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1860 Batman's Hill and Houses


An early 1860 photograph of Batman's Hill, showing some of John Batman's house and outbuildings. Batman's Hill was a natural hill, approximately 18m high, which helped to defined the western edge of Melbourne's CBD. After his arrival to the area in 1835, Batman established a garden and a house on the southern side of the hill. He lived there until his death in 1839. After that date his widow and family were moved from the house and the government requisitioned the buildings for government offices. 

Batman chose well, as the Hill was described thus:
"Beautiful grass, a pleasant prospect, a fine fresh-water river, and the vessel alongside the bank discharging at musket-shot distance from the pleasant hill. The garden will trend to the south by the east side of the hill. The west side of the hill is a beautiful prospect. A salt lagoon and piece of marsh will make a beautiful meadow and bounded on the south by the river. The hill is composed of rich, black soil, thinly wooded with honeysuckle and she-oak. "

The Hill was levelled by 1866 in order to extend the railyards and goods sheds of the Spencer Street Station.

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Photograph attributed to John H. Jones (1817c-1872).

The notes from the State Library tell us that the original image is a stereograph of Batman's Hill by "John H. Jones who was a watercolour painter and professional photographer, listed as a photographic artist of 41 Collins Street West, Melbourne in 1861-62; moved to St Kilda in late 1862 ."

This is a digitally retouched reproduction of the original held by the State Library of Victoria. All prints are reproduced without the HOTPRESS watermarks.

Our team of conservators have worked on a high resolution digital image in order to remove blemishes and artifacts such as stains, mould, scratches and damage caused by the handling of the original. We strive to provide authentic representations of the original work that are suitable for enlargements that retain the tones and character of the original.

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