The Batman deed, Melbourne

Reproduction of the original manuscript of John Batman's treaty with the Wurundjeri Aborigines.

In 1835, John Batman travelled to Port Phillip with the intention of ‘purchasing' the land around the bay on the behalf of the Port Phillip Association. Batman brought with him legal documents, which were allegedly signed by Indigenous leaders on the Yarra. However, what became known as ‘Batman's Treaty' was never recognised by the colonial government, which insisted that the land belonged to the crown according to the concept of terra nullius.

The "marks" allegedly made by indigenous 'chiefs' can be seen at the bottom right side of the page and bear quite a ressemblance to marks found in Batman's journal.


Created by John Batman, 6 June 1835. Manuscript.


Accession number: MS 13484


From the State Library of Victoria's Australian Manuscripts Collection.


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Batman's treaty