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Chapman, Mr William John

"Several attempts by some residents were made to have
the post office moved to the school, although the teacher, Mr
Chapman, hotly denied that he was interested in becoming
the postmaster. He had made several unsuccessful applica-
tions to the Council of Education to operate a store from the
school and generally he did not appear to be happy with his
posting at Murrumbateman. Numerous letters of complaint
were written by him. He had not had good reports from the
school inspector and did not receive an expected rise in pay
He had failed in an examination io improve his classification
due to his poor spelling.

He also wrote numerous ietters requesting a transfer and
in one letter said 'l have held my present appointment for 4 1/2
years during which time I have made strenuous efforts for pro-
motion in my classification ..' He went on to say that ' ..lack
of society for my family...and the extreme apathy constantly
displayed by many of the parents' were a cause of distress to
him He said 'inspection reports have not been
satisfactory ..and lack of attendance due to droughts,
farmwork, distance from school and bad roads' were a cause
for frustration".

Poor Mr Chapman! He clearly did not fit in at Murrum-
bateman. in May 1879 Joseph Crocker claimed that Mr
Chapman's dogs had killed his turkeys. A court case followed
in which Mr Chapman delended himself. In November of the
same year Mr Chapman took action against Mr Crocker for
abusive language. He claimed that Mr Crocker's pigs had tres-
passed into his garden at the school and that Mr Chapman,
with the help of Walter Forbes and Allan Webster, had driven
the pigs back to the home of Mr Crocker. It was claimed that
Mr Crocker then abused Mr Chapman in front of the children
Mr Chapman won the action and Mr Crocker was fined €₤3
ln 1880 charges of improper conduct were brought against
Mr Chapman. Many parents kept their children away from
school and two petitions were circulated - one to have Mr
Chapman removed, the other to have him stay. Finally Mr
Chapman resigned in mid-1880 and his successor, Ceorge Vin-
cent, arrived in September".

['Murrumbateman school' - extracted from Dorothy Mulholland, 'Far away days', Ch 8]


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