Angaston's 175th Anniversary | Barry Chinner explores history


I was born in the Angaston hospital in 1936, the year of South Australia’s 100th birthday.

Having travelled and worked interstate and in Adelaide I settled back in Angaston in 1964 and joined the wine industry.

The Chinners came to Angaston in 1845, just two years after John Howard Angas, the son of George Fife Angas, arrived at the tender age of 19 to oversee his father’s properties around Angaston.

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When it was proposed to call the town Angas Town, Mr Angas rejected the idea and an agreement was reached that it would be Angaston.

Today there are but my immediate family of Chinners, consisting of me – a very proud father and grandfather  – and my son Glenn, his wife Jo and my grandchildren who still reside in the district.

My granddaughter Brooke is working at the Barossa Council as a youth project officer and my grandson Taylor is an electrician and old vehicle enthusiast, in particular the Chrysler Valiant era.

I am a member of the Angaston & Penrice Historical Society, of which I joined due to being very interested in both Angastons’ past as well as future and I have written a few books on the history of Angaston.

The Angaston Blacksmith Shop comes under the umbrella of our historical society and our greatest achievement has been the recent purchase of the Smithy.

The real credit regarding the purchase of the Smithy goes to the people of our community and others, even interstate, who readily pledged more than $100,000 to enable us to buy and retain the historic workable Blacksmith Shop.

Visitors are treated to a real step back in time when visiting the Smithy in our main street, on a weekend, and watch a Smithy in action.

For the 175th birthday I have been involved in displaying historic photos of Angaston shops and buildings and a small group from our historical society are putting together Angaston family names to represent each of the 175 years.

Some of the first beside Angas were Sibley, Schilling and Chinner and there are others who are no longer in our district, such as Trescowthick, Radford and Crabb.

Top Angaston memories for me start with the centenary celebrations held in 1946. Because of World War II they were delayed for four years, but as a 10-year-old old boy it was a week of spectacular memorable events.

There was a merry-go-round in front of the Institute, a soap box derby, fancy dress competition, mock court, clown and many things to excite and entertain, with Murray Street adorned with many hundreds of coloured lights at night.

A wow factor after World War II was one day when a Lancaster Bomber flew in a low steep circle around Angaston. It was truly a remarkable sight and I dare say the pilot was the son of an Angaston family.

The second most memorable event was my involvement in creating the Festival Finale events on the Angaston Oval in the late 1970s, the Sunday event being the last day of our Barossa Vintage Festival.

We had great times creating the Roaring Forties and Wild West events on the oval which included the involvement of children from the Angaston Primary School dressed as Indians outside their teepees and a cowboy on horseback jumping a burning wagon.

Plus the riotous fun in a pit of mud, it was a great family entertainment day, all done by volunteers and no rules and regulations and no public liability.

The Festival Finale in 1979 culminated in being the best we had achieved and it really was a wow event. I well recall David Linke’s big earth machines doing a waltz around the large pit of mud.

Angaston to me has always been the attractive historic village of friendly people, set with scenic hilly views, still with some shops from the early days with the old bull nosed verandahs.

With the street that was formed to follow along near to the flow of the creek.

The services available have ebbed and flowed and as times change, so will the services in the future.

We have three generations of the Miles family in our Newsagency Deli and we have others too that are dedicated to giving their best to the proud town of Angaston.