Bust (likeness) of John Batman from 1882 engraving
|Born||21 January 1801
Rosehill, New South Wales
|Died||6 May 1839
|Occupation||Grazier, Explorer, Pioneer|
|Parents||William Batman, Mary|
John Batman (21 January 1801 – 6 May 1839) was an Australian grazier, businessman and explorer who is best known for his role in the founding of a settlement which became the city of Melbourne and the colony of Victoria.
Batman's English parents, William and Mary Batman, came to Sydney in 1797 aboard the ship the Ganges. John was born in 1801 at Rosehill, Parramatta, now a suburb of Sydney, but at the time one of the early farming settlements of the fledgling colony.
Move to Tasmania 
In 1821 John (aged 20 years) and brother Henry journeyed to Van Diemen's Land (now known as Tasmania) to settle on land in the north-east near Ben Lomond. He acquired 'Kingston', a property said to be "...large in acreage and poor agriculturally,...".
In December 1825, or early 1826, Batman captured the notorious bushranger called Matthew Brady, resulting in an additional grant of land by the government. Brady had been wounded in the leg in a conflict with the authorities, but got away safely. John Batman, who was in Tasmania at the time, went out unarmed on his own in search of Brady, and found him quite accidentally. He saw a man limping in the bush near a shallow creek, and hastened forward to him. It was Brady. He induced Brady to surrender and return with him. The outlaw was ill and suffering much pain, and he did as Mr. Batman asked. Brady was duly sentenced to death.
Batman became a grazier. He participated in the capture of Tasmanian Aborigines in 1829. He employed mainland Aborigines hired in Sydney, New South Wales, for 'roving parties' hunting Tasmanians. Between 1828 and 1830, Tasmanians in this region were shot or rounded up by bounty hunters like John Batman.
As Tasmanian Colonial Governor, George Arthur, observed, John Batman "...had much slaughter to account for.". For example, in September 1829, John Batman (aged 28), with the assistance of several "Sydney blacks" he brought to Tasmania, led an attack on an Aboriginal family group together numbering 60–70 men, women and children in the Ben Lomond district of north-east Tasmania. Waiting until 11pm that night before attacking, he "...ordered the men to fire upon them..." as their 40-odd dogs raised the alarm and the Aborigines ran away into thick scrub, killing an estimated 15 people. The next morning, he left the place for his farm, with two badly wounded Tasmanian men, a woman and her two-year old boy, all of whom he captured. However, he "...found it impossible that the two former [the men] could walk, and after trying them by every means in my power, for some time, found I could not get them on I was obliged to shoot them." The captured woman, named Luggenemenener, was later sent to Campbell Town gaol and separated from her two-year old son, Rolepana, "...whom she had faced death to protect." Batman reported afterwards to British Colonial Secretary, John Burnett, in a letter of 7 September 1829, that he kept the child because he wanted "...to rear it...". Luggenemenener died on 21 March 1837 as an inmate at the Flinders Island settlement.
Later, Rolepana (aged 8 years), child-survivor of a massacre by a 'roving party' led by John Batman, travelled with him as part of the founding party of Melbourne in 1835. After Batman's death in 1839, Rolepana would have been 12 years old. Boyce notes that Rolepana was employed by colonist George Ware at 12 Pounds a year with Board on Batman's death, "...but what became of him after this is also unknown." However, Haebich records Rolepana as having died in Melbourne in 1842 (he would have been about 15 years). She also says that:
- Batman openly defied Governor Arthur and [George Augustus] Robinson by refusing to hand over two Aboriginal boys in his employ: Rolepana (or Benny Ben Lomond) and Lurnerminer (John or Jack Allen), captured by Batman in 1828. He claimed the boys were there with the consent of their parents,....He also demonstrated a strong proprietorial interest in the boys, when he told Robinson they were 'as much his property as his farm and that he had as much right to keep them as the government'. Indeed Batman was convinced that the best plan was to leave the children with the colonists, who clothed and fed them at no expense to the government and raised them to become 'useful members of society'. In a series of letters to Governor Arthur, he 'pleaded hard for the retention of youths educated by settlers and devoted to their service'.
Batman rose to prominence during the time of the Black War of 1830, during which (aged 29) he participated in the forming a line across the island to drive Tasmanian Aborigines from their lands into a 'manageable' area.
