Learning Sequences

For History teachers and students

Developed by HTAA (The History Teachers' Association of Australia)

Unit 3 - Foundation Story - Melbourne

Batman's Monument 2

The following activities refer to sources contained in Student Resources 5 and 6 (SR 5 and SR 6). At the conclusion of the activities there are a number of suggestions for Debates and Discussions. These are followed by the culminating Major Task for the unit.


  1. Refer to Foundation Sources 2 (SR 5) to answer the following questions:
    1. How do Source A and Source B expand our knowledge of the background to Melbourne's foundation?
    2. Using the Outline Map (SR 7) of South Eastern Australia, create another version of the map shown in the Historical Context of this unit to better reflect the information provided in Source A and Source B. Use the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies online Aboriginal Australia map as a reference.
    3. How does Source C expand our understanding of Batman's 'treaty'?
  1. Refer to Monument Sources 2 (SR 6) to answer the following questions:
    1. From Source A and Source B, explain what has happened to Batman's monument in recent decades. Why were the two plaques attached to the monument? (The Australian's 2017 article 'Never a last word on history' may be a reference for this question. However, also see question f. below regarding a date used in this article.)
    2. Account for the different wording of the two plaques. To what extent are the plaques and the original inscription on the monument reflective of the time in which they were created?
    3. Read Sources C, D and E and sum up what they are saying about monuments and history.
    4. Explain how Source F presents an alternative view about what should be done with Batman's monument.
    5. EXTENSION RESEARCH: Sources C, D and E were all published around the same time. What was happening in the United States at this time and how did this create a broader context for discussing the Batman monument?
    6. EXTENSION RESEARCH: Source B dates the attachment of the second plaque as around 2014. Other sources, for example Monument Australia, give the date as 2004. Try to find evidence of the correct date for when the second plaque was attached.


Debate the following statements with reference to the sources used in this unit:

  1. Batman's Treaty can be regarded both positively and negatively.
  2. Updating Batman's monument with a plaque was the best way of dealing with it.


Discuss this statement in relation to the Batman Monument.

  1. Historical Concepts
    Use the history of Batman's monument to explain any of the following historical concepts: significance, perspective and contestability.
  2. Civics and Citizenship
    What does the history of Batman's monument illustrate about Australian citizens' participation in civic life? (Consider how elements of diversity and national identity are involved and how the erection of the monument and later changes reflect the actions of individuals and groups.)
  3. History and Popular Culture
    To what extent are some of the issues raised by the history of Batman's monument dealt with in The Simpsons' episode 'Lisa the Iconoclast' (7th Season, 16th episode, 1996)?

Major Task

Use the sources provided in this unit, your responses to the activities and your own research to complete one of the following tasks.

  1. Create a video on the history of Batman's monument:
    • Use a documentary format that might be suitable for a general audience.
    • The video should run for 10 – 12 minutes.
    • Balance some use of expert 'talking heads' with good use of visual material, captions, soundtrack, transitions and technical devices.
    • Account for different perspectives but aim at an objective tone.
    • Minimise detailed referencing within the video but provide a reference list of all sources that have been used in the research or included in the video.
    • The overall aim is to produce interesting history that is evidence based.
  1. Edit and update the Australian Dictionary of Biography's entry for John Batman:
    • Use some of the detail in the current entry.
    • Reduce the length to a maximum of 1500 words.
    • Include concise new detail on Batman's memorial.
    • Add footnotes to reference any new source material.
    • Account for different perspectives but aim at an objective tone.
    • The overall aim is to produce interesting history that is evidence based.