Frank Chapman and the Norwood Football Club both played their first game in the South Australian Football Association before more than 1,000 spectators at Adelaide Oval on 18 May 1878 – as opponents. Frank made his debut with South Adelaide that historic Saturday, when the only goal scored came from the right boot of Norwood’s George Giffen after he had discarded his left boot because of foot soreness. Frank joined Norwood the following season and celebrated five successive premierships.
Norwood was strengthened in 1879 by the accession of Alfred ‘Topsy’ Waldron, Joe ‘Curly’ Pollock and John Lowe from Victoria, and Chapman, Harry Thurgarland and Ted Colbey from South Adelaide. In its end-of-season appraisal, the Evening Journal rated the best recruits as Pollock, “a grand follower”, and Waldron, “unsurpassed as a back player”. Colbey was not up to his previous season’s form, but Lowe had “proved himself a splendid man”, and Thurgarland and Chapman were ”acquisitions to the team”.
Frank was a quick and unselfish forward. During Norwood’s 1880 visit to Victoria, he made the best players in the drawn game with South Melbourne at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground on 7 July. A powerful performance by George Giffen enabled Norwood to score 1.5 before a late goal took the home team to an equalizing 1.11, behinds not counting in those days.
Frank was part of the great team effort which carried Norwood to an amazing 5.5 to 1.6 triumph over Essendon at Kensington Oval on Saturday 23 June 1883.
He retired after that season but is for ever remembered as a Norwood Football Club Life Member.
Frank was born on 25 March 1860. He was the first son of 10 children born at Mount Barker to William Chapman and his wife Sarah, née Skurray. Frank was the brother of Ada, Alice, Jessie, Emily, Julia, William, Ernest, Harry and Henry.
Frank married Alice Gilbert of Mount Barker at St Bartholomew’s Church, Norwood, on 24 May 1898. He was running a grain and wine store at Mount Barker in 1900. He died at Kent Town on 2 April 1928.
P Robins, D Cox Nov 2020