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John Batman
21 January 1801 - 5 May 1839


Born Batman was born 21 January 1801 at Rosehill, Parramatta to William and Mary Batman who came to Sydney in 1797 aboard the Ganges.
Early life

John Batman was an Australian grazier, businessman and explorer who is best known for his role in the founding of a settlement which became Melbourne and the colony of Victoria.

In 1821 John (aged 20 years) and brother Henry journeyed to Van Diemen's Land (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 Tasmania

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 had got away.

Batman became a grazier and participated in the capture of Tasmanian Aborigines.

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.


Batman sought land grants in the Western Port area, but the New South Wales colonial authorities rejected this.

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.

When he found the current site of central Melbourne, he noted in his diary of 8 June 1835, "This will be the place for a village." and declared the land "Batmania".

Aboriginal Treaty
Batman's Treaty negotiations with Aborigines took place in June 1835 on the banks of the Merri Creek in present-day Northcote, Victoria (in 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."
Melbourne 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 and his son drowned in the Yarra River, Melbourne.


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.

He 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 World of Trivia', 'Dear Grandpa Pencil' and 'A Cheapskate's Guide to Exploring Tasmania By Car'
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Published by Robin A Cartledge ~ ABN 19 924 273 138 ~ Low Head, Tasmania ~ Contact/Comment