Edward John Farmer Batchelor, known by his second name of John, was born in Launceston on 26 Feb 1874, the second child in a family of seven. His parents were William Eastgate Batchelor (c.1840-1915), a locomotive superintendent for the Tasmanian Government Railways, and Matilda Partridge (1850-1929) who married on 13 Mar 1872. John attended the Launceston Technical School and exhibited drawings of machine parts in the Technical Education Court of the Tasmanian Exhibition in 1891-92. He became an engineer. On 26 Jun 1895 John married Louisa Weavell, a carpenter's daughter, at St Paul's Anglican Church, Launceston. They had four sons. Percy was born in Launceston in 1896 and only lived for six months. John was also born in Launceston in 1897. Reginald, 1902, and Herbert, 1906, were born in New Norfolk.