Batmania and Gotham City (aka Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)



Melbourne, in Victoria a south eastern state of Australia, was originally named Batmania.

Not, I must quickly add, after the comic-book hero of Gotham City, who was unknown at the time, but after an explorer named John Batman who explored much of the region, in the middle of 1835.

Batman negotiated with the elders of the Wurundjeri tribe of Aborigines and bought some 2400 square kilometres upon which to found the city. After a couple of years and once the city started to develop it, of course, needed a name. So it was named Batmania after Batman, its originator.

However, the name didn’t last long. Just a few months later the name was changed to Melbourne, after the then British Prime Minister, William Lamb, The Second Viscount Melbourne.

Today one of the few, and perhaps the most ostentatious, remaining memory of the Gotham City name is a brothel in Melbourne. Advertised as “Gotham City, House of Sin” and “Australia’s best and only 6 star establishment”, it offers a wide range of facilities. Looking at the photographs it is obviously not the place for a cheap night out for the boys. Their internet presence makes them hard to miss if you search for Melbourne Gotham City!

There is also a hangover cure called “Gotham City Deep Detox”. According to the Greene St. Juice Co’s website, it is “Darker than Gotham City, this elixir is a major detoxifier.  Medicinal grade activated charcoal is known as the best single detoxifier for whole body cleansing.” Given the Aussies propensity for hard drinking it probably sells very well.

Melbourne also has a long-time reputation for crime and corrupt police officials in ‘the good old days’ which causes some people to refer to it as the Gotham City of Australia.

Every night around sunset Melbourne CBD is invaded by tens of thousands of bats. They fly into the area from the Yarra Bend Park along the Yarra River, and settle onto the tops of the buildings in the CBD. It is said to be one of the highlights of Melbourne night-life, for those who like their nature close to home.

Melbourne must be one of the few (the Melbournians would claim ‘only’) cities in the world that has a holiday for a horse race. On the afternoon of the first Tuesday in November, every year, the whole city (and much of the rest of Australia) comes to a complete stop for the running of The Melbourne Cup.

Melbourne also has the reputation of being the rainiest city in Australia. Everyone thinks it is a gloomy place of rain and fog, but it’s not that bad. Having lived there I think that the reputation is overstated and probably a result of the constant conflict between Melbourne and Sydney over which is the ‘best’ city in Australia.