May 10Bradman in Bowral
The 1948 Invincibles.
Although born in Cootamundra (1908), Don Bradman spent his school years in Bowral.
The local oval was named in his honor in 1947. Beside it stands the International Cricket Hall of Fame, opened last year, which now incorporates the Bradman museum.
Reading Bradman’s story as portrayed in the museum reminds us of how dominant he was in cricket over the 20 year from his first test in 1928 till his last as captain of the 1948 Invincibles.
“When 12, Bradman played for Bowral School against Mittagong, scoring 115 not out and taking 8 wickets. After the game, Bradman’s uncle George Whiteman invited him to act as scorer for the Bowral team. One Saturday, the team was one short and Bradman went in 9th wicket down. A very young Bradman saved the match for his side by scoring 31 not out and 29 not out in the second innings.”
Bradman also excelled at tennis, which he concentrated on for some years after that! When he returned to the cricket team, Bowral won the Berrima competition – Bradman averaging 94.14, including a knock of 234 in 134 minutes against Bill O’Reillys Wingello side. He also took 31 wickets at an average of 7.8, and took 26 catches.
On the basis of this first season, he was asked to try out for the state team, and played the next season for St George, catching the train to Sydney each Saturday. He scored 110 in his first game.
He was still eligible to play for Bowral in the final, in which he scored 320!
It is said that he honed his skills in the backyard by throwing a golf ball against the base of a water tank, and then hitting it with a stump. If it hit the back door behind him, he was out. This is re-created in the museum. In this video, we see Sir Don demonstrating the technique and then Oliver showing him how it should be done.