The British Empire

William Angliss was a migrant to Australia who built up a fortune in business and pioneered refrigeration. He was born in Dudley, Worcestershire, in 1865, after which the family moved to Hawkhurst, Kent where William went to school. He got a job as butcher’s boy and learnt the trade before emigrating to first New York and then later (in 1884) to Queensland. He worked in Brisbane and Sydney before moving to Melbourne where he borrowed money and established a butcher’s shop. Within a few years he had moved to large premises and built up a chain of meat suppliers. In the Gold Rush of 1892-3 he supplied meat to Western Australia from Victoria and in 1900 Angliss began to supply refrigerated meat to England, becoming the leading exporter of meat from Australia. He established his own freezing works in 1905 at Footscray and soon began to acquire sheep and cattle stations so that he controlled the whole supply chain.

In 1912  Angliss became a member of the legislative Council of Victoria and was a powerful spokesman for the farming interest. He remained a member of the Legislative Council until 1952 during which time he became one of the principal spokesperson for the farming community. His most important contribution to agriculture in Australia was probably when as a consultant to the Australian delegation at the Ottawa Conference of 1932, he supported the imposition of imperial controls to protect imperial farming during the world depression.

Angliss subsequently sold his meat business in 1934, keeping many of his farming properties. He was knighted in 1939. Following the sale of the bulk of his business Angliss supported many charities, including the Salvation Army and their work in encouraging child migration to Australia. He died in 1957 and is buried in Box Hill cemetery, Melbourne.

William Angliss