Grace Elizabeth Chapman

Grace Elizabeth Chapman

Name: CHAPMAN Grace Elizabeth

Date of Birth: c.1879

Birth Location: North Capel Farm, Stirling Estate, Capel.

Maiden Name: ROBERTS

Also Known As: Grace Elizabeth Shiel

Age at Burial: 48 years.

Date of Death: 23 July 1928

Death Location: “Summerlea”, Stirling Estate, Capel

Date of Burial: 24 July 1928

Denomination: Anglican B

Row/Grave: Row 11 / Grave 143 (Confirmed by Grandson)

Grave Transcription: Unmarked Brick Surround.

CDCP Grave Marker: Grave Marker with Plaque, placed by CDCP volunteers,  24 May 2023 (image below).

Father: Charles Fox Roberts born: 22 February 1844, North Capel Farm, Capel. Died: 20 January 1923 “Lutterworth”, Capel. Buried Capel Cemetery.

Mother: Hannah Hurst born: 17 March 1841, Leicestershire, England. Died: 14 August 1917, Perth. Buried Capel Cemetery.

Grandfather (Father): William Jenkin Roberts (Snr) born: 1796, Veryan, Cornwall, England. Died: 26 April 1883. Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery.

Grandmother (Father): Isabella Jenkin 1799, Cornelly, England. Died: 9 August 1875. Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery.

Grandfather (Mother): Unknown

Grandmother (Mother): Eliza Hurst born: 22 January 1823, Leichestershire, England. Died: 1850 Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England.


William Charles Fox Roberts born: 21 July 1865 Capel. Died: 8 January 1946. Buried Nannup Cemetery. 1. Married 1888 Mary Longbottom. 2. Married 1909 Alice Maud Hambridge.

Clara Ann Roberts born:  1866 Capel. Died: 11 January 1931. Buried Karrakatta Cemetery. Married 1888 William James Bovell.

Susan Sophia Roberts born: 1867 Capel. Died: 7 September 1928. Buried Brighton Cemetery Melbourne. 1. Married 1892 George Crampen Rosselotty. 2. Married 1898 Rev. John “Jack” Beukers.

Herbert Henry Roberts born: 21 March 1969 Capel. Died: 20 October 1942. Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 1898 Rose Campbell Forrest.

Frank Albert Roberts born: 17 March 1871 Capel. Died: 22 January 1939. Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 1894 Mary Jane “Janie” Higgins.

Capel Hannah “Pink” Roberts born: 1872 Capel. Died: 17 December 1920. Buried Karrakatta Cemetery. Married 1904 James Hargrave Shekleton.

Charles Basil Roberts born: 1873 Died: 15 December 1873 (lived approx. 6 weeks) Buried Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery.

Edith Isabella Roberts born: 1874 Capel. Died: 27 November 1953. Buried Bunbury Cemetery. Married 1893 Arnold William Chapman.

Catherine “Emily” Roberts born: 1876 Capel. Died: 15 October 1954. Buried Old Mandurah Cemetery. Married 1899 George “Melville” Tuckey.

Baby Girl Roberts born/died: 15 July 1878 (14 hours)

Charles Basil “Bon” Roberts born: 1881 Capel. Died: 29 August 1936. Buried Capel Cemetery.  1. Married 1907 Margaret Emily Roberts. 2. Married 1911 Elizabeth “Cis” Thompson (nee Nelms)

Ilma Jane Roberts born: 1886 Died: 18 December 1920. Buried Karrakatta Cemetery. Married 1913 Thomas Evans “Jack” Glynn.

Spouse: 1. James Phillip Shiel born: 1869 Wicklow, Ireland. Died: Unknown – there is a James Phillip Shiel who died at Fremantle Hospital in 1928 aged 59 years. (BDM WA)

2. David John Chapman born: January 1890, Hampstead, England. Died: 25 October 1959. Buried Capel Cemetery.


Baby Girl Shiel born: 1901 Busselton. Died: 1901 Busselton.

Ursula Roberts Shiel born: 3 January 1903 Geraldton. Died: 21 November 1966. Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 28 April 1926 Henry Thomas “Brownie” Dunkley.

John Charles “Jack” Shiel born: 1904 Geraldton. Died: 17 December 1921 Buried Kalgoorlie.

Charles Roberts Shiel born: 10 April 1907 Moora. Died: 10 November 1921 Buried Kalgoorlie.

Beatrice May “Betty” Chapman born: 1922 Kalgoorlie. Died: 26 April 1997. Buried Capel Cemetery. Married 1943 Edwin “Keith” Turner.

Occupation: Home duties, Hotel and boarding housekeeper, postmistress.

Their Story:

Grace Elizabeth Roberts was the 11 th child born to parents Charles and Hannah Roberts of North Capel Farm on the Stirling Estate. The previous year they had lost a baby girl shortly after birth.

