Published: 27 Sep 2023
L to R: Neil Oakes, CTA, Bronte Chapman, FTI and Tim Sandow, CTA
Bronte Chapman, FTI, from South Australia joined The Tax Institute just after leaving school and has been a member ever since – racking up an impressive tenure of over 72 years. Recently turned 88, Bronte is our longest serving member by an entire decade, with the next longest tenure trailing at 62 years (nothing to sneeze at either!).
Bronte is the third generation of his family business, and has worked in the same building in Mount Barker since he began his career. Started in 1909 by his grandfather, Henry Bruce Chapman, the business was called H.B. Chapman, and it had a wide portfolio of activities, including taxation, real estate lending and a farm machinery business to name a few.
In 1952, Bronte’s grandfather passed away and later that year, at just 17 years of age, Bronte began working in the family business alongside his father.
After a number of years doing taxation work under the guidance of his Father, Jack Chapman, it was decided that Bronte should sit for his own taxation licence. This involved going to the ATO office in Adelaide and sitting their exam. He passed that exam, and received his registration certificate number 17705009 on the 22nd December 1966. Bronte is also a registered conveyancer, having received his certificate of registration number RCO90 on the 16th June 1968.
“At the peak of my career, the firm was completing 800+ tax returns a year. It was very, very busy.” During this busy period, it was all hands on deck. The business employed full-time staff members, and Bronte’s aunt and mother also assisted with running the business.
The 70s brought about change. The Land and Business Agents Act 1973 was changed so that land agents and land brokers could not act in both capacities. Bronte applied for a special exemption and it was granted in September 1974, which allowed him to continue practicing in both Land Agent and conveyancing.
The Tax Institute’s National Councilor, Tim Sandow, CTA and Neil Oakes, CTA, Chairperson of our South Australian State Council recently visited Bronte, to talk about tax, membership and learnings over a career that spans nearly three-quarters of a century.
“Bronte’s is an incredible story. With 72 years of membership under his belt, he’s seen the Institute evolve practically from the start, and we’re so pleased to still have him with us,” Neil said.
“One of the wonderful things about being part of an organisation like The Tax Institute is the sense of being part of the history of the profession. Having the opportunity to meet and learn from someone with seven decades of professional experience is such a unique and special thing for young practitioners who may be thinking about where their career will take them,” Tim added.
Eventually, Bronte sold the taxation side of the business to another Institute member, Shane Teakle, CTA, of Teakle Accounting, who had already worked with Bronte on this front for many years. Despite this, the family legacy – and indeed Bronte’s own role – didn't end there.
Since the 2000s, Bronte's daughter and son have continued to work in the family enterprises. Bronte, though technically semi-retired, is still active in working part-time to assist them with running the conveyancing and real estate business. He still values good health by walking 10,000 steps per day (weather permitting) to remain sharp and knows the value of keeping skills up-to-date in a field like tax or conveyancing.
"I used to attend a lot of CPD events to keep up-to-date, and now I’m still involved in the business helping my children,” he said.
“I won’t be stopping anytime soon.”
Bronte in his youth used to play cricket, and his most memorable effort was when the Mount Barker Blues team was playing Nairne; Nairne had bowled Mount out, and they had to go in to bat. There was a thunderstorm building and Bronte opened the bowling as a medium-fast bowler. He finished up taking eight wickets for zero runs that late afternoon. It was never to be repeated again!