Batman Park, located on the corner of St. Geroges Road and Arthurton Road got it’s name from John Batman, one of Melbourne’s early pioneers who is famous for his treaty purchasing land from the aboriginal people of Port Phillip. Some believe that this deal was supposedly made by the Merri Creek in the Northcote area.
Early on during land subdivisions and sales around Northcote little consideration was given to reserving open spaces for parkland. In the early 1900s the only open space reserved for park land was Northcote Park in Westgarth street. In 1907 Northcote council acquired two other areas that could be developed as park land: Penders Grove, and four acres on the corner of St Georges Road and Arthurton Road. At the time this land was not really suitable for use as a park, having a gully run right through it. Once a stormwater drain was installed this gully was not used but it was referred to at the time as a ‘bog hole’ and not all were impressed with council spending money on such a useless piece of land.
Around 1916 there were plans to build a band rotunda but when an appeal went out to raise funds for the £220 structure, only 14 shillings were raised (just under $2).
In 1942, when war came to Australia, Batman Park was the home of Northcote’s largest bomb shelter. Residents were encouraged to build their own shelters if they had the room. The shelter at Batman Park could hold up to 400 people.
The kindergarten in Batman Park was opened Sunday 27th April 1952 by the Mayor of Northcote T. F. Walsh. Present at the opening was John Cain, State Labor leader who was in opposition at the time. He took the opportunity to suggest that more money be spent on keeping working mothers at home rather than spending on kindergartens and creches. It took almost seven years to raise the £7,000 needed to build the kindergarten.
Lemon, Andrew (1983). The Northcote Side of the River. North Melbourne: Hargreen.
'Out of the mouths'. (1952, April 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23176520
"WHY BUILD CRECHES?" ASKS MR. CAIN 'Pay working mothers to stay at home' Cheapen, he says. (1952, April 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 5. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23176542