To Be Batman or Not to Be

Greetings funny names fans! For those of you who’ve been around for a while, you know I have a penchant for comics and their authors. I spent a wonderful weekend with my better half at the Emerald City Comic Con. Which is where I ran into this fine fellow, who also was one of the event speakers.

Batman and Friend ECCC 2017.png

“I am Batman.”

Or is he?

While doing some research for something else—okay, I was watching the “Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries” and didn’t know the exact location of Melbourne on the Australian continent—I discovered Batman’s pivotal role in the founding of Melbourne; Australia’s movie capital and most populous city.

Meet John Batman, Australian colonialist, born in Paramatta, Australia, (now part of Sydney) in 1801. He earned a controversial place in Australian history.

John Batman.png

John Batman.

Batman moved from Sydney to Tasmania and participated in a program to remove the indigenous population. The British government granted him lands for his successful removal of the aboriginals using aboriginals he knew from the Australian mainland. He could not cultivate the land but it was suitable for cattle grazing.

In hopes of getting more land, he lead an expedition out of Tasmania to the southern part of the colony of Victoria up the Yarra River.

Batman created a treaty with the Kulin peoples, the aboriginals native to central Victoria, for the land. He exchanged blankets, axes, knives, scissors, mirrors, handkerchiefs, flour and six shirts for the property. He named the settlement “Batmania”. To this day the treaty he negotiated is still a matter of historical debate.

The Governor of New South Wales, Sir Richard Bourke, claimed the treaty invalid and seized Batmania for the crown. He renamed it for the British Prime Minister of the time, William Lamb, Second Viscount Melbourne. It was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria, a close friend of the Viscount’s.

Batman was diagnosed with syphilis in 1833.

By 1835, Batman amassed more than 7,000 acres and cattle and buildings and a large number of hands to work the property.

Batman built a house in Melbourne in 1836 to house his wife, convict Elizabeth Callaghan (she passed a bad check and was shipped to the penal colony of New South Wales—in lieu of a death sentence—and she wound up in the stocks several times then she met Batman in Tasmania), and their 8 children. His wife left him. He was cared for by local aboriginals until he died.

When he died in 1839 at the age of 38, Mrs. Batman found out he left her £5. She contested the will unsuccessfully.

To be Batman or not to be.

Elizabeth married her husband’s former clerk, William Willoughby, shortly after Batman’s death.

The wife formerly know as Batman died in a bar room brawl 14-years later.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom




About Fannie Cranium

Writing since she could first hold a pen, Tracy Perkins formed her alter ego, "Fannie Cranium" at the suggestion of her husband. Tracy understands smiling makes people wonder what she’s been up to.
This entry was posted in Funny names in History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to To Be Batman or Not to Be

  1. I had no idea about that history, none at all, or that Batman was ever a surname. Mr and Mrs Batman appear to have been very “interesting” characters. I’m glad to know another viewer of the Miss Fisher series. I gobbled it up when I found it on Netflix but have never encountered another person who has watched it.

    • Laura-I’m glad to know we’re not the only Miss Fisher fans out there. One of my siblings alerted me to the show. It’s such fun to watch. We’ve now made it to the end of series 3, but I’m hoping they will make a series 4 so we can find out what happens with Phrynie’s parents and Jack. Don’t want to give too much away in case someone else want to watch it.

      But I love the costumes, the story line, the characters, and just about everything else to do with it. Essie Davis can count me as a fan. And I’ve been a longtime fan of Mariam Margoyles, she is a fantastic Aunt Prudence. 🙂

      As to the Batman family, their descendants are still around the Melbourne area. One of them, Daniel Batman, was a sprinter and made it to the 2000 Olympic games. He had 3 children before he passed away in 2012 in an auto accident.

  2. Reblogged this on Fannie Cranium's and commented:

    Did you know that there was another Batman before the caped crusader? John Batman, this month’s contribution to the BoFN.

  3. kerbey says:

    Goodness, that’s a lot of odd twists and turns in his life. I’m glad I didn’t write a bad check back in those days! I surely would have gotten my comeuppance!

  4. aplscruf says:

    Holy syphilis, Batman! What crazy lives they led!

  5. ksbeth says:

    wow, sounds wild and wooly and crazy. glad she married willy willy in the end but then the end really came and wow, a barroom brawl.

  6. wdydfae says:

    “. . . Fannie gets her Batmania on as she travels down under to explore the balmy bylanes of Oz history . . .”

    “. . . It’s been bleak as a Batcave over at BoFN as far as blogposts go . . . Can Fannie save the day when she bursts out like a Batmobile with her new Batman bio? Find out now on Super Fannie Tuesday! Same bat time, same bat channel! . . .”

    “. . . Once a Betty Batman wed a John with syphilis . . .
    . . . after some shady bad check cashing schemes . . ”

  7. wdydfae says:

    “. . . Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie BATFAN!
    Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie Fannie BATFAN!

  8. parkerozgood says:

    “Died in a Bar Room Brawl” Awesome! That’s how I want to go!

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