this trip was to familiarise myself with the property and the artefacts, and to identify the themes displayed in the collection.
Collingrove Homestead was built by pastoralist John Howard Angas, who arrived in South Australia in 1843. Beginning in 1856, what started as a modest cottage flourished into an elaborate homestead over a 60-70 year period. The property is gorgeous, covering an area of approximately 5.26 hectares (Collinson 1985). The homestead is a blend of traditional Victorian architecture and modern Edwardian architecture and styling. The homestead and its collection are a reflection of five generations of Angas family members that resided at Collingrove.
Potential themes identified from the collection include:
Family: Family photos are placed throughout the house, depicting five generations of the Angas family. There are also two extremely detailed family tree charts, the family crest and the family bible on display. There’s an overwhelming sense of family pride and respect throughout the homestead.
Pastoralism: Raising livestock was an important aspect of the Angas dynasty. Photos and paintings of the livestock bred and sold are found throughout the house, as well as many documents detailing the breeds, wool etc.
Travel: Exotic artefacts are found in the main hallway and include: stuffed tiger and deer heads, antelope skulls, a leopard pelt, African weapons and bullet shells just to name a few. These exotic keepsakes illustrate a sense of adventure and a passion for travel.
The property really was a delight to visit. I instantly fell in love with the collection. Next time you’re in the Barossa Valley be sure to visit Collingrove Homestead, you will be amazed!
John Howard Angas
Keeping up with the Angas’: Developing an interpretive plan for Collingrove Homestead – By Anastasia Tsimourtos
For my Directed Studies project I will be working with the National Trust of South Australia to complete an interpretive study of Collingrove Homestead. Collingrove Homestead is located in Angaston, in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, and was home to the Angas family – a prominent family in South Australia’s history. In 1976, the house was bequeathed to the National Trust of South Australia. Today, Collingrove Homestead functions as a bed and breakfast luxury accommodation facility.
The aim of this study is to analyse the rooms and artefact collections of Collingrove Homestead, to produce an interpretive plan that the National Trust of South Australia can use to develop self-guided tour programs. Through this analysis, I hope to identify potential themes, sub themes and other related messages from the features and artefacts, to develop a story of the Angas family during their time at Collingrove.
To develop an effective interpretive plan, this study will assess other well-known South Australian historic houses, to benchmark examples of good and bad interpretive practices.
I am really enjoying this project. Researching the house and its contents has been very interesting and I hope that this interpretive plan will help create a story that engages the South Australian community and communicates the life and times of the Angas family in a unique way.
Collingrove Homestead. Courtesy of the National Trust of South Australia.