Pascoe Vale

Some days, it’s very hard not to feel sorry for John Batman. The other John, John Pascoe Fawkner, has two large suburbs named for him. Batman has a train station and a few local streets to which Australia Post will grudgingly deliver mail if addressed that way.

The larger of Fawkner’s two suburbs is Pascoe Vale, named for him and also because it is, mostly, a vale (more accurately, a series of vales and some of the adjacent hilltops). But Pascoe Vale was not always called that (it was Moonee Vale first, for the Moonee Ponds Creek that flows through the vale in question), and it is mostly John Batman’s fault that it has the name it does.

In 1835, as the syphilis that would eventually claim his life made him irrational and short-tempered (or moreso, according to some), Batman demanded that he be allowed to address the informal gathering of the colony’s leaders. In his speech, he excoriated each of them, individually and collectively, for what he considered to be deficiencies of character and virtue, accusing them finally of being engaged in a criminal conspiracy to kill his son (who had drowned in the Yarra by accident, and whose death Batman never fully got over).

As a result, when the first colonial Parliament was established, these men, still smarting from the now-deceased Batman’s words, named two suburbs after his greatest rival and none after him.

In the end, the victory was to be Batman’s, and he needs not our pity. It’s not like small boys all over the world tie improvised capes around their necks and pretend to be John Pascoe Fawkner, after all.

Suburbs near Pascoe Vale:

Glenroy Glenroy Hadfield Hadfield
Oak Park Pascoe Vale Pascoe Vale Coburg North
Strathmore Pascoe Vale Pascoe Vale Coburg North
Strathmore Pascoe Vale Pascoe Vale Coburg
Strathmore Pascoe Vale South Pascoe Vale South Coburg
Essendon Pascoe Vale South Pascoe Vale South Coburg
Essendon Essendon Pascoe Vale South Coburg
Essendon Essendon Brunswick West Brunswick