Main: George French Angas (artist) and James W. Giles (lithographer), Kangaroo Hunting ... South Australia, 1847,; Inset: Charles Baugniet, George French Angas, 1848,

History lovers are in for a treat when the National Library of Australia opens a new exhibition dedicated to the works of colonial artist George French Angas.

Illustrating the Antipodes: George French Angas in Australia and New Zealand 1844–1845 opens on Saturday 14 August and draws together nearly 200 artworks, sketches and books by Angas, as well as items relating to his life and the places he traveled to.

Angas was the son of one of South Australia’s founders, George Fife Angas, and visitors will recognise landmarks such as Port Lincoln from Winter’s Hill and a scene from Mount Lofty looking over the plains of Adelaide.

This exhibition and the accompanying book are the culmination of Philip Jones’s decades-long research into the life and work of George French Angas. This research was bolstered after he was awarded one of the Library’s Harold White Fellowships in 2009.

Director-General of the National Library of Australia Dr Marie-Louise Ayres said the exhibition not only tells the story of George French Angas the artist, but also how researchers use the National Library’s collection to create new knowledge.

‘Every day the National Library helps researchers in their quest to uncover our history, voices and stories. In curating this exhibition and writing this book, Philip Jones has pieced together the fragments of Angas’s writings, and other documentary records to reveal a new side to his work as an artist,’ Dr Ayres said.

Exhibition curator, author and senior researcher at the South Australian Museum Philip Jones said, ‘This has been a long and fulfilling journey, working across rich collections in Adelaide and Canberra, delving into archives and family papers and visiting sites depicted by Angas. A child of the colonial enterprise, Angas was only 21 years old when he came to the Antipodes. His meticulous and sensitive portfolio transports us to the moment of his encounters with its peoples and landscapes.’

The exhibition is presented in partnership with the South Australian Museum, and features works from national and state cultural institutions, as well as private collections.

Director of the South Australian Museum Brian Oldman said, ‘It’s been great to partner with the National Library of Australia on this exhibition. Angas was a painter, naturalist, poet and explorer and the Museum is privileged to have many examples of his work in its collection, many of which are included in this exhibition. We are very much looking forward to sharing this exhibition with South Australian audiences in 2022.’

Illustrating the Antipodes: George French Angas in Australia and New Zealand 1844-1845 is on at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, from Monday 15 November 2021 to Sunday 30 January 2022, 9am to 5pm daily. Entry is free. The exhibition will travel to the South Australian Museum in 2022.

Additional information

This exhibition is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.


Georgia McDonald
Media Liaison, National Library of Australia
T: 0401 226 697


Updated 12 November 2021