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Robert (Bob) Chapman (1906–1983)

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Robert ('Bob') Chapman (1906-1983) coalminer, Communist and shire president 

Birth: 14 March 1906 at Birtley, Chester le Street, Durham (now Tyne and Wear), England, son of Hugh Chapman, miner, and Elizabeth, née Boyd. Marriage: 26 August 1933 at District Registrar’s Office, Adamstown, New South Wales, to native-born Frida Luise Kracke (1910-1973). They had three sons. Death: 4 May 1983 in hospital at New Lambton, Newcastle, NSW. 

  • Began work aged 13 as coal miner at Ellington colliery, Birtley, England.
  • Migrated to Australia 1925.  Worked in New Lambton collieries prior to lockout.
  • Communist Party of Australia activist. Prominent in unemployed struggles during Depression and was arrested with others during Newtown eviction battle in 1931.
  • Active in Hunter Valley coal strikes during 1930s, when he was secretary of strike committee at John Darling colliery. Secretary and president of Area Committees in 1938.
  • In 1941 he was elected to Northern Board of Management and Central Council of the Miners Federation. From 1942 to 1946 was president of John Darling Miners’ Lodge.
  • Elected as communist candidate to Lake Macquarie Shire Council in 1944 and was elected deputy shire president in 1945 and president in December 1946 but lost his council seat in the December 1947 elections. Contested council elections for CPA in 1953 and 1956.
  • Stood as CPA candidate for State seat of Kurri Kurri in 1947.
  • Cause of death: lung cancer.

Common Cause
, 26 April 1947.

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Citation details

'Chapman, Robert (Bob) (1906–1983)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 18 June 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


14 March, 1906
Birtley, Tyne and Wear, England


4 May, 1983 (aged 77)
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (lung)

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