William Hatfield

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William Hatfield (1892–1969) was the pen name of Ernest Chapman, an English-born writer best known for his work in Australia.


He emigrated to Australia in 1912 and did a variety of jobs before turning to writing with Sheepmates in 1931.[1] He wrote fiction for adults and children, travel stories, autobiography, short stories (particularly for The Australian Journal and Australiana). Hatfield served in the Australian army during World War II.[2]

Film Work[edit]

Sheepmates was meant to be filmed in 1934 by F. W. Thring, and Hatfield helped scout locations, but the project was abandoned during shooting. Hatfield promised Thring to shoot some footage of an aboriginal corroboree for a proposed screen version of Collits' Inn during a cross-country trip, but the film did not eventuate.[3] Thring also bought the rights to Ginger Murdoch as a vehicle for George Wallace but died before he got a chance to make it.[4]

Cinesound Productions announced a film version of Hatfield's novel Big Timber but instead chose to shoot an original script, Tall Timbers (1937).[5]

Selected writings[edit]

  • Sheepmates (1931)
  • Ginger Murdoch (1932)
  • Christmastown (1932)
  • Desert Saga (1933)
  • River Crossing (1934)
  • Black Waterlily (1935)[6]
  • Australia Through the Windscreen (1936)
  • Big Timber (1936)
  • I Find Australia (1937)
  • Buffalo Jim (1938)
  • Barrier Reef Days (1948)
  • Wild Dog Frontier (1951)


  1. ^ William Hatfield at Australian Dictionary of Biography
  2. ^ War service details
  3. ^ "5000 MILES ACROSS AUSTRALIA.". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 24 May 1934. p. 12. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "ENGLISH PLAYS.". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 12 January 1934. p. 6. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  5. ^ 'ROUND-AUSTRALIA RACE. Author Seeks British Car.' The West Australian (Perth) Monday 16 November 1936 p 16
  6. ^ "HALF-CASTE PROBLEM.". Portland Guardian. Vic.: National Library of Australia. 8 April 1935. p. 3 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 

External links[edit]