Mark Anthony BATEMAN
Victoria Police Force
Regd. # 30810
Rank: Senior Constable
Stations: ?, Northcote – death
Service: From ? ? ? to 20 May 2000 = ? years Service
Awards: No find on It’s An Honour
Born: ? ? 1970
Died on: Saturday 20 May 2000 @ 2.20am
Cause: Motor Vehicle Accident – killed instantly
Funeral date: ? ? ?
Funeral location: ?
Buried at: ?
Memorial at: Blue Ribbon Foundation Portland District Health Emergency Helipad
Funeral location: ?
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At approximately 2.20am on Saturday 20th May, 2000 Senior Constable Fiona Robinson and Senior Constable Mark Bateman were travelling along High Street, Northcote with emergency lights activated in response to an emergency call. At the intersection of Dennis & High Streets the divisional van they were driving collided with another vehicle before coming to rest against a traffic control signal and electricity pole. Both members were killed instantly. Fiona was 30 years of age.
ELEVEN years ago, Debra Bateman’s police officer husband was killed on duty. She chose to be strong.
Debra Bateman is the face of Blue Ribbon Day … a wonderful choice, as I will explain, and a job well done by the organisers.
I say job, because Debra, sorry Dr Bateman, is not the sort of person who has ever sought the spotlight so I’m guessing they had to work hard to convince her.
It’s perhaps why she never aimed for the stars as a child. Dr Bateman says she begrudgingly finished high school before qualifying as a hairdresser.
Yet, she is now a senior lecturer in higher education research at Deakin University and recently has been honoured with two national teaching awards for excellence, the Pearson ATEA Australia Teacher Educator of the Year and the Australian Learning and Teaching Council award.
She has also been cited for her outstanding contribution to student learning.
“Who’d have thought!” Dr Bateman, 43, says with a laugh.
And, yet, just a little more 10 years ago, things were so different, so despairing.
At 32, Dr Bateman became a widow, but don’t call her that, especially if it makes you feel sorry for her or you are tempted to plant a consoling kiss on her cheek. Because people, Dr Bateman says, do that when you are a widow. You can see the pity work across their faces, she says. The assumptions registered.
Perhaps she is more conscious of the emotional baggage the name carries because of the sudden and shocking way Dr Bateman became a widow on a Saturday night in May 2000.
Her husband, Sen-Constable Mark Bateman, was on night patrol with newly married Sen-Constable Fiona Robinson.
They were answering a call to attend a reported holdup at a bakery in Northcote, when their van was clipped by another vehicle, became airborne and crashed into a power pole.
Both officers were killed.
Dr Bateman was at home with children, Jack, 17 months, and Daisy, who was nine weeks old.
She has never spoken publicly about her 29-year-old husband’s death until now and only because she is the face of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Day. So why now?
“I feel it is appropriate for me to step up,” she told me.
“I have a few runs on the board, successes in my life.”
She also spoke to children Daisy, now 11, and Jack, who is 12, about going public and said the family agreed it was a privilege to do it and a positive thing to do and they all wanted to give something back.
Dr Bateman will feature in an advertising campaign promoting the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Day on September 29. It is a day when Victorians wear blue and white ribbons as a mark of respect for the sacrifice and memory of 157 police men and women who have lost their lives in the line of duty in Victoria.
Money raised – $5.5 million to date – goes to pay for new lifesaving equipment in Victoria’s public hospitals.
Mark Bateman was, his wife says, a very proud policeman who also loved his football club. He wasn’t a complicated bloke. They met when he was 16, she was 18, and they married eight years later, when Dr Bateman had completed a teaching diploma.
There were a few hurdles along the way. A kilometre from the site of the accident that would claim Mark’s life, the couple had a horrific car accident. Mark, then 19, suffered broken ribs, but Dr Bateman, 21, suffered a brain injury that would keep her in hospital and rehabilitation for a year.
She said the accident was a major transition for both of them.
Mark would emerge an incredibly committed person, Dr Bateman a young woman heading in a new direction.
She was a qualified hairdresser, but a vocational therapist told her she could not do that any more, because she wouldn’t be able to stand on her feet all day.
Dr Bateman was told she would make a great teacher. The therapist was spot on. She was a born teacher.
When Mark died, Dr Bateman became a single mother and was forced to think about what she wanted to do, “because I really had grown up”.
Juggling children, she completed a doctorate and now works in the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof Jane Den Hollander. Previously, she worked in the School of Education.
Prof Den Hollander said Dr Bateman was a shining example of what could be achieved through dogged determination, perseverance and a love of lifelong learning. She doesn’t tell anyone she is a police widow, because Dr Bateman does not want to be defined by it and she wants her children to know they are special, but not because their father died.
It was also important to her to maintain her integrity and independence.
“I’m a very self-contained unit, that’s how I describe myself,” Dr Bateman said.
A good teacher is also a good learner. Four weeks after Mark’s death, Dr Bateman was invited to a lunch attended by several police widows. She said: “I was still very raw. (But) I could see women around the tables who had made choices. Some stuck with the very moment of losing their partners. Others were amazing women who were resilient and robust. They had incredible integrity and pride in who they were.”
