With Test batting average of 99.94, Sir Donald Bradman, also known as ‘The Don’, will always remain the pride of Australian sport.
The Bradman Museum situated in Bowral, the town where Bradman grew up, displayed this pride. Opened in 1989, the museum extensively captures the ‘the boy from Bowral’. His first bat, cricket journey, interviews, photographs – in short, what made him great. The museum is also Australia’s largest cultural exhibition dedicated to the game in the International Cricket Hall of Fame, and on my visit I was glad to see an exhibit on the ‘Bradman-Tendulkar connection’.
Australia’s most cherished sporting legend, the greatest batsman who has ever lived with a Test batting average of 99.94 and 29 centuries in only 52 matches, a feat unparalleled in men’s world sport.
1936-37: This cap is especially significant as it was Bradman’s first series as Australian Captain. Australia won the series 3-2 with Bradman making three Test centuries, two of them double-centuries.
From playing for NSW to Australian selection. Don said, “My parents taught me to be a cricketer off the field as well as on. It was not ‘did you win?’ but ‘did you play the game?’ that’s made the man.”
1886-87 Summerfield Cup: Trophy awarded to the Bowral Cricket club.
A letter Bradman’s mother, Emily Bradman.
Bradman’s life member’s badge.
A signed portrait.
A songsheet of the piano piece called ‘Rainbow Day’ composed by Don Bradman.
In 1920-21, when aged 12, Don Bradman was acting as scorer for the senior Bowral Cricket Club team that included his father as umpire, elder brother and two uncles. One day, the team was a player short and young Don was sent in at the fall of the eighth wicket to score an unbeaten 37. Another day, in return innings, he scored 29 not out. As a reward for his effort, a team member gave Don his damaged ‘kit bat’. In 1925, Bradman scored a district record of 300 with this bat.
The only bowler to dismiss Bradman twice for a duck in Tests was Sir Alec Bedser of England. In his last Test innings, Bradman failed to score any runs. He was bowled duck at The Oval in London. Had he scored just four, Bradman would have retired with a Test average of exactly 100.
1930 Ashes: Bradman made 334 marking his first triple century against England. Bradman scored 309 of those runs on 11 July 1930, which remains as the highest number of runs scored by a single batsman in one day.
1948: The Austalian Cricket Team, captained by Don Bradman played 34 matches, including five Test matches against arch-rivals England, returned home undefeated, hence ‘The Invincibles’.
Don Bradman received fan mail all his life. At it’s peak, during the 1948 Test series, he was receiving over 500 letters a day.
Don Bradman had a life-long love of music and was taught to play the piano by his sister Lillian. ‘Everyday is a Rainbow Day for Me’ was a piano piece compose by him in 1930 that was commercially recorded.
Complex and highly driven, Bradman kept a pre-eminent position in the game by acting as an administrator, selector and writer for three decades following his retirement. The span of his service, in terms of years, far exceeded his playing career.
The International Cricket Hall of Fame
Notice the marking near Sachin’s bat. His son, Arjun, marked his height when he visited the stadium.
Museum curator Andrew Summerell shares the story of Bradman praising Sachin Tendulkar and when his son, Arjun, visited the museum and played a game of cricket.
Cricket evolved from a game developed by shepherds in southern England to pass time while guarding their sheep.
After successful all-England tours in to Australia in the 1860s, cricket quickly developed in the country. In 1865, a group of Aboriginal men formed a team and played against the local team in Edenhope, Australia.
After coaching by England’s first-class player Tom Wills they played against Melbourne cricket club in front of 8,000 people in Melborune.
The first reported Australian cricket match was played in Sydney on 8 January 1804 on land now known as Hyde Park. It was played by the officers and crew of HMS Calcutta.
One section in the Museum is dedicated to women in cricket, which shows how the women’s game evolved. The first matches, uniform transformations, old photographs, etc.
A bigger section dedicated to women’s cricket will open soon.
1976-77: Indian Women made their first tour of Australia. The solitary Test was won by Australia by 147 runs.
This was the first Australian side to win the World Cup. Playing in India, the team won the Final against England at Hyderabad.
The Bradman Trail in Bowral, Australia
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