As part of a large family, Grace would have enjoyed the attention of the older children, although there would have been plenty of chores to keep the household and farm running smoothly. When Grace was about 7 her father bought the neighbouring farm, Stratham Park, also part of the Stirling Estate, and built a new home. Grace’s brothers, William Charles Fox Roberts and Frank Albert Roberts remained at North Capel Farm whilst the rest of the family moved to the new home at Stratham Park. Around the same time land at Balingup was also purchased. This was named Golden Valley. Charles and the boys built another home for the family on this property also.

In 1888, both brother William and sister Clara married. This would have been very exciting for 9-year-old Grace, and it wasn’t long before she became an Aunty.

Grace and the other children attended the Stratham School. They also enjoyed visiting the neighbours and many relatives in the district, cooking for picnics and boating on the nearby lake. Grace’s parents spent time going between Stratham and Golden Valley. Both farms were considered home. When away from Stratham, older brother, Herbert was in charge of the farm and older sister, Capel, known as Pink, kept the house running. Pink was also still going to school with the other children, to help boost the numbers.

Sister Emily was a great letter writer, and it is from these that we get a glimpse of life for the Roberts’s in the 1890’s. The children were often accompanying their parents to Golden Valley. They were attending Show or Race Balls in Bridgetown, The Vasse, Donnybrook or Bunbury and went to race meetings in the district. They also rode in the shows but had to take it in turns, planning which show they would go to as there had to be someone who stayed at home. Between times they helped on the farm or in the kitchen and washing took the whole day! They always had to make time to attend church services when the Reverend was visiting the area. Grace and the others at Stratham Farm had measles or chicken pox in July 1898, they weren’t sure which but apparently, they were extremely itchy. Grace was bridesmaid for Frank and Janie in 1894, for Herbert and Rosie in 1898, then for Emily and Melville in 1899. In 1900 Grace was the bride when she married James Phillip Shiel, in Pinjarra. James had come from Ireland on the SS Lusitania in September 1896. He had entered the Police Force in Western Australia. In 1899, Constable Shiel is stationed in Busselton.

Trove Article – Constable Shiel

In 1901, Grace and James had a stillborn baby girl. In 1903, they had been transferred to Gullewa, a small town in the Yalgoo Goldfields approximately 160km from Geraldton. On the electoral roll Grace is postmistress and James is police constable. Grace and James second baby daughter arrived, healthy and well.

Trove Article – Birth of Ursula.

Another baby, this time a son, was born in 1904. They named him John Charles Shiel. They were still living in Gullewa. Grace is still the postmistress and James police constable in 1906. By 1907, when Charles Roberts Shiel was born the family were living in the Moora district.

The family are recorded living in Hampton Road, Fremantle in 1910 but by 1912 they have moved to 133 Wittenoom Street, Boulder. Grace is doing home duties and James is now Police Corporal. Sometime in the next 3 years, James left the police force and became the Lessee and Licensee of the Maritana Hotel. The family appear to be living at the hotel. James apparently started drinking and life changed for the family. In February 1915, in the Kalgoorlie court, Grace applies for separation and maintenance, the reason given was persistent cruelty.

Trove Article – Application for Separation

Trove Article – Application Granted

Grace and the children, in 1916 are living in King Street. She took in boarders to help make ends meet. One of these boarders was David John “Peter” Chapman who worked as a miner. Grace and Peter began a relationship but once again, Grace found herself facing James in the Kalgoorlie court.

 Trove Article – In Trouble Again

Life then seems to have settled for Grace. In 1917, Grace, her children and Peter are living in North Terrace, Boulder. Peter is listed as a truck driver. James, aged 45 years, and 9 months, enlists in the army. His occupation is now a tunneller. His record shows Grace as his Next of Kin. He is discharged after 6 months, medically unfit because he is too easily fatigued. Grace’s mother, Hannah, passed away in August of that year.

Grace’s life took a very sad turn when typhoid fever took both her boys. Charles, 14, in November and then John, 17, in December of 1921. Both boys were buried in the Catholic section of the Kalgoorlie Cemetery.

Trove Article – Death of Son.

Trove Article – Death of Jack.

Trove Article – Memorial

The arrival of new baby, Beatrice May “Betty” in 1922 must have bought the family great joy. Early in 1923 Grace’s father Charles Fox Roberts died. Around this time Grace, Peter, Ursula and baby Betty came home to Capel to live. In 1925 the family are living at “Brooklands”, Capel. Ursula had become part of the Capel community and had met local boy Henry Thomas Dunkley, known as Brownie Dunkley. In 1926 there was a wedding.

Trove Article – Ursula getting Married.

Sadly, Grace died unexpectedly in July 1928, at the age of 48.

Trove Article – Obituary of Grace Elizabeth Chapman.

If you are visiting this page and have further information that pertains to Grace Elizabeth Chapman that you would like to add, can you please contact The Capel District Cemeteries Project via the CONTACT US section at the bottom of the main page.

Compiled and Researched by DC Member of the CDCP Team.

© Capel District Cemeteries Project 21/06/2022


Pink left, Grace right with Jess Glew middle
John, Ursula and Charles Shiel.
Grace Elizabeth Chapman nee Roberts
Grace Elizabeth Chapman - Marker
Grace Elizabeth Chapman - Marker