Bradman Festival

01/12/15 Category: Blog, News Posted by:


Even the most ardent and best read admirers of Sir Donald Bradman learned more about cricket’s greatest batsman at the inaugural Bradman Hometown Festival at Bowral on January 8, 9 and 10.


To a backdrop of limited-over matches on dazzling Bradman Oval, devotees of the pre-eminent Australian entered the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame to share knowledge and exchange views with other enthusiasts and visiting holidaymakers.

And in the case of renowned private collectors Ronald Cardwell, James Merchant and Peter Schofield to show their priceless wares in public for the first time.


Furthermore, there were fascinating forums on Bradman’s famous signature, his startling veneration in India and the worth of his baggy green caps both to a collector and, indeed, to the museum and so the nation. And the place of the first Bradman home in social history was also examined.


The Festival was launched on Friday when noted historian and Bowral resident Rodney Cavalier escorted visitors on a two-hour bus tour of Bradman’s Bowral and surrounding districts. It concluded on Sunday when the distinguished writer and historian Gideon Haigh delivered a lecture entitled “The Legacy of Bradman.”


Rina Hore, the Executive Director of the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame, was delighted with the weekend of diverse activities and optimistic that the Festival can become an annual January fixture in the cricket calendar.

Rina elaborates; it was a fabulous mix of activities that celebrated three forms of the game, with the Australian Cricket Society and Bradman XI young guns playing 40 over matches, Big Bash televised on the big screens, spectators cheering on the local first grade T20 Smash final whilst the Museum hosted forums for purists, collectors and contemporary fans all who are keen to explore the game’s history and celebrate its heroes.

The youngest devotee was 10 year old Tyran Elliott- Kaho from the Hunters Hill Pirates, whose family travelled from Sydney for the weekend and Tyran tossed the coin for Bradman XI Young Guns captain, Bradman Scholar and Sydney Uni First grade player, David Miller.

Also included in the Bradman XI teams were Scholars Amit Balgit and Mark Faraday, members of Bowral Cricket Club, Bradman First Club alongside a strong mix of quality players and former members of the Bradman XI teams.

Mike-Coward-webMike Coward
Master of Ceremonies

Mike is a widely recognized master of ceremonies par excellence. His deep and passionate knowledge of cricket and its history sees him constantly in demand. An accomplished journalist, author and broadcaster he has been covering Test cricket since Ian Chappell’s 1972 Ashes series. He holds dear a keen interest in the history of the game in India with specific reference to Australia and is the author of its definitive history, Cricket Beyond the Bazaar, 1990.

Mike has worked closely with the Bradman Museum since its inception and was instrumental in the development of its library of filmed player interviews. He is also very active in the LBW Trust, a charity supporting the education of underprivileged overseas students.

Mike has recently and deservedly received the Australian Sports Commission’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports Journalism.

Chris-Anderson-webChris Anderson
Forensic Document Examiner

Chris is a forensic document examiner conducting a practice from his own laboratory in Sydney. He has worked in the field for the past 40 years commencing his training with the Australian Federal Police in 1976 before moving onto the Department of Immigration in 1984. From 1989 he has worked from his own laboratory.

His expertise as a forensic document examiner has led to his appointment to authenticate Bradman signatures on behalf of the Bradman Foundation. Since 2000 he has built up a database of over 1000Bradman signatures which he uses to compare with any signature presented for authentication.

Ronald-Cardwell-webRonald Cardwell
The Cricket Publishing Company

The Principal of The Cricket Publishing Company, Ronald Cardwell’s dedication to the sport of cricket knows no bounds. Beginning as a gifted New South Wales schoolboy player, Ronald has maintained a close relationship with the game and its leading players, many of which he can claim as personal friends. Ronald has written and/or published over 40 books on less well known aspects of the game and its great characters and is the owner of a nationally significant cricket collection. In doing so he has preserved much about the game’s history that might have otherwise been lost.

In 2015 Ron organised and delivered the highly successful centenary symposium at the SCG commemorating the untimely death of the incomparable Victor Trumper.

Rodney-Cavalier-webRodney Cavalier AO
Historian & Tour Guide

All who know Rodney are familiar with his passion for cricket history and his writings about heroes like Victor Trumper, Bill O’Reilly and Arthur Morris. Rodney was NSW Minister for Education in the Wran & Unsworth Governments and Chairman of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust for a record term 2001-14. Rodney is undertaking extensive research into the Bradman family in its many branches as real people who lived real lives in the Southern Highlands and other places. The research has yielded a deeper insight into the familial and geographic environment experienced by the young Don Bradman as one of five siblings of George and Emily Bradman. Far from being isolated or a loner, Don had at least 71 first cousins and was active in the local community in rugby league, tennis, table tennis, shooting and Sunday School sports.

