St George Eisteddfod
Tribute to Mrs Ann Chapman

About this Item
SpeakersFicarra The Hon Marie
BusinessAdjournment, ADJ

Page: 2209

The Hon. MARIE FICARRA (Parliamentary Secretary) [6.41 p.m.]: Tonight it gives me great pleasure to honour a good friend and wonderful human being, Mrs Ann Chapman. Ann has worked tirelessly all her life to support the arts, with a love of music that emanated from her mother, who was a strong soprano and who encouraged her daughter to become an extraordinary piano player and singer. This legacy continues in the Chapman family, with Ann taking her beautiful and talented granddaughter, Jayne, to singing lessons every Thursday afternoon for the past two years to nurture her talent, and the results have been worth every minute.

In the wider community, Ann has been running the St George Eisteddfod for 14 years while being president from 1997 to 2011. In 1997 those associated with the St George Eisteddfod appealed to Ann to take over as president because the society was failing. Ann typically accepted the challenge and has developed it into a successful and competitive forum for the encouragement of Australian talent. Indeed, this year the ninetieth anniversary of the St George Eisteddfod was marked by an incredible talent pool being displayed at recent annual performances. Competitors travelled from Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane to enter, and the majority of entrants came from the St George area.

To manage such a high-calibre event requires enormous energy, organisation and commitment. It is a testament to Ann that the St George Eisteddfod has been running so beautifully for the past 14 years. Each year, Ann becomes the heart and soul of a growing community of musicians with burgeoning talent. Ann gets joy and contentment from fostering others. Without her, it would not have been possible for the eisteddfod to have continued, let alone achieve its level of excellence. Before Ann took over the eisteddfod, it did not have a full vocal section. She accepted the challenge and can now be proud of having created a contemporary vocal section and a classical vocal section. Ann has single-handedly organised contributions from different sponsors to present a $5,000 scholarship award for the winner of the operatic aria section.

The eisteddfod was conducted at the Kogarah School of Arts with thanks to Kogarah council, which was ably represented by Mayor Nicholas Varvaris. Such superb quality singing would have had no local competitive outlet if not for the efforts of such a dedicated and committed woman as Ann Chapman. I acknowledge Ann's fellow committee members: Leanne Harris, Frank Chapman, Joan McGrath, Tina and Peter Colagiuri, Lillian Coyle, Robert and Kathryn Phillips, Dulcie Meddows and Gordon Geraghty. Special thanks go to loyal sponsors, especially St George Central Rotary Club through its President, Mrs Val Colyer; Jetset Travel, Hurstville; the Kogarah Municipal Council; the Hurstville City Council, St George Bank, Club Central Hurstville, Rockdale RSL Sub-Branch, Hurstville Rotary Club, Travelscene Kogarah, Rockdale and Hurstville Lions Club, Kogarah Rotary Club and Dr Jane Hargood.

Ann's community contribution also extends to having operated a private opera company with Richard Gill in the 1980s, the St George Performing Arts Company, to foster local talent. Ann has served as a nurse and deputy matron at many different hospitals in the Sutherland and St George area for most of her working life. Ann also was a voluntary accompanist for Connells Point Public School in assembly and for concerts when her sons attended that school. Not surprisingly, she was the first to successfully run the St Josephs College and Newington College art shows. Ann also ran the first art shows in Prairie Vale Park, South Hurstville, for the local scouts group and taught them how to do so for a profit.

Ann has organised many fundraising events for the St George Hospital maternity ward during the time her husband, Dr Frank Chapman, was an obstetrician there. In fact, she was the first woman to get a car donated by Hurstville's Ferguson Toyota for the hospital's fundraising. And she did not stop there: in one year alone, she raised $100,000 for St George Hospital by sitting at Hurstville train station over the course of the year and receiving donations from the public along with hosting a large event at the St George Leagues Club for which she organised the Sydney Youth Orchestra and the famous band, the Delltones, to perform free of charge.

Ann has also been the backbone of the Liberal Party in the St George area for many years, in particular in my former electorate of Georges River. She coordinated polling booths on election day and prepolling as well as working for Liberal candidates at shopping centres. She also organised the overwhelming number of fabulous fundraising cabaret and dinner events that she has conducted for so many candidates, but especially me. Ann Chapman is an inspiration to many of us in the St George and Sutherland shire region. We can never repay her enough for her contribution to the arts, health and community services as well as maintaining a valued political social base for the betterment of our families' future.