State Library of South Australia

Director's cut

Date: 28 September 2015

The most significant collection to be offered to the State Library in the last decade has now been secured, through purchase from the Angas family. The substantial collection will further enhance the existing Angas collection that was first acquired in 1937.

Copy of the South Australian Deed of Settlement from the Angas Collection
Copy of the South Australian Deed of Settlement from the Angas Collection

The Angas family, founding settlers of our State, brought with them from their British homeland, courage, tenacity, and a determined spirit to succeed in their new home. Today we would call them entrepreneurs, investors, developers, and pastoralists. However it is through the rich collection of personal diaries in this new acquisition, that we truly discover and piece together who they really were and how life in a new country brought them fortune and misfortune.

The latest additions to the Angas collection include papers that have either previously been unknown or thought to have been destroyed. This includes a six month diary of George Fife Angas that was written in England when all of his business ventures collapsed in 1842-3. It also includes the papers and correspondence with the Rev. Richard Keynes and Joseph Kynes (later founder of Keyneton) of George Fife Angas's first major business venture on his land in the Barossa Ranges. This collection revealed a small notebook of 168 pages, A Copy of the South Australian Deed of Settlement, dated 27 June 1836. The cover, labelled in his own hand, is George Fife Angas's personal copy, with an index and abbreviated version of the indenture. This seemingly insignificant little book is actually an account which tells much about Angas's vision, with pencilled underlining and marginalia.

Collections such as this are critical to recording the State's history. It is the State Library's responsibility to ensure we acquire such records and documents, preserve, store, and make them accessible to everyone.

Papers from the recently acquired Angus collection

Papers from the recently acquired Angas collection

To enable the State Library to do this, the State Library Foundation and Friends of the State Library are generously supporting the purchase. This support requires ongoing donations from our valued Library supporters, donors and benefactors. I urge you to consider donating to this important purchase. You can do this now, using the Library's website to make a donation.

One of the items currently held in the Angas collection is featured in the story about Thistle Island, which is this edition's 'Transcribing Tales'. Transcribing is an important task undertaken by our dedicated volunteers. The story of Thistle Island, 'Calling the Mainland', is a small insight into life on this remote small island, captured through radio messages recorded in a handwritten notepad. Today email communication demands we not only read messages, but also respond instantly, when not so long ago radio was the only link between people on remote communities such as Thistle Island.

Spring is a reminder that within our botanical collections, garden lovers will find wonderful books on gardening in earlier times, with glorious images and stories that are as inspiring as they are practical and informative. Members of the Barossa and Beyond Branch of Heritage Roses in Australia discovered this when they visited recently and were shown historical books on the origins of gardening in South Australia. Their visit included time in Sir Josiah Symon's Library on the upper level of the Mortlock Chamber, where members enjoyed the opportunity to view volumes on the subject.

Following the theme on 'names' and 'What's in a name?' in our Winter edition, we delve a little further into the rise and fall in popularity of given names and their multiple abbreviated forms. 'What IS the Name?' is a guide or hints and tips for the researcher and our ever growing genealogy enthusiasts. Described are some examples of how names have evolved, changed or been lost from today's most popular (baby) name lists. The derivatives, the evolution and the lineage of traditional names are sure to provoke interest, and reveal that not all modern names are new.

Story by: Alan Smith

Back to extra - Spring 2015 - the stories

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