Alfred George Chapman became well known as a builder and contractor in the 1870s. He was born in London in 1834 and migrated to South Australia in his 20th year, starting in Adelaide as a carpenter. He was the first carpenter to be employed by the Railway Department and was one of the party who assisted Charles Todd in his earliest enterprise – the first government telegraph line to Port Adelaide in 1856. Soon after Chapman started his own business as a builder and contractor.
The best surviving example of his workmanship is the Crown & Sceptre Hotel in King William Street. He also built several additions to public buildings, notably the servants quarters at Government House in 1869, alterations to the Legislative Council in 1874 and the Supreme Court in 1875.
James White was also a successful tradesman as a galvanised-iron worker, plumber and gasfitter. White and Chapman were well acquainted as they both worked at one time for plumbers, Gray and Co., after which White opened his own premises in Carrington Street. He worked on a number of large government contracts including schools and the Adelaide Children’s Hospital, as well as commercial buildings.