Mr George Chapman AO

George was resident at Emmanuel College from 1956 to 1958 while he completed a Bachelor of Surveying. He set up his first surveying practice in 1961 at the age of 23, learning not only about surveying but also the day-to-day running of a company.

Since then, George has gone on to develop several thousand allotments in the Cairns region, the Gold Coast and Brisbane. His ability to deliver complex and innovative developments and community projects, such as Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, Tiapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and Harbour Lights Apartments, demonstrates his determination in overcoming challenges and his entrepreneurial spirit.

In 1967, George co-founded the Cairns Regional Development Bureau (now known as Tourism Tropical North Queensland), encouraging employment, industry and population growth in the region.

George was appointed to the board of Telecasters North Queensland Limited (TNQ) in 1990 and was Chairman from 1992 to 1998. In 1998, TNQ was delisted and restructured as Ten Network Holdings Limited where George was a director from 1992 until 1999.

Other board appointments include:

  • Chairman and owner-operator of Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
  • Chairman of the Far North Queensland Promotion Bureau from 1975 to 1981
  • Chairman of Cairns Port Authority from 1996 to 1999
  • Chairman of TAB Queensland Ltd and UniTAB Ltd from 1999 to 2006
  • Director of Tattersall’s Ltd from 2006 to 2008

George has been involved in the boards of not-for-profit groups including the Far North Queensland Youth Assistance Fund Inc. since 1981, trustee for the Queensland Cancer Fund since 1996, and the Cairns District Advisory Board of the Salvation Army.

He has been described in the media as a distinguished businessman and a tourism and education visionary. In 2009 he received an Honorary Doctor of Commerce from James Cook University (JCU). On this occasion, JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding described him as having had a career of outstanding service and distinguished public contributions, and making an exceptional contribution to JCU.

A Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, George received the Queensland Division’s Gold Medal Award in 2003 for his outstanding service as a company director, and was made an Officer in the Order of Australia in the 2002 Australia Day Honours List for his outstanding services to tourism, business, education and the community of North Queensland.

View the other Honorary Fellows