New South Wales Police Force
Constable Chapman was the officer in charge of Booligal Police Station, in the Deniliquin District. In mid-February, 1866 he set out on horseback to visit several properties in his area to serve summonses and carry out other duties. A few days later a report was received that his riderless horse had been seen near Tooragama, about twenty miles from Booligal, so Constable Barry went in search of him. Barry found the horse, without either saddle or bridle, and then he proceeded to call at every place where it had been Chapman’s intention to have called. The unfortunate constable was never seen alive again.
On 6 March, 1866 the Maitland Mercury reported that “Our correspondent at Hay reports that Constable Chapman is missing. It appears that, being stationed at Booligal, he left that place on Thursday fortnight to serve a summons at a station about forty miles distant. His horse, without saddle or bridle, was subsequently found, as were his waistcoat hanging on the branch of a tree, probably put there by the unfortunate man as a guide to those who might be, and are now, searching for him. Our correspondent hints at foul play but the central office here has no suspicion of such, believing that, having lost his way, he has perhaps perished from thirst. Let us hope not.”
Then, a fortnight later the Sydney Morning Herald of 21 March, 1866 reported that “The remains of the unfortunate Constable Chapman, lost in the bush near Deniliquin, were found a few days since and buried at Booligal Cemetery.”