Austin Chapman

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The Honourable
Sir Austin Chapman
Austin chapman.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Eden-Monaro
In office
29 March 1901 – 12 January 1926
Preceded byNew seat
Succeeded byJohn Perkins
Personal details
Born(1864-07-10)10 July 1864
Near Bowral, New South Wales
Died12 January 1926(1926-01-12) (aged 61)
Political partyProtectionist (1901–09)
Liberal (1909–17)
Nationalist (1917–26)
Spouse(s)Catherine O'Brien
RelationsAlbert Chapman (brother)
ChildrenJames Austin Chapman
John Austin Chapman
OccupationCompany director

Sir Austin Chapman KCMG (10 July 1864 – 12 January 1926), Australian politician, was a member of several early federal ministries. He was born in Bong Bong near Bowral, New South Wales and educated at Marulan Public School and was apprenticed as a saddler at an early age. In about 1884 he went into business as a publican, storekeeper and auctioneer in Queanbeyan, and later became an investor and company director.[1]

Political career[edit]

In 1894 he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as MLA for Braidwood.[2] Like most politicians from the southern border regions of New South Wales, he was an active supporter of federation of the Australian colonies.

In 1901 Chapman was elected to the first House of Representatives as MP for the Division of Eden-Monaro (his brother Albert succeeded him as the member for Braidwood in the New South Wales Parliament). A Protectionist, he was Minister for Defence in the first ministry of Alfred Deakin (1903–04), Postmaster-General in the second Deakin ministry (1905–08), and Minister for Trade and Customs from 1907–08. After a long period on the backbench as a result of a stroke in 1909, which paralysed one of his arms, he was appointed Minister for Trade and Customs and Minister for Health in the Bruce government in February 1923. He was criticised by both Nationalists and the Country Party and he resigned in May 1924 on the grounds of ill health and was subsequently made a KCMG.[1]

Chapman's most important contribution was his influence on the choice of the site of Australia's national capital, Canberra. He lobbied hard for the site on the Molonglo River near Queanbeyan, in his electorate. The success of his lobbying benefited many of his friends who owned land in the area, and also greatly boosted trade in Queanbeyan, the nearest town to the site. He was still MP for Eden-Monaro at the time of his death in Sydney of cerebro-vascular disease. He was survived by his wife, two daughters and two sons, James Austin Chapman and John Austin Chapman who both became distinguished soldiers.[1][3] The Canberra suburb of Chapman was named after him.


  1. ^ a b c Gibbney, H. J. "Chapman, Sir Austin (1864–1926)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Archived from the original on 22 March 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
  2. ^ "Sir Austin Chapman (1864–1956)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  3. ^ Thompson, Roger C. "Chapman, John Austin (1896–1963)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Archived from the original on 22 March 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
Political offices
Preceded by
James Drake
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Anderson Dawson
Preceded by
Sydney Smith
Succeeded by
Samuel Mauger
Preceded by
William Lyne
Minister for Trade and Customs
Succeeded by
Frank Tudor
Preceded by
Arthur Rodgers
Minister for Trade and Customs
Succeeded by
Littleton Groom
Preceded by
Walter Massy-Greene
Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Herbert Pratten
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Alexander Ryrie
Member for Braidwood
Succeeded by
Albert Chapman
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Member for Eden-Monaro
Succeeded by
John Perkins