In February 1830, Batman wrote to the British Colonial Secretary, John Burnett, about his difficulty in 'coming up' with [i.e., capturing] the Tasmanian Aborigines. In the same letter, he asked in explaining his difficulty in capturing Tasmanians in the bush, "...if he could follow known [Aboriginal] offenders once they had made it 'to their own ground'.
Batman was diagnosed with syphilis in 1833.
By 1835, Batman's property, "...Kingston [near Ben Lomond (Tasmania)], covered more than 7,000 acres (2,800 ha), had appropriate animals and buildings, and numerous hands; but it was too rugged to be highly productive."
Foundation of Melbourne and Batman's Treaty 
Batman sought land grants in the Western Port area, but the New South Wales colonial authorities rejected this. So, in 1835, as a leading member of the Port Phillip Association he sailed for the mainland in the schooner Rebecca and explored much of Port Phillip.
Batman's Treaty negotiations with Aborigines took place in June 1835 on the banks of the Merri Creek in present-day Northcote (an inner suburb of Melbourne), "...using legal advice from the former Van Dieman's Land attorney-general, Joseph Gellibrand, and with the support of his Aboriginal companions from New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land."
Batman negotiated a treaty (now known as Batman's Treaty but also known as the Dutigulla Treaty, Dutigulla Deed, Melbourne Treaty or Melbourne Deed), with some local Aborigines to rent their land on an annual basis for 40 blankets, 30 axes, 100 knives, 50 scissors, 30 mirrors, 200 handkerchiefs, 100 pounds of flour and 6 shirts. It is unlikely that the Wurundjeri people would have understood this transfer of land or agreed to it if they had, but, as Percival Serle wrote, "No doubt the blankets, knives, tomahawks, etc., that he gave them were very welcome". In any case, Governor Bourke deemed such a treaty invalid as the land was claimed by the Crown rather than the Aborigines and other colonists including the rival party of John Pascoe Fawkner arrived to settle Melbourne.
Later life 
Batman and his family settled at what became known as Batman's Hill at the western end of Collins Street. He built a house at the base of the hill in April 1836. Batman's health quickly declined after 1835 as syphilis had disfigured and crippled him, and he became estranged from his wife, convict Elizabeth Callaghan. They had had seven daughters and a son. His son drowned in the Yarra River.
In his last months of his life Batman was cared for by the local Aborigines. On Batman's death on 6 May 1839, his widow and family moved from the house at Batman's Hill and the house was requisitioned by the government for administrative offices.
Batman was buried in the Old Melbourne Cemetery but was exhumed and re-buried in the Fawkner Cemetery, a cemetery named after his fellow colonist John Pascoe Fawkner. A stone obelisk was constructed in 1922 which was later moved to Batman Avenue before being returned to the Queen Victoria Market site in 1992.
Places named after John Batman 
- Batman Bridge (Tasmania)
- Division of Batman (Victorian electoral division)
- Batman Park (Melbourne CBD)
- Batman Park (Northcote, Victoria)
- Batman's Hill (Melbourne CBD)
- Batman railway station, Melbourne (North Coburg, Victoria)
- Batman Avenue, Melbourne
- Batman Avenue, Keilor Park
- Batman Avenue, Sunbury
- Batman Avenue, Hurstbridge
- Batman Avenue, Shepparton
- Batman Crescent, Bendigo
- Batman Lane, Surry Hills, New South Wales
- Batman Road, Toolamba
- Batman Street, Burnside Heights
- Batman Street, Footscray
- Batman Street, Altona Meadows
- Batman Street, Aberfeldie
- Batman Street, Fitzroy North
- Batman Street, Portarlington
- Batman Street, Thornton, New South Wales
- Batman Walk, Parramatta
- John Batman Drive, Melton West
- John Batman Gardens, Sandringham
See also 
- Brown, P. L. (1966). "Batman, John (1801–1839)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- Webb, Gwenda. "John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner". Companion to Tasmanian History. University of Tasmania. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
- Serle, Percival. "Batman, John (1801–1839)". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Project Gutenberg Australia. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- "LIFE OF BUSHRANGER POWER.". Western Mail (National Library of Australia). 12 February 1910. p. 43. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
- Henry Reynolds, (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin, Melbourne, p.50
- Henry Reynolds, (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin, Melbourne, p.78
- Bill Gammage, (2011) The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, p.40
- Rosalind Stirling, John Batman: Aspirations of a Currency Lad, Australian Heritage, Spring 2007, p.41
- James Boyce (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, pp.200–201
- Henry Reynolds, (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin, Melbourne, p.81
- Kristyn Harman, Send in the Sydney Natives! Deploying Mainlanders against Tasmanian Aborigines, University of Tasmania Web site (http://www.utas.edu.au), p.14
- James Boyce (2011) 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia, Black Inc, Melbourne, footnote #136 on p.236
- Anna Haebich, 2000, Broken circles: fragmenting indigenous families, 1800–2000, Fremantle Press, p.101
- Anna Haebich, 2000, Broken circles: fragmenting indigenous families, 1800–2000, Fremantle Press, p.100
- Henry Reynolds, (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin, Melbourne, p.69
- Henry Reynolds, (1995) Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin, Melbourne, p.128
- James Boyce, (2011) 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.74
- Bill Wannan, Australian folklore: a dictionary of lore, legends and popular allusions, Lansdowne, 1970, p.42
- Alexander Wyclif Reed, Place names of Australia, Reed, 1973, p.149
- James Boyce, (2008) Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.245
- James Boyce, (2011) 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia, Black Inc, Melbourne, p.85
- Sid Brown (November 2002). "Batman's Hill to Southern Cross – via Spencer Street". Newsrail: 335–347.
