Image 'Opening of the Free Chapel at Angaston, German Pass', 1844

TLF ID R3564

This is a hand-coloured lithograph print of a drawing by George French Angas (1822-86). It shows a group of men and women, dressed in their Sunday best, picnicking on a slope in front of a small stone chapel in the hills of the Barossa Valley, South Australia, in 1844. The chapel is the only structure in an open woodland landscape scattered with large eucalypts.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset shows an important event in the history of the Barossa Valley - George Fife Angas (1789-1879), the father of the artist, invested in South Australia and encouraged German and British migrants to settle at what was known as German Pass, where he paid for the Free Chapel, an ecumenical Protestant church; its foundation stone was laid by his daughter, Mrs Evans, in 1843.
  • It indicates the important role of the South Australian pioneer family headed by George Fife Angas - from his home in Britain, Angas bought land in the Barossa Valley in 1839, and encouraged settlers to lease or buy it from him; in 1843, he sent out his son, John Howard Angas, to manage his investments; in 1851, he came himself, laid out a town in German Pass, and registered it as Angaston in 1857.
  • It identifies German Pass - in this region, German Lutheran settlers cultivated vineyards and laid the foundation for the famous Barossa Valley wine industry.
  • It depicts a typical example of an early Australian country church - consisting of a single meeting room, and built of stone with a slate roof, such churches often brought together several Protestant denominations (in this case Methodists, Baptists and Lutherans) in sparsely populated areas.
  • It provides an example of the work of George French Angas, eldest son of George Fife Angas - George French Angas was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in Britain, and studied drawing and lithography; he first visited Australia in 1844-46, after which he published the book 'Savage life and scenes in Australia and New Zealand', illustrated by his lithographs; this is Plate VI of a series that he drew in the Barossa Valley.
  • It provides an example of lithography, a technique developed in the 18th century - the artist draws on a smooth stone or metal surface with a wide range of litho crayons, paints with liquids, scratches into the drawn areas, and manipulates the image in many ways; then the image is printed by chemically treating the stone, so that when ink is rolled over the stone, the drawn areas attract it while the unmarked areas repel it; then printmaking paper is set in place, and a scraperbar pulled across the paper to transfer the ink to the paper.
  • It illustrates the formality of the event - the women are dressed in bonnets, voluminous skirts and shawls, and the men are in top hats and dark frock coats over light trousers; the long shadows indicate that this is a late afternoon picnic tea.
  • It shows the Barossa Valley landscape in the early days of European settlement, with a natural savanna woodland of eucalyptus trees scattered among grasses.

Other details

  • Content provider
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: National Library of Australia
  • Remarks: Reproduced courtesy of National Library of Australia
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 1844
  • Name: George French Angas
  • Remarks: artist
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 1849
  • Organisation: M and N Hanhart
  • Remarks: printer
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 02 Sep 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
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  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Library of Australia, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements