The Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame is a cricket lovers paradise. Even if you don’t like or understand cricket, you will discover the history of the game, pick up an understanding the game and why people love it so. And you will learn loads about Donald Bradman, the cricketer and the man. I spent a whole day walking around the museum and its grounds, a lot longer than I expected – but I am a cricket tragic. Here is how you can spend a day at the Bradman Museum.
What is Cricket?
For all you non-cricket people, cricket is a game of strategy between two teams. One team bats while the other team fields. The aim of the team batting is to make runs (score) by hitting the ball while the fielders’ aim is to stop the batters making runs – and to get them out. The team with the most runs wins.
There are different styles of cricket. Test cricket goes for 5 days – each team bats and fields twice. One day cricket lasts a day -both teams have 50 overs (a group of six deliveries) to bat. The newest form is 20/20 cricket – where each team has 20 overs to make as many runs as they can.
Who is Donald Bradman?
‘The Don’ donning his hat in the grounds outside of the Bradman Museum
In a nutshell, Donald Bradman is one of the best, or some would say, the best, cricketer Australia has ever seen. He was actually born in Cootamundra New South Wales on 27 August 1908. His family moved to Bowral when he was young and where he spent most of his early years. It was here in Bowral his passion and skill for the game of cricket was developed and nurtured. He played cricket for the Bowral Cricket Club, and inevitably, for Australia. ‘The Don’ scored 6996 Test runs at an average of 99.94 – which has never been bettered. This is why he is Australia’s, and arguably, the world’s, greatest cricketer.
Where is the Bradman Museum?
The Bradman Museum is located in the town of Bowral which is largest town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Bowral is the main business and entertainment precinct with antique stores, boutiques and gourmet restaurants and cafes. It is probably best known for being home of ‘the boy from Bowral’ – Sir Donald Bradman, The Don, Australian cricket great.
Bowral is an easy 1.5 hours drive from Sydney, about the same from Canberra and about an hour from Wollongong in the Illawarra region. The best way to get there is by car. If you don’t have access to one you can always rent one here. Or you can catch a train from Central Station to Bowral Station. The Bradman Museum is about a 20 minute walk from the station.
If driving, you can take the Hume Freeway to the Southern Highlands and once in the Highlands, follow the signs to Bowral. You. may like to include Bowral as part of a trip along the Hume Freeway, if so, read my post Road Trip – The Hume Freeway – Sydney to Melbourne.
The Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame is situated in an area known as Glebe Park. This park includes the museum, Bradman Oval, parkland, a children’s playground and BBQ areas. A popular area for visitors and locals to enjoy.
A walk through the Bradman Museum
It’s OK – You will get the runs next innings!
The Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame currently comprises six galleries. Each gallery has something to offer the cricket lover. I suggest visiting them all! You will learn the basics of the game and how to hone the basic skills into something special. Discover the greats of the game – Sachin Tendulkar, Viv Richards, et al. Also learn more about the spectators of the game, like the Barmy Army and the Australian Fanatics that bring atmosphere to games. The Bradman Gallery is totally devoted to the man and the man behind the bat.
Interact with the exhibits
Being a cricket tragic, I enjoyed every gallery, though some of the interactive exhibits were my favourite parts. Particularly the one where you use a cricket stump to hit a cricket ball against a water tank. This is what Don Bradman did each day to hone his batting skills. It is a lot harder to do than it looks! And it was really fun giving it a go.
The Bradman Oval
Enjoying a cricket match on the Bradman Oval
The grounds outside of the Bradman Museum are a nice walk. Have your photo taken with The Don and don your hat just like him. Sit at the pavilion or around the Bradman Oval and watch a game of cricket that may be in progress. The Bradman Oval was formally The Glebe Wicket, being renamed the Bradman Oval in 1947. A young Donald Bradman first played on this oval when he 12 for the Bowral Cricket Club. He scored 29 runs that day. One of his most memorable games for Bowral was when he scored 234 against Wingello team.
Today the Bradman Oval is a sought-after playing ground and can be hired for a fee if you want to play a game on it. However, the ground regularly hosts one-day international matches, cricket coaching camps and social matches. The Bowral Cricket Club was formed in 1883 and cricket has been played on this ground since 1891. And it remains a recreation area for the township of Bowral.
Take the Bradman Walk
Mary Poppins statue in Glebe Park
After you have spent hours walking around the museum, sat down at the Bradman Oval, another option you could consider is taking the Bradman Walk. The walk is 1.7km and takes about 45 minutes, depending on how fast you walk! It will take you to his childhood homes, school, church, the cinema, the first office he worked in and other places he frequented. It is a very pleasant walk and you see a lot of Bowral as well as just Don Bradman-related places. You can pick up a free map of the walk at the museum or you can download one from the website www.bradman.com.au.
While on the walk, in Glebe Park behind Bradman Oval you will find a statue of Mary Poppins. And what does this have to do with cricket? Nothing. The author of Mary Poppins, PL Travers, spent much of her youth in Bowral and this statue was erected in her honour. It is so close to Bradman Oval and should be seen.
Bradman Cafe and Shop
After your visit to the museum, and having undertaken the Bradman Walk, the Bradman Cafe is located at the museum end of the ground. You can sit either inside or outside in the courtyard for a coffee, cake, meal or a Devonshire tea! Purchase a souvenir from the shop, like an Ashes Cricket Urn replica or as I did, a set of cricket ball coasters.
Where to stay in Bowral?
Welcome to Bowral
Bowral is an easy day trip from some places, but if you want to make a weekend or longer of it, there is plenty of accommodation in Bowral and the Southern Highlands to choose from. From budget hotels to five star luxury. Whether you are there with the family or on a romantic weekend, you are sure to find something to suit your visit.
For more options visit Booking.com.
And so ends a great day at the Bradman Museum and International Cricket Hall of Fame. No matter if you are into cricket, or not, a visit to Bowral for a day, weekend or longer will reveal a very interesting and picturesque place. And give you an in-depth insight into the game of cricket, the legends that play it – and the not so legends – that love it.