Vale Bill Chapman, legend of Miners Federation

Published: 22 Sep 2021

We have lost a giant of our Union.

Former Northern District President Bill Chapman passed away yesterday. Bill, who recently turned 90, committed his life to supporting his fellow workers and mining communities.

He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2015 recognising his contribution.

Bill started his working life at Abermain No 1 Colliery aged just 14. From an early age he was an active unionist, becoming Lodge President in the 1950s and progressing through the ranks of the Miners Federation.

He became District President in 1975 when news came that the Nymboida Colliery was to close and the miners there were to be left without their entitlements.

Under Bill's leadership the workers refused to take the sack and the mine owners eventually signed the lease over to the Miners Federation. Bill was instrumental in establishing the United Collieries joint venture and Mineworkers Trust that continues to support mining families and communities.

In retirement, Bill continued to play an active role in the Retired Mineworkers Federation and was a regular presence at union events. He will be sadly missed.

Our hearts go out to Bill's family, especially his beloved wife Betty.