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.
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.
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.