Rodney is also on the board of Highlands District Cricket and Chairman of the Southern Zone of Country Cricket NSW. He has offered to host a bus tour of Bowral and surrounds at 6.00pm on Friday 9 January when he will share some of his findings. Bookings essential as places are limited.

Michael-Fahey-webMichael Fahey
Sports Memorabilia Australia

The Principal of Sports Memorabilia Australia Michael is an accredited by the Australian Government to value sporting items under the Cultural Gifts Program. He is also the approved valuer for the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, Bradman Museum and Rugby Union Archives. An avid follower of cricket and Rugby Union Michael wrote The Baggy Green together with Mike Coward, in 2008. In so doing the pair assembled the first definitive history on the iconic cap, tracking its meaning and changing status since the late-nineteenth Century.

Michael will present on this topic and be available throughout the week-end to appraise items brought to the museum by the public and fellow delegates.

Gideon-Haigh-webGideon Haigh
Author, Journalist, Speaker

A staunchly independent writer, author and journalist Gideon brings scholarship, flair and intellectual rigour to the varied topics he has written and spoken about. A former journalist with The Age and currently with The Australian, he has also written for leading news houses in England, India, New Zealand and the UAE. His numerous books are widely acclaimed and his cricket works tackle the subject from myriad perspectives. Gideon’s refreshing player biographies include Warwick Armstrong, Jack Iverson and Shane Warne. A Summer Game is widely regarded as one of the best cricket histories ever penned and his dissertation on Kerry Packer’s intervention into the Game, The Cricket War, is another classic.

Together with Mike Coward, Gideon will offer his thoughts on recent developments and influences on cricket (and what Don Bradman may have thought about them) at the Festival Dinner on Saturday 9 January while on Sunday 10 January at 1.45pm he will address the Legacy of Don Bradman in the final of the Theatrette Forums.

Pawan-Luthra-webPawan Luthra
Editor, Indian Link Newspaper

As editor of Indian Link, Pawan’s energies are directed at running the newspaper aimed at the large Indian community around Australia. His family also runs Hindi-language radio stations in Sydney and Melbourne.

Having a unique perspective across both Australian and Indian cultures Pawan will assess just how and why Don Bradman remains so revered in India, a country in which he never played and 66 years after he retired from cricket.

James-Merchant-webJames Merchant

The Victorian based ceramics collector has graciously loaned his unparalleled collection to the Bradman Museum for the Bradmania exhibition and Festival. Visually striking and in mint condition these decorative pieces speak volumes for the respect held for Don Bradman and the commercial opportunity he afforded established and prestigious potteries like, Bristol Potteries, Burleighware, Crown Ducal and Royal Worcester.

As well as sharing how he came to develop his collection with delegates and members of the public, James will be releasing his long-awaited catalogue during the Festival.

Peter-Schofield-webPeter Schofield

Very few cricket devotees have the passion and dedication to amass a collection of the quality represented by Peter Schofield’s efforts over many decades. A former player and Level 2 accredited coach, Peter has had a lifetime fascination with the world’s greatest batsman. A consistent, focussed and dedicated collector of material relating to Don Bradman, Peter has created unique assemblage of material which for the first time is being publicly displayed.

Peter is also the author of 99.94 & Much More, a formal catalogue of his collection. During the Festival he will be releasing its revised edition. The Bradman Museum is very appreciative of Peter’s support for the inaugural Festival

Ian-StapletonwebIan Stapleton
Heritage Architect

Ian Stapleton, is a partner of Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners Pty. Ltd., architects and heritage consultants. A leading Sydney firm, it has won some 50 architecture awards from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) in the fields of conservation and urban design. Projects have included the restoration and adaptation of the Sydney GPO, the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf, the four historic glasshouses in the Royal Botanic Gardens and Bronte House.

In 1983 Ian was the second recipient of the Adrian Ashton Award from the RAIA for architectural journalism. His commercial publications include ‘How to Restore the Old Aussie House’, ‘Colour Schemes for Old Australian Houses’ and ‘Australian House Styles’. He is the author of conservation plans for places as far flung as Norfolk Island and The Swan Brewery, Perth and Sydney icons including Sydney University, the Strand Arcade, Bondi Surf Pavilion and the Macquarie Lightstation.

Recently Ian oversaw the restoration of Sir Donald Bradman’s boyhood home at 52 Shepherd St, Bowral and will speak specifically about that project at the Festival.

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