Elder shares rich life
First rodeo ride at the tender age of 15, the last at 53
FAMILY, culture, cattle and rodeos feature highly in the life of Eidsvold elder Oscar Chapman who, at 77, has fascinating stories to share.
Oscar’s mum didn’t make it to the old Eidsvold Hospital in time, so he was born on the hill nearby.
He remembers his teacher Tom Knox despite not being a regular attendee at school.
“I only went to school to Year 4. Mostly Iwas outworking,” Oscar said.
“I learned to read and love comics and westerns.”
Oscar describes his life as lucky because he competed in rodeos from age 15 to 53 but has never had a broken bone.
“On my first ride when I was 15 I won the novice bronc and went straight into the open,” he said.
“I learned to ride at Deepbank Station. There were a lot of tough horses there. I learned to work cattle there, too.”
Oscar also got the attention of his future wife, Lillian, while riding in rodeos.
“I rode better when she was watching and used to show off for her,” he said.
He chalked up many rodeo wins over the years at Eidsvold, Monto, Mt Perry and Mundubbera, and won the last ride he had at age 53.
He knew RM Williams well, describing him as “a nice man” and recalled taking him to see handprints and being taken back to his home to share a meal.
“I only rode in RM gear. It’s good to ride in,” he said.
Oscar and Lillian had 10 children. While they were growing up, Oscar worked on many cattle stations and travelled to Victoria once for the grape harvest with Lillian’s cousin.
Pride in his family and indigenous heritage are obvious. In his younger days Oscar travelled by train to cultural heritage meetings as far away as Clermont and once travelled to Longreach as a member of the Land Council.
Recently he gave the Welcome to Country at the opening of the Burnett Masonic Lounge and Sunroom at Eidsvold’s Multipurpose Health Centre, which is now his home, and watched with pride as his grandson, Jermaine Beezley, performed an indigenous play for the children at Eidsvold State School.
PROUD GRANDFATHER: Oscar Chapman attended the Eidsvold performance of his grandson Jermaine Beezley last week.