The Bradman Trail
The Bradman Trail provides a mechanism that seeks to personalise Don Bradman, and place him in the context of the landscapes and communities with which he spent most of his living years. For the first time these sites, which resonate with his extraordinary life across three key Australian regions, are formally drawn together under this project.
The Bradman Trail (http://www.bradmantrail.com.au) is a website created through a valued partnership between The Bradman Museum of Cricket, Cootamundra Shire Council and the State Library of South Australia in association with the Australian Government, Department of Environment and Heritage.
Through this website you can learn about the life of Sir Donald Bradman, the world’s greatest cricketer and significant Australian. The site traces Bradman’s life by highlighting the historic sites within the three main places in which he lived – Cootamundra, Bowral and Adelaide – together with their dedicated museum exhibitions featuring him.
Through the Trail visitors, both physical and virtual, are attracted to Cootamundra, Bowral and Adelaide where they can learn about topics as diverse as Bradman’s parents, Emily and George, and what values they espoused, his school and how his headmaster rated him, his contribution to cricket after retirement as a player through his umpiring, cricket administration and his support of the cultural institutions dedicated to the game he loved. You’ll note that these examples don’t include his 452 against Queensland or his 334 against England – those cricket milestones are there but sit alongside topics that throw light on Bradman the person, husband, father, businessman, and national figure.
The Trail is a way of discovering his traits and life beyond cricket by visiting the places where he lived.
Users of the Trail will be struck by the parallel themes of one so absolutely extraordinary who was underneath, an everyday Australian. No wonder his magnetism was and is still so pervasive.
Three tools engage visitors with the Trail. Twelve interpretive plaques sit at major sites in each of the three regional centres. Three brochures with maps show visitors where these and other sites are while the website provides detailed information about those places and Bradman’s role within them.
The Bradman Museum of Cricket receives daily enquiries from children studying Bradman in both Primary and High Schools. The question is always the same; ‘What made him so special and how did he impact on the Australian nation?’ This website directly addresses this question. More broadly the Trail seeks to define him and link him with the social history of the day in the places where he lived. By going to the Adelaide Oval and being aware of the near riot and subsequent bitter political exchanges, over Bodyline, that occurred in those heady days of January 1933, Trail devotees will understand how Bradman was the conduit for an emerging nations spirit.
By observing the distant crumbling chimney of the Bradman family farm at Yeo Yeo visitors can more perceptively imagine the immense difficulties of rural living in Australia at the start of the 20th Century.
By standing next to the bell post at Bowral Public school every child can perhaps sense the potential within each and every one of them to succeed in their chosen field.
The Trail appropriately promotes the three cultural facilities that interpret Bradman’s life – the Bradman Birthplace Museum at Cootamundra, the Bradman Museum of Cricket and the Bradman Collection and Digital Library, State Library of South Australia.