Eliza Batman’s House: Unhomely Frontiers and Intimate Overstraiters in Van Diemen’s Land and Port Phillip
This chapter examines the overstraiter household and large enterprise of Eliza and John Batman, and the intimate and violent entanglements with Aboriginal people across two colonial frontiers in Southeastern Australia—Van Diemen’s Land and Port Phillip. It considers the cross-cultural affective economy of the Batman household amid the daily economic workings of pastoralism and labour on the frontier. Mobilising ideas of the domestic and the ‘unhomely’ the chapter argues that intimate affective economies recast acts of aggression as acts of kindness, and dispersal of Aboriginal families as care. On these gendered and uncertain domestic borderlands extreme violence and forced intimacy forged new vectors of imperial power. Here, land, homes, and children were taken from Aboriginal people and prosaic, proximate, and often unhomely relationships were made through the affective redescriptions of family.