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William John Chapman (1845–1919)

On Wednesday, November 19th, quite a gloom was cast over Gosford-Wyong district when the sad news was made known of the death of one of the oldest and best known residents, Mr. William John Chapman, J.P. Mr. Chapman was born at St. Albans, Hawkesbury River, on June 21st, 1845. As a young man he was apprenticed to the carpentering trade, and assisted in the building of Sydney's G.P.O. At the age or 24 he married Grace Cavanough, of Lower Portland, Hawkesbury River, and made his first home on a homestead selection at Yarramalong, spending there three years of rigid pioneering, being compelled to negotiate on horseback a bush track across the Mangrove Mountains to St. Albans to obtain the necessaries of life. Just about this time there was an urgent call for school teachers, and his services being accepted by the Education Department, he spent the next eleven years teaching in the Young district. In 1881 Mr. Chapman came to Gosford and commenced his business career in the old building, which still stands directly opposite the 'Gosford Times' Office. Here he formed the nucleus of what is now the well-known firm of Messrs. Chapman and Sons, Gosford and Wyong. Three years later he extended this business to the premises now occupied by the Gosford Branch of the Government Savings Bank, and during this time was Returning Officer for Gosford 's first Municipal election. In 1886 he relinquished this for wider fields at Wyong. While conducting business there he filled the position of Wyong's first Postmaster. He was Coroner for Brisbane Water Police District for 20 years, Returning Officer for Northumberland Electorate for a similar period, and filled numerous other public positions. He pioneered the dairying industry in this district, and till the time of his death supervised the largest dairy in this portion of the State. The various enterprises founded by the late Mr. Chapman now require 100 assistants. On retiring from public life in 1914 to his private residence, 'The Oaks,' Killara, Mr. Chapman was presented by the residents of Wyong District with a beautiful testimonial in the form of an illuminated address in recognition of the good he had done.

After a fortnight's illness he passed peacefully away, leaving a widow and grown-up family of two sons — William Arthur and Alfred Ingram, and two daughters, Emily Grace, Winifred Blanch (Mrs. F. R. Todd). Two sons, Owen George and Clement Othneil, predeceased him.

The funeral, on Friday, was largely attended. The remains were brought by train to Wyong and interred in the Methodist portion of the local cemetery, the graveside service being conducted by Rev. F. R. Todd and Rev. H. N. Whiteman.

Original publication

Citation details

'Chapman, William John (1845–1919)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


21 June, 1845
St Albans, New South Wales, Australia


19 November, 1919 (aged 74)
Killara, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.