- "On These Days – Parliament of Victoria". www.parliament.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 2008-07-06.[dead link]
- "John Batman". www.whitehat.com.au. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
- Jacquelin Magnay (5 March 2005). "Brat's all folks: sprint ace Batman comes of age". Sydney Morning Herald. www.smh.com.au. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
- Thomas O'Callaghan (1918). Names of Victorian Railway Stations. Government Printer. ISBN 0-9580716-0-8. (2003 facsimile edition)
Further reading 
- Bell, Agnes Paton (1965). Melbourne: John Batman's village. Melbourne: Cassell
- Billot, C.P. (1979). John Batman : the Story of John Batman and the Founding of Melbourne. Melbourne : Hyland House. ISBN 0-908090-18-8
- Billot, C.P. (1985). The life and times of John Pascoe Fawkner. Melbourne : Hyland House. ISBN 0-908090-77-3
- Campbell, Alastair H. (1987). John Batman and the aborigines. Malmsbury, Australia: Kibble Books. ISBN 0-908150-09-1
- Harcourt, Rex (2001), Southern Invasion. Northern Conquest. Story of the Founding of Melbourne, Golden Point Press, Blackburn South. ISBN 0-646-40336-2
- Prior, Wannan and Nunn (1968). A Pictorial History of Bushrangers. Melbourne: Paul Hamlyn
- Attwood, Bain (2009), Possession: Batman's Treaty and the Matter of History, Miegunyah Press, Melbourne, (xviii + 416 pages)
- Boyce, James (2008), Van Dieman's Land, Black Inc, Melbourne ISBN 978-1-86395-413-6
- Boyce, James (2011), 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia, Black Inc., Melbourne ISBN 978-1-86395-475-4
- Reynolds, Henry (1995), Fate of a Free People: A Radical Re-examination of the Tasmanian Wars, Penguin, Melbourne ISBN 0-14-024322-4, at page 50, onwards for role in removal of Tasmanian Aborigines.
- Jan Critchett, (1990), A distant field of murder: Western district frontiers, 1834–1848, Melbourne University Press (Carlton, Vic. and Portland, Or.) ISBN 052284389
- Ian D Clark (1990) Aboriginal languages and clans: An historical atlas of western and central Victoria, 1800–1900, Dept. of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University (Melbourne), ISBN 0-909685-41-X
- Ian D Clark (1995), Scars in the landscape: A register of massacre sites in western Victoria, 1803–1859, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Canberra), ISBN 0-85575-281-5
- Ian D Clark (2003) ‘That’s my country belonging to me’ – Aboriginal land tenure and dispossession in nineteenth century Western Victoria, Ballarat Heritage Services, Ballarat.
- The Gunditjmara People with Gib Wettenhall, (2010) The People of Budj Bim: Engineers of aquaculture, builders of stone house settlements and warriors defending country, em Press, Heywood (Victoria)
- John Batman at Find a Grave
- Transcript of John Batman's journal at the State Library of Victoria.
- Batmania: a fun way to explore the people and events surrounding the foundation of Melbourne, images of the Batman Land Deed and other historical documents at the National Museum of Australia.