Faces of Tamworth: Joseph Chaffey arrives to Tamworth in 1852

The family of Joseph Chaffey. Photo: Tamworth Historical Society

The family of Joseph Chaffey. Photo: Tamworth Historical Society

CHAFFEY is a name synonymous with Tamworth.

Flip through the white pages and you’ll soon realise just how many Chaffeys occupy the region.

Go for a drive around town – Chaffey Dam, Chaffey’s Mower Clinic, Chaffey's Black Belt Academy just to name a few – and you’ll learn the importance the name carries.

But how did the family come to arrive in Tamworth? 

Joseph Chaffey reached Sydney on October 4, 1852 aboard the “Kate”, a 310-tonne brig, according to A Chronological History of Tamworth.

He was an assisted immigrant, his shipping record marked “Deposit Regulations, Mr Dangar”.

“It is not sure who this “Mr Dangar” was but in any case, Joseph Chaffey did not report to him and found his way to Tamworth instead,” A Chronological History of Tamworth states.

“He had been prompted to leave England for financial reasons.

“His father, Joseph Chaffey Snr, of Tintinhull in Somersetshire, had died in 1840, leaving a widow and eight children, the eldest only twelve years of age.

“Only three weeks after his death, a ninth child, William Adolfus was born.

“Joseph was only five when his father died and only seventeen when he decided to come to Australia.

“After arriving in Tamworth, he took on a number of different jobs but would have lived in constant fear of exposure because he had not fulfilled his obligations to Mr Dangar.

“An unconfirmed story has it that one day, near lunch time, Chief Constable James Dwyer paid what he implied was a “friendly” visit to Joseph Chaffey’s hut near the Peel River in Tamworth.

“Fearing that the visit might be more “official” than Dwyer was admitting, Chaffey invited the officer to lunch and then excused himself while he went to the river to get a fish he had on the line.

“Constable Dwyer waited but saw no more of his host or the fish.

“After this incident, Chaffey removed himself from the immediate Tamworth area and found work at Loomberah.

“It is not clear if this was a new job or whether he had been there before as a shepherd and had only been working temporarily in Tamworth.

“Years later, his grandson William H. Lye, the son of Charles Henry Lye who had married Chaffey’s daughter, Honour, took his grandfather with him to his Loomberah farm, one of the 1909 Government Resumption blocks.

“The old man told Lye that he had once worked there as a shepherd for the A.A. Company and surprised his grandson by retrieving a tomahawk from the remains of an old hut and claiming it to be his own.”

The Chaffey name still has great significance to Tamworth and surrounds. 

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