Was Batman a Fraud?
'Batman's declaration that he signed a treaty for the Dutigalla land with eight chiefs from a family group of forty-five Aborigines was evidently fabricated. The Port Phillip Aborigines did not have chiefs, none of them were entitled to sell their clan land, and the land it was planned to purchase was not owned by one tribe but rather by at least five. The legal requirements of land transfer, such as prior marking of boundaries, were falsely claimed to have been undertaken; in any case, Batman could not have traversed the proposed boundaries which would have involved crossing the Dividing Range. Similarly, at least in the case of the Geelong land, the handing of some of the soil to the purchaser does not seem to have taken place. The Port Phillip Aborigines did not understand the language of the New South Wales Aborigines [accompanying Batman] and would not have understood the transaction which Batman allegedly proposed to them; their correct names were not obtained and it seems that they understood the negotiations to be an expression of their custom of exchanging gifts. The deeds were incomplete and did not include a description of the proposed purchase when supposedly signed. The marks entered as the Aborigines' signatures had no meaning and were entered in the deeds by someone else.'
Keywords: Batman, John, coexistence, land boundaries, land ownership, New South Wales, Port Phillip Association, treaties, treaties, 1835
'John Batman and the Aborigines', Kibble Books, p 106.
Author: Rowse, Tim and Graham, Trevor
Source: Cambell, Alastair H