George Albert Chapman was born in Raymond Terrace and in 1880, aged 23, he walked up the beach to the Wallamba looking for a place to settle.1 Originally, he set up business as a butcher in Failford, delivering meat by boat to customers on the Wallamba as far up as Coolongolook and to Wallis Lake. In 1882 he bought a 40 acre parcel of land on the banks of the river near Tuncurry, opposite what is generally now known as Chapman Island.2 He later bought Chapman Island and acquired a further 40 acre block at Tuncurry from his brother John.
George married Caroline Croker of Wingham3 and continued his butcher business, killing and dressing his cattle on his Tuncurry land which became known as “Cutting Point.” He was a strong rower and possessed a red cedar boat which moved swiftly in the water enabling him to deliver fresh meat for the folk who lived on the islands or river banks. After 100 miles of rowing he would wash out the light red cedar boat and winch it up to dry.
One Saturday morning after having rowed to Coolongolook, George learned of a rowing race to be held at Forster in the afternoon, so he hastily rowed back to Chapman Island for lunch and returned to Forster to win the race off scratch.
When Caroline passed away in 1915,4 George sold his two 40 acre blocks and Chapman Island to his son Albert and purchased another property known as Shalimar. He remarried Lily Young in 1924.5 Once again George sold his property of 188 acres now known as Scribbly Gum Estate to his son Albert who in turn sold it to his son Mervyn. George passed away in 1942.6 I am George’s great granddaughter and am honoured to tell his story.
To read more about George Albert Chapman and his early life on the Wallamba River click here.
Author: Marilyn Boyd
Based on information from the “Rowing Chapmans” story from Great Lakes Museum.
1 NSW BDM, Birth index for George Chapman, No. 10843/1857.
2 NSW Land Registry Services, Historic Parish Map of Tuncurry.
3 NSW BDM, Marriage index for George Chapman and Caroline Croker, No. 4833/1882.
4 NSW BDM, Death index for Caroline Chapman, No. 2217/1915.
5 NSW BDM, Marriage index for George Albert Chapman and Lily Young, No.
6 NSW BDM, Death index for George Chapman, No. 1878/1942.