Dr Bateman said her parents, Alan and Joy, had taught her to never give up and she had two babies who required her to make some serious choices.
“I chose to be strident and strong,” she said.
“I’ve proven that widows can do anything they want to do and I have proven to myself that stuff I never dared dream was possible.”
Like I said, she is a wonderful role model for us all, not just widows, and her story is a lesson in how to not be burdened by a catastrophic tragedy, but rather be inspired by it. It’s a story of a woman who stayed strong and a family which helped each other through the sadness and despair.
And for those who believe that Mark Bateman is looking down on them, well, he’d be looking down with pride.
Vic: Police car type did not contribute to officers’ deaths
A coroner has found the deaths of two policemen in a car accident in Melbourne were not influenced by the van in which they were travelling.
Senior Constable MARK BATEMAN, aged 30, and 31-year-old Senior Constable FIONA ROBINSON died from multiple injuries after their divisional van rolled when it side-swiped another car in suburban Northcote on May 20 last year.
Coroner PHILLIP GOLDBERG said the two police officers were en route to a burglary in progress and were trying to overtake the slower moving car.
He said a subsequent police investigation revealed that the Holden Commodore in which they were travelling had a higher potential to roll over than the previous model Ford.
The Commodore divisional vans are no longer used by police.
But Mr GOLDBERG says the Commodore’s greater risk of rolling did not aggravate the circumstances of the two police officers deaths.
Gone but not forgotten
The deaths sparked a review of police van safety and led to the introduction of the
The official opening of the Blue Ribbon Foundation Portland District Health Emergency Helipad marked the culmination of a long and dedicated campaign over the past 9 years.
PDH CEO Chris Giles said the helipad was a community facility that came about as a result of great local support. The community turned out in hundred to join in the celebrations of the opening of this potentially life-saving facility for our district.
The Chairman of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation, Bill Noonan, OAM, the President of the Portland Branch, Peter Corbett and President of Portland District Health Board of Management Michelle Kearney lead the opening of the Emergency Helipad.
The ceremony also included the dedication of a permanent police memorial in memory of Senior Constable Mark Bateman who died with his partner Senior Constable Fiona Robinson on May 20, 2000 when their divisional van was involved in a crash while answering a priority one call at Northcote.
The dedication will also be a celebration of community spirit and determination as it acknowledges the many organisations, individuals, trades people, suppliers and sponsors who have donated their professional skills, materials and other resources for the building of the vital emergency facility.
We should acknowledge Neil Soullier – Victorian Blue Ribbon Foundation CEO for his great support throughout the project, Peter Corbett – President of the Portland Blue Ribbon Foundation Branch and loyal committee, Peter Carr – Volunteer Project Manager, the many PDH staff previous and present who have lived and breathed helipad over the past 9 years, Carolyn Malseed for pulling together the opening with the Blue Ribbon committee and the many businesses and organisations who volunteered time and/or donated towards the project to make this happen. There are many other people that could be thanked, this list goes on and on and we are grateful for their support and assistance.
Business Donors to Assist Construct Helipad:
G.R CARR PTY LTD
Parfrey Plumbing Pty Ltd
Lawrence and Hansen
Portland Sign works
Lions Club Portland
Keppel Prince Cranes
Mick Wilson Plumbing
Berry & Whyte Surveyors
Exile Concrete Pumping
K J Vic
Brent Jennings Concrete
Michael Hunter – Icon Investments
R & C Eather
A.T.S (Graham Robertson)
Blue Ribbon Day at Scotch
WORDS: Mr Tim Shearer
National Police Remembrance Day, or Blue Ribbon Day as it is better known in Victoria, occurs every September, and this year’s Blue Ribbon Day was Thursday 29 September ( 2011 ).
This year Scotch ( Scotch College, Melbourne ) was nominated as the ambassador school for Blue Ribbon Day, and on Wednesday 14 September Mr Neil Soullier OAM, the CEO of the Blue Ribbon Foundation, attended assembly and presented a flag of remembrance to the Principal. The flag was flown at Scotch until Blue Ribbon Day, Thursday 29 September.
At the assembly, Jack Bateman (Year 7) addressed the school, speaking of his close identification with Blue Ribbon Day.‘My name is Jack Bateman. This morning I want to talk to all of you about something which is pretty close to my heart. The Blue Ribbon Foundation is a community organisation which ensures that the memories of police who have died in the line of duty live on as part of the community.
‘One of the police who have died on duty is my dad, Mark Anthony Bateman, Senior Constable, stationed at the Northcote Police Station, and this year my family have proudly agreed to represent the Blue Ribbon Foundation. The foundation was founded in 1998 and has a roll of honour which lists 157 police members who have died. My dad is part of history and the honour roll dates back to 1858.
‘The foundation is mainly run by volunteers who organise fundraising events throughout Victoria. All money goes to community projects that promote awareness, and for important projects like hospitals which are named in honour of fallen officers.
‘We can do nothing to bring them back, but as a grateful community we can take steps to honour their memory and ensure their sacrifice is acknowledged. I hope that we at Scotch College will be able to contribute to the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s mission – a good start is to wear a blue ribbon on Police Remembrance Day, 29 September.’