Saturday 2 April 2011 – Chapman

Chapman was full of interest, even the shops, despite the disappearance of the French patisserie. Cafe, cake shop, chemist, pool shop (!) – the suburb is on the outer edge of Weston Creek, but it boasts a well-equipped neighbourhood centre and the streets are busy.

Out the front of the shops, there was a cake stall raising funds for the  nearby Anglican church. We didn’t buy anything because we would have had to carry it. This became an issue shortly afterwards along Perry Drive when Dac flagrantly nicked a pomegranate from an overhanging tree. He then had to carry it (and ended up ditching it).

Forbidden fruit

The Chapman walk is a 3km loop, mainly flat with some moderate gradients.

Canberra Community Walk, Chapman

I’d put it off because of the distance, and because I’m still having big problems with hills. What a mercy sights such as this greeted our eyes along the way:

Continuing our quest for circular trees

And this:

Weston Creek or Tuscany?

As we turned from Perry Street into Namatjira Drive, we saw what I think must be Mount Arawang, at the end of Cooleman Ridge:

Mount Arawang?

As you can see, it was a bright day. Cool and clear. The kind of day that lifts the heart. I love autumn in Canberra!

From Namatjira Drive, there were wonderful views, which you can’t quite tell from the following panorama. The mountains always look so much better in real life! I dare say there’s something I don’t know about photographing them. On the advice of the ACT Falls Advisor, I don’t wear my glasses while walking (multifocals make your feet look as if they’re somewhere they’re not) so it’s remarkable any of my photos turn out at all, really.

View from Namatjira Drive

As always, Black Mountain Tower cropped up:

Looking north on Namatjira Drive

This was the only walk I can remember which crossed suburb boundaries. When we reached Streeton Drive and crossed over, we found ourselves in Stirling. When we returned to Streeton Drive near Darwinia Terrace, after wandering past the remarkably-placed Weston Creek Labor Club (tucked into the corner of a suburban loop street) and the Stirling Neighbourhood Oval, we came face-to-face with a Rivett sign.

This might be the point to mention that the streets of Chapman are named for the Australian film industry, although we travelled down  only one exclusively Chapman street – Perry Drive, which is named after Joseph Henry Perry (1864-1943):

Pioneer cinematographer; wrote, photographed and directed Australia’s first fiction film, Soldiers of the Cross, which consisted of thirteen one-reel films and 200 lantern slides.

ACT Planning and Land Authority Place Name Search

Chapman himself was more or less a local. From assorted sources I’ve selected the facts that interested me about Sir Austin Chapman KCMG (1864–1926):

Born at Bong Bong, near Bowral, NSW, he was educated at Marulan Public School. He was among other working roles a publican, operating hotels in Bungendore and Sydney. He opened the Royal Hotel (now the Royal Mail Hotel) at Braidwood in 1889.

After nearly ten years as a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly, Chapman won the seat of Eden-Monaro in the first Federal election and held it until his death. He was the first Government Whip in the Commonwealth Parliament and chaired the Royal Commission of 1906 which successfully recommended old-age and invalid pensions.

Chapman “took a tireless personal interest in local affairs. He was an ‘infectiously genial man’ and his prominence was aided by continuing family connexions within the district: his father was a well-known Braidwood resident who had kept the Commercial and Queanbeyan Club hotels; the new publican of the Braidwood Royal was Chapman’s brother-in-law…; another brother-in-law … owned the Royal Hotel in Queanbeyan…” – Australian Dictionary of Biography online edition:  Chapman, Sir Austin (1864 – 1926)

According to Wikipedia, “Chapman’s most important contribution was his influence on the choice of the site of Australia’s national capital, Canberra. He lobbied hard for the site on the Molonglo River near Queanbeyan, in his electorate.”

Good on ‘im!

I was pleased to be permitted to photograph some dogs on the walk, although I stole the shots of the scotty:

Some Chapman doggos

Another feature of Chapman that I enjoyed was the wide selection of original letterboxes:


At top left, a box that appears to have been made from glockenspiel keys. Beside it, a handy lectern for fomenting frenzy in the streets. Bottom left, a Thai temple made from non-slip metal, and finally a sort of pointy coffin.

Here’s my favourite, a European post-horn extravaganza:

White cast-iron letterbox featuring a crown, a horserider, and post horns


Really there was a lot to see on this walk…

"Duck or grouse" is the motto above the door into this covered verandah

The sign over the door reads "Duck or grouse"

 …and only one box that I felt compelled to record. Someone was taking what I think of as a normal house and sticking a box on the front:

House to box

The homeward run (“run” in a strictly figurative sense) was where we struck gradients. I arrived back at Chapman shops puffing and panting, but very pleased with the walk.

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2 Responses to Saturday 2 April 2011 – Chapman

  1. albertine says:

    I love this post. It is so joyful and life-affirming, just like Mr (I mean Sir Austin) Chapman. Maybe the cooler weather is showing through in your light and lovely prose?

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