John Batman Statue

John Batman Statue, Melbourne, Australia

Public Art : John Batman Statue

Sculptor : © Stanley Hammond

Date Unveiled : 26th January, 1979

Commissioned : Melbourne City Council

Description : A bronze statue of John Batman depicted in typical farming attire including high boots, a scarf and round rimmed hat. His right foot rests on his swag and he has head bowed looking down at a map resting on his knee in which he is marking with a pencil.

Location : Outside National Mutual Plaza, Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Inscription :

The statues of John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner were commissioned by Melbourne City Council
and unveiled 26th January 1979

John Batman 1801-1839

Born at Parramatta, New South Wales, on
21 January 1801, a skilled bushman, he
was a friend from boyhood of the
explorer, Hamilton Hume.

In 1821 Batman moved to Van Dieman's
Land, now Tasmania, and settles at
Kingston, near Ben Lomond in 1824. He
married Eliza Thompson. By 1835 he
had 7,000 acres of land.

When pastoral land in Van Dieman's Land
became fully stocked, settlers looked for
land across Bass Strait in 1835. Some
pastoralists funded an expedition, led by
Batman and carried in the sloop 'Rebecca'.
Landing at Iindented Head on 29 May,
Batman searched for aborigines with
whom he could negotiate a land purchase.

On 6 June a group north of Melbourne
agreed to sign the treaty document he hadbrought with him. The boundaries, defined later, took in the sites of both Melbourneand Geelong. Because the government didnot recognise native title, Batman's Treaty was deemed invalid.

On 8 June a boat party from the 'Rebecca'
rowed up the Yarra River in search of
water. In his journal, Batman wrote.
"This will be the place for a village."

When the 'Rebecca' sailed for Launceston
next day, Batman left three Europeans
and five New South Wales Aborgines at
Indented Head to warn off interlopers.

Batman's associates, including Swanston,
Wedge and Gellibrand, formed the Port
Phillip Association to gain recognition
for his purchase , but without success.

The Batman family settled in Melbourne
in April 1836. Batman died on 6 May 1839.

Revised 1996

Well, aren't you the lucky ones : One of the original names proposed for Melbourne was, Batmania. I suppose it would have been a darn sight better than Batmanland, I guess.

John Batman Exposed : In 1833 poor old Batman contracted syphilis from who knows where and began declining in health. His face became disfigured and his wife, Elizabeth, did a runner (understandably) and was later disinherited (understandably). Batman died at the age of 38, a broken man. His estranged wife remarried but was murdered in 1852. It isn't surprising that information about his awful disease were quietly swept under the carpet.


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