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Sister Phillipa Chapman

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Sister Phillipa Chapman

Awarded for service to the Community

Born: 9 June 1939 Died: 29 June 2011

Entered on roll: 2013

…a trendsetter for social welfare issues and identified needs in areas…often overlooked.

Sister Phillipa Chapman, born in Melbourne on 9 June 1939, identified needs in the community that were often overlooked. No obstacle, either political or financial, deterred her. She was on a mission.

The vocational call to join the Sisters of Good Shepherd came in 1956, when Sister Phillipa was 17.

Sister Phillipa's work at Mount Saint Canice in Sandy Bay included the duties of chef, house mother, dental assistant and Director from 1972 to 1974. She also studied at the University of Tasmania's Conservatorium of Music and recorded three albums of her own compositions.

In 1975, Sister Phillipa transferred to the Good Shepherd Order to work at what is now Centacare Family Services as a counsellor and community development worker. As a community worker in Bridgewater, she played a pivotal role establishing the Bridgewater Neighbourhood Centre.

Sister Phillipa graduated as a social a worker in 1976. In 1978, she was appointed to Centacare's Office of Adoption and conducted research with relinquishing parents in Tasmania and Victoria, assessing their attitudes to having open access to birth files.

In 1980, Sister Phillipa travelled overseas to investigate services focussing on unplanned pregnancy, single mothers and post abortion support. The experience made her a valuable member of the Adoption Working Party that developed the Tasmanian regulations of the Adoption of Children Act 1988. The Act established the Adoption Information Service.

In 1989, Sister Phillipa was appointed Centacare's Executive Director and was instrumental in developing national social and community welfare courses by initiating family group homes, programs for young mothers, psycho-education programs for men who abuse their families; MARITAS (Marriage Education Association for the Archdiocese) and managing crisis events in the community.

Sister Phillipa dedicated her energies and care to new humanitarian entrants and broadened her knowledge of other cultures by learning their language, rituals and traditions and worked extensively with African refugees.

Sister Phillipa received the Tasmania Day Award 1985. She passed away on 29 June 2011.

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