Chapman Valley History

Upper Chapman Road Board

From its inception in 1901 the Upper Chapman Road Board held its meetings in Michael Morrissey’s small rammed earth building which was also used as the school. The first chairman was James Park Lauder and foundation members were Joseph Coooper (Snr), Samuel H Jupp (Snr), William Eastough, Michael Ronan and James Murphy. Mr Daniel Keyhoe the local schoolmaster, was the first Secretary. He was paid 15 shillings per week for his services.

In 1910, Mr William F Stansfield, who came from Bootenal, was appointed full time secretary and works supervisor. He settled in Nanson, opened a general store and used part of his home as an office.

With the growing population it was decided after a referendum in 1913, to build an office at Nanson on Lot 15.


James Lauder
James Park Lauder first chairman of the Upper Chapman Road Board, 1901
Geraldton Express

The Geraldton Express, Friday 14 Mar 1913, pg 2

Upper Chapman Roads Board Office.— The referendum taken to decide the site of the Upper Chapman Roads Board office resulted in the choice of Nanson by the ratepayers The other two sites submitted to the referendum were at Nabawah and Mt. Erin School.


The tender went to Mr W Bennett to build the Road Board office for £297.10s using bricks from a local kiln located on the river flat near Glendoone homestead. The office was officially opened by the State Governor, Sir Harry Barron on the 10th September 1913.

Messrs Stansfield and Evans carried out their road works supervision by using a horse and sulky and the respective horses used were well known by the names “Baldy” and “Roany”. About 1920, Roany was retired and Frank Evans acquired a car. The revenue derived from rates in the board’s early days would equal about $250 or 125 pounds  annually. The Board was dependent on government grants, which at that period were not particularly high.

Maintenance work on roads was carried out for many years with horses and drays, picks and shovels. Permanent staff was non-existent or there were very few, so much of the road work was tendered out to the settlers who had the equipment to undertake the seasonal work. This being referred to as “cutting out the rates” which in turn helped supplement their income. 

The first road grader which was then drawn by 8 horses was introduced in 1918 and in 1924 the board acquired a Case tractor 15/30 to propel the grader. A 30 cwt. truck was added shortly afterwards. It was a “Ruggles” with a manually operated tip. 

In 1958 the Upper Chapman Road Board changed its name to Chapman Valley Road Board and in 1960 it became the Shire of Chapman Valley. Following the building of new offices in Nabawa in 1964 and the closure of the Nanson Road Board Hall, the building was used by the Country Women’s Association as a meeting place until 1974. 

Having fallen into disuse and disrepair, the Shire of Chapman Valley advertised that the building was to be demolished. Following a meeting of concerned residents, the Chapman Valley Historical Society was formed and in 1983 the Road Board building became its headquarters. The society went into recess in 1990 before restarting with new vigour in 1995 when it was decided to establish a museum on the site. Following the donation of a farm shed, old farm machinery, a photographic display, history timeline and other items were collected to form the impressive display that it is today. 

Chairmen & Presidents of the Upper Chapman & Shire of Chapman Valley

J Lauder -1901
S H Jupp – 1902-1903
H A Lee Steere – 1903-1904
J Cooper – 1904-1905
G Baker – 1907-1912
W H Sheehan 1912-1914 & 1926-1928
G Baston 1914-1916

F Maynard 1919-1921 & 1923-1925
R J Forrester 1917-1919, 1921-1923 & 1925-1926
C Smith 1928-1929
A P Dillistone 1929-1931 & 1933-1934
R Donald 1934-1936
E A Green 1936-1941

W F Forbes 1941-1946
F R Cooper 1945-1948
J S Cream 1948-1949
H R Smith 1949-1953 & 1957-1958
L R Forrester 1953-1961 Pres 1961-1967
R C Scott 1967-1972
W J Batten 1972-1976

F E Green 1976-1980
L P Cooper OAM 1980-1990
D K Williamson 1990-1993
D L Morrell 1992-1994
N P J Exten 1994-2001
J P Collingwood 2001-2017
A Farrell 2017-2019

Read more about our history