George French Angas arrived in Adelaide in high summer on the first day of 1844. Under Governor George Grey, the colony was emerging from a period of austerity after a severe financial crisis. An ethnographer himself, Grey was enthusiastic about Angas’s venture, and arranged for him to join a series of planned expeditions. Angas soon became known as Grey’s protégé.
Angas quickly befriended Adelaide’s most knowledgeable ethnographer, William Cawthorne, and introduced himself to the colony’s naturalists. His first duty, though, was to send watercolours of the Barossa Valley to his father, for promotional purposes. Angas’s brother John and sister Sarah had arrived a few months earlier, establishing themselves on the valley’s ‘Seven Special Surveys’, which George Fife Angas had acquired in 1840. Angas began the delicate task of balancing his father’s defined interests with his own unrestrained enthusiasm for landscapes, portraiture, ethnography and natural history.