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Biographical entry Angas, George French (1822 - 1886)

25 April 1822
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
8 October 1886
London, England
Naturalist and Artist


George Angas, a painter by profession, served as Secretary of the Australian Museum, Sydney 1853-1860. T. Iredale called him the Father of Australian Conchology.


Studied under Waterhouse Hawkins, a natural history artist. Arrived Adelaide 1844, accompanied the Governor, Sir George Gray, on expeditions into the country, where he sketched the scenery, aborigines, flora and fauna, held exhibitions of his work in Adelaide and Sydney 1845, England 1845-1850, Bathurst Gold Diggings 1851, Secretary and Accountant, Australian Museum 1853-1860, supervising the work of classifying and arranging the first public collection of Australian specimens, especially shells, chairman of Angaston District Council, South Australia 1860-1863, explored colony for new shells, moths and butterflies 1861-1862, England 1863-1886. Presented the British Museum with 1500 shells, chiefly Australian, between 1870 and 1886. Wood engravings from his drawings illustrate the journals of John McDouall Stuart (q.v.), published in 1864, and the travels of John Forrest (q.v.), published in 1875.


Life event - Arrived in Australia (Adelaide)
1853 - 1860
Career position - Secretary and Accountant at the Australian Museum, New South Wales
1860 - 1863
Career position - Chairman of Angaston District Council, South Australia
1861 - 1862
Career position - Explored the Australian colony for new shells, moths and butterflies
1863 - 1886
Career position - Exploration in England for new shells, moths and butterflies

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Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Australian Botanists - Biographies, MS 064; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • George French Angas - Records, 1838 - 1877, MS 3934; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

South Australian Museum Archives

  • George French Angas - Records, 1850 - 1886, AA8; South Australian Museum Archives. Details

Published resources


  • Angas, George French, Savage life and scenes in Australian and New Zealand: being an artist's impressions of countries and people at the Antipodes, 2 vols (Adelaide: Libraries Board of South Australia, 1969). Details
  • Moon, Paul, The Voyagers: Remarkable European Explorations of New Zealand (Auckland (N.Z.): Penguin Books, 2014), 251 pp. Details
  • Tregenza, John, George French Angas, artist, traveller and naturalist 1822 - 1886 (Adelaide: Art Gallery Board of South Australia, 1980), 88 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Baigent, Elizabeth, 'George French Angas, 1822-1886' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). Details
  • Morgan, E. J. R., 'Angas, George French (1822-1886)' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Douglas Pike, ed., vol. 1 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1966), pp. 18-19. Details

Journal Articles

  • Iredale, R., 'Angas, George French: the Father of Australian Conchology', Australian Zoologist, XII (1959), 362-371. Details
  • Maiden, J.H., 'A Century of Botanical Endeavour in South Australia', Australasian Association for Advancement of Science, xi (1907), 158-199. Details
  • Whitley, Gilbert P., 'Conchologists of the past: George French Angas (1822 - 1886)', Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia, 1 (12) (1969), 48-56. Details


McCarthy, G.J.