The Bradman Museum, Bowral NSW

The Bradman Museum & International Cricket Hall of Fame – Bowral

We saw this place some time ago on a quick visit to Bowral, but it was closed and I vowed we would return. This place is a tribute to the great Donald Bradman and to great cricketers in general. Plus there is a lot about the history of the sport and the equipment used to play it.

Now, I am not a huge cricket fan although I used to follow it a little. No doubt many of you reading this right now will know hardly anything about cricket except that it is a strangely English game where it is possible to play for five days only for the match to end in a draw. Yes, indeed that can and does happen (quite often actually) but that’s not to say there is no action. None of that really matters because anyone who knows anything about cricket knows that Donald Bradman was the man.

Statue of the great Donald Bradman between the museum and cricket pitch

Bradman was born in Cootamundra but his parents relocated to Bowral (which is right next to his mother’s home town of Mittagong) when he was only two and a half years old. He later played for the local Bowral team. Then at aged 19 he made his first class cricket debut for NSW.  He soon got his chance to play for his country in 1928 in the second test match against England. But his first two innings were poor. He scored just 18 and 1 while England won the game comfortably. The selectors dropped him for the next test match. Fortunately they reinstated him for the third test where Bradman scored 79 and 112 to become the youngest player to make a Test century. The rest, as they say, is history…

A cricket bat from 1750. Not too dissimilar from the modern bat.

Scoring a test match century is a really big thing in cricket. There have been many scored by lots of players but it still remains a massive achievement. Bradman’s test match average score was over 99. AVERAGE!! Scoring just shy of 7,000 runs (6,996) in 80 innings.

 That truly is some feat by the man who was affectionately called “The Don”. But to appreciate just how good he was, read on…

Just How Great Was Bradman?

Batting average records are usually subject to a minimum qualification of 20 innings played or completed. Otherwise we would be talking more about a man called Andy Ganteaume, a Trinidadian keeper-batsman, who scored 112 in his one and only test innings. Heard of him before? No, me neither….

Bradman played not just more than 20 innings of test match cricket but 80; with an average score of 99.94. For every other cricketer a career batting average over 50 is exceptional. Even more amazing is that only 4 other players have averages over 60. This really is an incredible statistic. The fact that Bradman’s average is so far above that of any other cricketer has led some to argue that, statistically at least, he was the greatest athlete in any sport. That argument is hard to counter.

According to statisticians, to match Bradman’s achievement a baseball batter would need a career batting average of .392 (whatever that means), while a basketball player would need to score an average of 43 points per game over their career. (Note: For context Michael Jordan’s points scoring average was just over 30.)

He scored over 100 runs (aka a century) on 29 occasions in his 80 innings test career. The next fastest player to reach 29 test match centuries was the great Indian batsman, Sachin Tendulkar. But he required nearly twice as long (148 innings) to do it. Bradman scored 12 Test double hundreds (double centuries) and this remains the most achieved by any Test batsman. Again for comparison, the next highest total of Test double centuries is by Sri Lankan, Kumar Sangakkara, who scored 11 in 223 innings (almost three times as many innings as Bradman!).

Bradman started his test match career almost 100 years ago, back in the late 1920s. Which means that he probably smoked a few cigarettes and drank a couple of pints of beer before going out to bat – as sportsmen tended to do in those days. Well, at least we like to think they did….  But all joking aside, Bradman truly was the supreme batsman. When someone asks you just how great Donald Bradman was, your answer should be; ‘very great, in fact awesome!’

Here’s to “The Don”,  1908 – 2001.

Entrance costs: $25 per adult and $15 per child.

Painting of the best cricketer that ever live.
The Ashes Urn. Well, a replica
Two Cricket World cups won by Australia.
Bats signed by the Australian and opposition test sides.

There were plenty of these signed bats from different years. It’s a great place for any cricket enthusiast. The Bradman Oval sits adjacent to the museum so we caught a bit of a game too…

There was even a game on at the Bradman Oval
Live cricket at the Bradman Oval

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