Fremantle Stuff > People > Bateman Family

Bateman Family


John Bateman (1789-1855) arr. Medina 1830, bought lots, set up business. Memorial in Fremantle cemetery, at Congregational D3.


Sons: John (1824-1909), Walter (22 June 1826—24 September 1882). Firm J&W Bateman set up 1860. Walter (died unmarried) sold his share to John 1872. Walter Bateman's gravestone in Fremantle cemetery, at Congregational D3, also remembers his father John Bateman Snr.

bateman bros

John's son John Wesley Bateman (1852-1907) took over the firm from his father 1900. He had a son also called John Wesley Bateman (1879-1947) m. Daisy Kate Augusta (1892-1940). John Wesley Jnr died of 'ptomaine poisoning' 4 October 1947 and is buried in Fremantle Cemetery Congregational MON D 82.

The patriarch John Bateman (1789-1855) arrived on board the Medina 6 July 1830. He bought town lots 53 and 54, at the southern end of Mouat St, among the second group of buyers to do so. He also (according to Hitchcock: 110, 111) owned lot 59 (in Henry St), lots 274/5, and lots 294/295. John Jnr bought lot 297, and Mary Ann Bateman (JB Snr's wife) lot 418. John Bateman Snr was appointed the first postmaster 31 January 1835. He was in the business of whaling, among other things. He died in 1855 (by which time his wife Mary Ann had taken over as postmistress - her son Walter then took it over) and could have been buried in either the Alma or Skinner St Cemeteries. I don't know if he was reinterred in the new Fremantle Cemetery, but there is a memorial to him on his son Walter's gravestone there, at D 3. His sons took over the family business, as J&W Bateman. Top photo: John & Walter Bateman.


Photograph from Battye's 1912 Cyclopedia


The corner of Croke and Henry Streets looking very similar today. Now part of Notre Dame University.

john batemanOf those names two - Samson and Bateman - are still [1929] prominent in the town and they were the founders of the two oldest established commercial houses in the State. ... Although the firm of J. and W. Bateman was not established under its present name until 1860, its genesis dates back to 1830, when John Bateman, the great-grandfather of the present [1929] principals of the firm, arrived from England by the Medina and founded a business which is now in the front rank of commercial houses and which has played its part in the development of the State. Hitchcock: text/image, 16/14.

On January 31, 1835, John Bateman was appointed as the first postmaster at Fremantle. The first post office was in a little vine-clad cottage that stood well back from the street on lot 59 in Henry Street. Hitchcock: 23, 25.

... in the fifties and sixties [1850s, 1860s]. The rival crews then were those of John Bateman and Joshua J. Harwood, and when whales were sighted the boats of the two firms were manned immediately, while the townspeople congregated at various vantage points to watch the race for the prizes to be won. Hitchcock: 25.

john bateman

Hitchcock identifies this as the photo of 'John Bateman, Pioneer Shipowner, Merchant and Whaler', but it is unlikely to be John Bateman Snr, because he died in 1855, before photography like this was possible. Probably John Bateman II (1824-1909). Hitchcock's History, from which the image is taken, was published in 1929.

jw bateman

The original John Bateman, who came to the colony in 1830, was the first postmaster in Fremantle and was a member of the first Town Trust formed in 1848. His eldest son, John, became the largest shipowner in the State and employed a large number of men in the whaling and timber industries. Another son, Walter, was Fremantle's first representative in the semi-elective Legislative Council which came into being in 1868. A grandson, John Wesley Bateman [right], succeeded to the business established in 1857 under the firm name of J. & W. Bateman, which he had previously managed for many years after the death of his uncle, Walter, and the retirement of his father. He took an active part in everything appertaining to the trade of the port and promoted the West Australian Shipping Association in 1884. For five years in succession he was president of the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce. Hitchcock: 104.

batemanstoneOne of the Batemans built Kelso House, 111 South Terrace.

References and Links

Bott, Bruce 2001, 'Some of John Bateman's houses in and around Fremantle', Fremantle Studies, 2: 17-35.

Brown, Patricia M. 1996, The Merchant Princes of Fremantle: The Rise and Decline of a Colonial Elite 1870-1900, UWAP.

Hitchcock, JK 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.

Wikipedia entry for John Bateman 1789-1855

Geoffrey Bolton's entry for John Bateman 1789-1855 in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, 1966

Walter Bateman's gravestone in Fremantle cemetery, probably at Congregational D3, also remembers his father John Bateman >
The gravestone of John Bateman 2nd is probably at Congregational D28, adjacent.

Garry Gillard | New: 17 January, 2015 | Now: 11 March, 2018