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Matthew McCulloch
1 November 2022 | Matthew McCulloch

Langmeil | Our story

The Lindner Family

It's often quoted that the past informs the present. The earliest European settlement of South Australia informs the history of the Barossa Valley, which in turn informs the story of Langmeil. So let's start at the very beginning (it's a perfect place to start!).

The Province of South Australia was established in 1834 when the British Parliament passed the South Australia Act, also known as the Foundation Act. It is pertinent to note that South Australia was called a province rather than a colony to help distinguish it as a free settlement instead of a penal colony. Freedom was a central tenet and even extended, in theory, to the land's indigenous people. The Letters Patent of 1836, the written order establishing the province, included a guarantee of the rights of 'any Aboriginal natives' or their descendants to lands they 'now actually occupied or enjoyed', though sadly, the colonial administration ignored these property rights.

Under the 1834 act, administrative power in the colony was divided between the Governor and a Resident Commissioner, who was responsible for the survey and sale of land and migration arrangements and funding. Assisted emigration financed by land sales helped colonise South Australia. To avoid the province becoming a financial burden on the UK, one of the act's conditions was the pre-sale of real property (land) to the value of £35,000. The South Australian Colonisation Commission was established to oversee its implementation. To develop the new settlement, the South Australia Company was formed in London on 9 October 1835. The company was a commercial enterprise not officially connected to the British Government or the Colonisation Commission. Still, it became indispensable in allowing emigration to the new colony to begin. Consisting of wealthy British merchants headed by George Fife Angas, the company's founding board bought up unsold land to the level required by the act.

George Fife Angas played a particularly significant role in the formation and establishment of the colony. Following in his footsteps, grandson Charles Angas was equally philanthropic. He possessed a broad and diverse range of interests, not the least of which was his prominence in the Royal Agricultural Society. This interest undoubtedly led him to establish a vineyard on his Eden Valley property Wattle Brae, now proudly under the custodianship of Langmeil Winery. From here, we grow our critically acclaimed Pure Eden Shiraz, Wattle Brae Riesling and High Road Chardonnay.

Of the many contributions made to the colony by George Fife Angas, two are of particular significance. The first of these led to the settlement of the Barossa Valley, and the second to who settled here.

In 1836 Angas commissioned German geologist Johann Menge, considered the father of South Australian mineralogy, to conduct an extensive inspection of 'the hills and country of New Silesia', now better known as the Barossa. Menge deeply understood the geographic influence on agriculture and described his vision for the region. He envisioned 'wheat fields that will stretch to the horizon… orchards that will rival the empire' and, most significantly, that 'you may confidently plant vines that will furnish such luxurious harvests as to see the district become one of the world's finest wine regions'. In March 1840, he wrote a prophetic letter to his employer declaring that 'your land is and will prove the kernel of this province', the statement from which we named our Kernel Cabernet Sauvignon. The die was cast; it was simply a question of who would settle it.

George Fife Angas ran the South Australian Company from London for some sixteen years before emigrating himself in 1851. In 1836, Angas met with a Lutheran minister, Pastor August Kavel who had travelled from Prussia to England. Kavel and his Lutheran congregation in Klępsk (Klemzig), Prussia, faced persecution due to decrees made by Kaiser Frederick William III, and he sought to regain their religious freedom by emigrating to another country. Angas sent his chief clerk, Charles Flaxman, to Prussia to meet with Kavel's group and, on his favourable report, sought to have the South Australian Company meet the cost of transporting the entire congregation from Hamburg to South Australia. So sure of their suitability as potential settlers, when the company denied his request, Angas made a loan to them by meeting the cost of securing vessels himself and, in 1838, chartered four ships on their behalf. As each ship arrived, the emigrants dispersed to various settlements in the vicinity of Adelaide, most notably the now inner-city suburb of Klemzig. However, they were anxious to make a life for themselves together in one place. After much negotiation, Kavel secured land in the Barossa Valley, and in 1842, the village of Langmeil was born.

A village of twelve families, Langmeil was laid out according to the traditional German Hufendorf system. A Hufendorf is an elongated settlement laid out along a road parallel to a stream. Houses fronted the road with farmland opposite, stretching back to the watercourse behind. On our present site at the northern end of Langmeil Road, blacksmith Christian Auricht settled Lot 36 with his wife and four children. He planted mixed crops of cereal grain, fruit trees and, in 1843, a Shiraz vineyard. The Auricht family history is recorded in a book entitled 'From Persecution to Freedom' from which we took inspiration for the name of the vineyard that survives to this day and provides the exquisite fruit for our flagship, The Freedom 1843 Shiraz.


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