Batman's treaty with the Aborigines at Merri Creek
A depiction of Batman's meeting with the Wurundjeri Aborigines at Merri Creek and the alleged signing of Batman's 'treaty'.
When John Batman arrived in Port Phillip in 1836, he approached local Indigenous leaders with a contract, to ‘buy' their land. He claimed his negotiations were successful, and as a result he owned 240,000 hectares of prime farming terrain – almost all of the Kulin people's ancestral land.
This painting also shows laid out on blankets some of the items Batman offerend the Wurundjeri in return for their lands, including mirrors, shirts and beads - a token payment for an enormous stretch of valuable land.
Like many depictions of this event, it was created more than forty years after the events shown. It's also interesting to note there are no images of Batman that were created while he was alive, so we don't know what he actually looked like.
John Wesley Burtt, circa 1875. Painting: oil on canvas.
Accession number: H92.196
From the State Library of Victoria's Pictures Collection.