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Alfred Stephen Chapman (1842–1912)

from Register

The death occurred on Tuesday morning of Mr. Alfred Stephen Chapman, manager of Elder, Smith, & Co. Limited, who for more than 50 years had been connected with the firm. He was one of the best-known and most highly respected business men of Adelaide. Mr. Alfred Chapman was born on April 4, 1842. His record of over 55 years of business service with the one house remained unbroken until about three weeks ago, when an attack of typhoid fever compelled his retirement to bed, at his home on Dequetteville Terrace, Kent Town. The deceased was the only son of the late Mr. Samuel Chapman, who arrived in South Australia on the first survey staff, by the Cygnet, in 1836. Mr. Alfred Chapman was taught by the late Messrs. John Martin and Francis H. Haire. He left school in 1856, and entered the office of Elder, Stirling & Co. The deceased gentleman held an almost life-long service with Mr. R. Barr Smith, and his high repute was known throughout the Commonwealth. Mr. Chapman devoted himself to mercantile affairs, and did not seek a public career. He married in Adelaide, and five sons and two daughters survive. One of the sons, Mr. Horsley Chapman, manages a department of Elder, Smith, & Co., Limited. At a dinner given to celebrate the jubilee of Mr. Chapman's service with the firm, on October 25, 1908, a letter of eulogy was read from Mr. Barr Smith, who was unable to be present. Mr. Barr Smith on that occasion stated:— "Looking back 50 years, when as a lad Mr. Chapman first came to the office of Elder and Co., my first impression of him then was his capacity and willingness for hard work. If any department was behind, and an assistant was required for night work, Mr. Chapman presented himself, with the result that, going through all the departments in this way, he soon knew as much about them as the man in charge, and so when any one dropped out of his place in the office there never was any difficulty about replacing—his understudy (Mr. Chapman) was equal to the part. I fancy Mr. Chapman must have filled almost every post we had to give. Let me add that he has always had the strictest sense of honour and the most fair and reasonable consideration for everybody with whom he came in business contact."

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Citation details

'Chapman, Alfred Stephen (1842–1912)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 June 2024.

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