John Batman was born in 1801 to a family of free settlers in the young city of Sydney and spent the first half of his life getting rich through acquiring land around his home town and in the southern Island state of Tasmania.

In 1835, in an attempt to increase his wealth by opening up parts of Australia that other Europeans hadn’t got to yet, he was at the forefront of an effort to establish a settlement in the place where Melbourne stands today.

His plan to pay the Aboriginal people who were already there a rent of sorts for the land consisting of blankets and tomahawks came to almost nothing, although it does set him apart as being one of the more considerate figures in Australian colonial history.

After Batman founded his town on the banks of the Yarra river it took them two years to get around to giving the place an official name.

One of the names they seriously considered was Batmania.

Regrettably they decided to name it after the then Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, instead.


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