Austin Chapman

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Austin Chapman
Austin Chapman - Swiss Studios (cropped).jpg
Minister for Health
In office
9 February 1923 – 26 May 1924
Prime MinisterStanley Bruce
Preceded byWalter Massy-Greene
Succeeded byHerbert Pratten
Minister for Trade and Customs
In office
9 February 1923 – 26 May 1924
Prime MinisterStanley Bruce
Preceded byArthur Rodgers
Succeeded byHerbert Pratten
In office
30 July 1907 – 13 November 1908
Prime MinisterAlfred Deakin
Preceded byWilliam Lyne
Succeeded byFrank Tudor
Postmaster-General of Australia
In office
5 July 1905 – 30 July 1907
Prime MinisterAlfred Deakin
Preceded bySydney Smith
Succeeded bySamuel Mauger
Minister for Defence
In office
24 September 1903 – 27 April 1904
Prime MinisterAlfred Deakin
Preceded byJames Drake
Succeeded byAnderson Dawson
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
Austen Chapman[1]

(1864-07-10)10 July 1864
Bong Bong, Colony of New South Wales
Died12 January 1926(1926-01-12) (aged 61)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyProtectionist (1901–09)
Liberal (1909–17)
Nationalist (1917–26)
SpouseCatherine O'Brien
RelationsAlbert Chapman (brother)
ChildrenJames Austin Chapman
John Austin Chapman
OccupationCompany director

Sir Austin Chapman KCMG (10 July 1864 – 12 January 1926) was an Australian politician who served in the House of Representatives from 1901 until his death in 1926. He held ministerial office in the governments of Alfred Deakin and Stanley Bruce, serving as Minister for Defence (1903–1904), Postmaster-General (1905–1907), Minister for Trade and Customs (1907–1908, 1923–1924), and Minister for Health (1923–1924).

Early life[edit]

Chapman was born on 10 July 1864 in Bong Bong, New South Wales. He was the son of Monica (née Cain; also spelt Kean or Kein) and Richard Chapman, his father being a wheelwright and publican. His mother was born in Ireland. His given name was spelled "Austen" until 1897.[1]

Chapman attended the state school in Marulan until the age of 14, when he was apprenticed to a saddler working in Goulburn and Mudgee. By 1885 he was operating Chapman's Hotel in Bungendore, close to the eventual site of Canberra. Chapman moved to Sydney in 1887 and went into partnership with Edward William O'Sullivan in an auctioneering firm, of which he was managing partner. He was also the proprietor of the Emu Inn on Bathurst Street. His partnership with O'Sullivan was dissolved in 1889, and he subsequently established the Royal Hotel in Braidwood.[1]

New South Wales politics[edit]

In 1891 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.

Federal politics[edit]

Chapman c. 1907/08

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 to 1908. 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 had a significant role during the selection of Australia's national capital site, Canberra. A strong advocate for the rival site of Dalgety—legislated as the capital site by the Seat of Government Act 1904—he stated in August 1906 that, "I will defend Dalgety to the end. Any change from the selection already made can only be achieved over my political corpse."[3]

In early 1908, he would concede that Canberra was "the second best site, but Dalgety easily stands first."[4] As the process finally reached its conclusion, later in 1908, Chapman was suffering ill health. In his absence, although he had been 'paired' for the ballots so as not to prejudice the outcome, at the ninth ballot, Dalgety went down to Yass-Canberra by 39 votes to 33.[5][6]

However, once Canberra had been selected, Chapman strenuously advocated the development of the site on the Molonglo River near Queanbeyan, which like Dalgety was in his electorate.[7] The success of his efforts 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, before he could sit in the new Parliament House in Canberra, which opened in May 1927. He was survived by his wife, two daughters and two sons, James Austin Chapman and John Austin Chapman who both became distinguished soldiers.[1][8] The Canberra suburb of Chapman was named after him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Gibbney, H. J. "Chapman, Sir Austin (1864–1926)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 14 August 2022 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ "Sir Austin Chapman (1864–1956)". Former members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Search for a capital". Goulburn Evening Penny Post. 21 August 1906. Retrieved 9 October 2021 – via Trove.
  4. ^ "Capital site". The Sunday Sun. 5 January 1908. Retrieved 10 October 2021 – via Trove.
  5. ^ "Mr Austin Chapman". The Queanbeyan Age. 29 September 1908. Retrieved 10 October 2021 – via Trove.
  6. ^ "Capital site". The Argus. 9 October 1908. Retrieved 10 October 2021 – via Trove.
  7. ^ "The Hon. Austin Chapman". The Queanbeyan Age. 7 February 1911. Retrieved 10 October 2021 – via Trove.
  8. ^ Thompson, Roger C. "Chapman, John Austin (1896–1963)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 14 August 2022 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.

 

Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Defence
1903–1904
Succeeded by
Preceded by Postmaster-General
1905–1907
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Trade and Customs
1907–1908
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Trade and Customs
1923–1924
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Health
1923–1924
Succeeded by
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by Member for Braidwood
1891–1901
Succeeded by
Parliament of Australia
New parliament Member for Eden-Monaro
1901–1926
Succeeded by