John Batman

Australian settler and explorer / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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John Batman (21 January 1801  6 May 1839) was an Australian grazier, entrepreneur and explorer. He is best known for his role in the founding of Melbourne.

Quick facts: John Batman, Born, Died, Burial place, Occupa...
John Batman
Early-20th-century drawing of Batman, based on an earlier engraving
Born21 January 1801
Died6 May 1839(1839-05-06) (aged 38)
Burial placeOld Melbourne Cemetery
Occupation(s)Grazier, entrepreneur, colonial founder
SpouseElizabeth Callaghan
Childrenseven daughters, one son (John Charles Batman drowned 1845)
Parent(s)William Batman, Mary

Born and raised in the then-British colony of New South Wales, Batman settled in Van Diemen's Land (modern-day Tasmania) in the 1820s, where he rose to prominence for hunting bushrangers and leading massacres of Aboriginal people in the Black War.

He later co-founded the Port Phillip Association and led an expedition which explored the Port Phillip area on the Australian mainland with the goal of establishing a new settlement. In 1835, Batman negotiated a treaty with Aboriginal people in Port Phillip by offering them tools, blankets and food in exchange for thousands of hectares of land. However, the treaty was declared void by the government and it has been disputed by Aboriginal descendants. This expedition ultimately resulted in the founding of Melbourne, eventual capital of Victoria and one of Australia's largest and most important cities. Batman moved to the colony with his convict wife, Elizabeth Callaghan, and their seven daughters, settling on what is now known as Batman's Hill. He died of syphilis shortly afterwards at the age of 38.

Batman's treaty stands as the only attempt by a European to engage Australian Aboriginal people in a treaty or transaction rather than simply claiming land outright. However, Batman's motives and the validity of the treaty remain of great historical interest and debate.