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Adelaide Oval

  Adelaide Oval showing the Sir Donald Bradman Stand and Adelaide City in the background.


 
  

Adelaide Oval showing the Sir Donald Bradman Stand and Adelaide City in the background.
Although Don Bradman was born at Cootamundra and grew up in Bowral, and played more first-class innings on the Sydney Cricket Ground than anywhere else, his closest and longest connections with cricket have been at Adelaide Oval in the city where he lived and worked from 1934 until his death on 25 February 2001.

Bradman made his First-Class debut for New South Wales against South Australia at the Adelaide Oval on 16 December 1927 and scored 118 batting at number 7. In March 1949 he made his last First-Class appearance on the Oval, scoring 30 against Victoria. In between Bradman batted 60 times in 40 First-Class matches at the Adelaide Oval and made 4840 runs there at an average of 89.62 with 18 centuries. He holds the record for the highest First-Class score on the ground – 369 for South Australia against Tasmania in March 1936. Bradman captained the state from 1935 until his final match when he appeared under Phil Ridings’ leadership. South Australia won the Sheffield Shield in the 1935-36 and 1938-39 seasons.

In seven Test matches and 11 innings on the ground Bradman scored 970 runs at an average of 107.77 with three double-hundreds, including the highest individual Test score of 299 not out against South Africa in January 1932. In some ways, however, his duck in the first innings of the 1947 Test against England was as memorable. It was the first Test in Adelaide for ten years and late on the second day (Saturday) he was bowled by Alec Bedser by a ball he considered the best he ever faced. For many of the crowd of 30,761 it was the only time they ever saw him bat and their disappointment must have been acute and lifelong.

  Bradman tossing the coin with his Bowral mentor Alf Stephens on Glebe, later Bradman Oval c. 1933
  Bradman tossing the coin with his Bowral mentor Alf Stephens on Glebe, later Bradman Oval c. 1933
In addition Bradman appeared in four first grade games and one state trial match on the ground. Bradman made 447 runs at an average of 110.75 with two centuries in the grade games but was out for nought in a state trial match in October 1947.

Adelaide is the city where Bradman conducted his business, enjoyed family life, excelled in other sporting areas as South Australia squash champion and scratch golfer, and from where he played an enormous role as a cricket administrator. Knighted in 1949, Sir Donald was a distinguished cricket administrator at state, national and international levels. Apart from being an Australian selector from 1936 to 1952 and 1954 to 1971, and twice Chairman of the Australian Cricket Board from 1960 to 1963, and 1969 to 1972, he was a powerful presence in the South Australian Cricket Association affairs for half a century.

Adelaide Oval was where he attended most of his 1713 SACA meetings; spent innumerable hours behind the practice nets as cricketers went through their paces; and watched thousands of days’ play from the leather armchairs in the Committee Lounge at the back of the George Giffen Stand. Sir Donald served the SACA as a state selector between 1935 and 1970; member of the Cricket Committee from 1938 to 1965; member of the Ground and Finance Committee from 1943 to 1986; treasurer in 1949-50; vice-president from 1950 to 1965; state coach in 1957-58; and president from 1965 to 1973.

   Sir Donald Bradman with children on Bradman Oval during the re-dedication of the ground, 1976

Sir Donald Bradman with children on Bradman Oval during the re-dedication of the ground, 1976
Sir Donald was honoured at the Oval with the naming of the Bradman Dining Room in 1986 and the opening of the Sir Donald Bradman Stand in 1990. In 1996 he gave his last major public interview, with Ray Martin, at the Oval and continued to visit the ground regularly to sign memorabilia for fans until late 1998. Following his death in 2001 a memorial service was conducted at St. Peter’s Cathedral on 25 March 2001 and was simultaneously relayed to spectators at the Oval. A sculpture of Sir Donald by noted South Australian artist Robert Hannaford was unveiled in Pennington Gardens on the eastern side of the Oval, by Governor Marjorie Jackson on the first anniversary of his death in 2002.

From: Bradman at Adelaide Oval : a match by match record, by Bernard Whimpress. Reproduced courtesy of the author.

After many years of care and display at the State Library of South Australia the Bradman Collection Museum at Adelaide Oval was opened on Friday 22nd August 2008 by South Australian Premier Mike Rann MP in the presence of John Bradman and SACA President Ian McLachlan. The Bradman Collection Museum at Adelaide Oval and the Bradman Museum of Cricket at Bowral are the major displays of Bradman memorabilia in Australia.

 

 

 
Adelaide Oval 1937
 


 
Sir Donald Bradman with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Adelaide Oval, March 1954  


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