CHAPMAN, Thomas Daniel (c. 1815-1884)


CHAPMAN, Thomas Daniel (c. 1815-1884)
premier of Tasmania
was born at Bedford, England, probably in 1815, ,came to Australia about 1844 and established a business at Hobart. He became a leading merchant and in 1848 was working actively in opposition to transportation. He was elected to the legislative council as a member for Hobart at the end of 1850, and in September 1856 became a member of the house of assembly at the first election under responsible government. When Champ (q.v.) formed the first ministry Chapman was colonial treasurer, and almost at once found that the estimated revenue for the year had been £330,000 but that only £250,000 had been realized. His proposed remedies, increase in taxation and reductions in salaries, caused much unpopularity. The defeat of the ministry in February 1857 threw the responsibility on other shoulders. After being in opposition for four and a half years Chapman became premier on 6 August 1861, and held office until 20 January 1863. He was also colonial treasurer from November 1862 to January 1863. He was colonial treasurer in the Dry (q.v.) ministry from 24 November 1866 to 4 August 1869 and in the succeeding Wilson (q.v.) ministry until 4 November 1872. In 1873 Chapman gave up his seat in the assembly to enter the legislative council. In August of that year he joined the Kennerley ,(q.v.) ministry and was colonial secretary until April 1876. He did not hold office again but was elected president of the legislative council on 11 July 1882 and died suddenly on 17 February 1884 in his sixty-ninth year. He married a Miss Swan who survived him with six sons and four daughters. Chapman was a vigorous speaker, a sound financier and good administrator, who took a leading part in the public life of Tasmania for nearly 40 years.
The Mercury, Hobart, 18 February 1884; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; J. Fenton, A History of Tasmania.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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