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Thomas Chapman (Australian politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thomas Chapman
Thomas Chapman.jpg
5th Premier of Tasmania
In office
2 August 1861 – 20 January 1863
Preceded byWilliam Weston
Succeeded byJames Whyte
President of the Tasmanian Legislative Council
In office
11 July 1882 – 17 February 1884
Preceded byFrederick Innes
Succeeded byWalter Gellibrand
Personal details
Born31 October 1815
Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Died17 February 1884(1884-02-17) (aged 68)
New Town, Tasmania
NationalityUnited Kingdom British
Spouse(s)Katherine Swan

Thomas Daniel Chapman (31 October 1815[nb 1] – 17 February 1884) was the Premier of Tasmania from 2 August 1861 until 20 January 1863. He served as a member of the Tasmanian Parliament for 26 years from August 1856 until his death in 1884.[nb 2]

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Early life

Chapman immigrated to Tasmania at around 1841 with his younger brother George (George returned to England after having married in Tasmania). He set up a business in Hobart and became a leading merchant during the early 1850s. He married Catherine Swan and had four daughters and five sons. Chapman was an advocate against the transportation of convicts to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania).

Political career

Chapman was first elected to the Tasmanian Legislative Council in 1851. When the Tasmanian House of Assembly was created in 1856 Chapman became a minister under Tasmania's first responsible government headed by William Champ. He was made Colonial Treasurer and upon taking the position realised that the estimated budget of the state was not £330,000 but only £250,000.[1] To fix the deficit Chapman proposed increasing taxes and reducing the wages of public servants, a proposal which reduced his popularity. After William Champ's ministry was defeated in 1857, his position as Treasurer was given to another member of parliament.

Chapman was in opposition during the Gregson, Weston and Smith ministries. Or from 1857 after Champ's resignation, until 1861.

Chapman became Premier after four years out of ministry, on 2 August 1861 he held office until 20 January 1863 a total of 18 months making him the second longest serving Premier after Francis Smith at the time. While Premier he also took up his old job of Colonial treasurer from November, 1862 until January, 1863.

Although his term as Premier ended he became Colonial Treasurer again in Richard Dry's ministry from 24 November 1866 until 1869. He also held the position in Wilson's ministry from 1869-1872. In 1873 he resigned from the House of Assembly to become a member of the Legislative Council. In August, 1873 he joined Alfred Kennerley's ministry holding the position of Colonial Secretary from 1873 until 1876. After this Chapman served in no more ministries but was President of the Tasmanian Legislative Council on 11 July 1882 until his death.

Chapman is noted as being a good public speaker and an excellent financier.


During his time in parliament; Chapman served in six electorates, in both chambers.

Tasmanian House of Assembly

Tasmanian Legislative Council


  1. ^ His exact birth year is unclear but 1815 is widely accepted; this article uses the birth year from the Parliament of Tasmania Biography
  2. ^ Chapman served 26 years because for a period of time 1864-1866 he was not a member of parliament due to bankruptcy
  3. ^ a b c d e f Many of these electorates no longer exist they are based on the towns of Hobart, Launceston and Campbell Town. Sources of the electoral terms are located at Parliament of Tasmania Biography


Political offices
Preceded by
William Weston
Premier of Tasmania
Succeeded by
James Whyte
Tasmanian Legislative Council
Preceded by
Frederick Innes
President of the Tasmanian Legislative Council
Succeeded by
Walter Gellibrand
Preceded by
Philip Fysh
Member for Buckingham
Succeeded by
Philip Fysh
This page was last edited on 26 April 2019, at 04:51
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