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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 351..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

That is the legacy Sir Donald Bradman leaves the nation. He was the greatest batsman, the greatest cricketer, of any time, but he brought much more to the nation than just his supreme ability to play cricket. In the words of a great chronicler of Australian life, the songwriter Paul Kelly:

He was more than just a batsman,

He was something like a tide,

More than just one man, he was half the side.

The Labor Party joins the Assembly in this expression of condolence to the family of Sir Donald Bradman and, effectively, to the people of Australia.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. Before I call the Minister for Education, I wish to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Jeff Kennett, former Premier of Victoria. Welcome to the Assembly.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General): Although most cricket lovers never saw him play, few would doubt that Sir Donald Bradman was, without a doubt, the greatest player in the history of the game. He was born in Cootamundra on 27 August 1908, the youngest of five children. In 1910 he moved to Bowral. Donald Bradman's father and the family were very keen cricketers, and he was exposed to the game at a very early age.

Sir Donald's training technique of hitting a golf ball against a rainwater tank with a cricket stump is part of Australian folklore. He played his first competitive cricket match at the age of 12 in Bowral. He scored 115 not out, and took eight wickets on the oval that is now called Bradman oval.

By the age of 17, the young Bradman had attracted the eyes of New South Wales cricket selectors following some remarkable performances in the country. He commenced playing in Sydney grade cricket in the 1926-27 season, and he was run out for 110 on debut for St George.

He quickly moved into the New South Wales side after some high scoring innings for his club side. In his first-grade debut for New South Wales against South Australia he scored 118 and 33, batting at number seven. The following season he scored two more centuries for New South Wales and secured his first test cap against England. Bradman failed in the first test, scoring 18 and one, and was dropped for the second test. He returned, however, for the third test and scored 79 and 112 which, at 20 years and 129 days, made him the youngest Australian player to complete a test century.

Sir Donald went on to play 52 tests for Australia and, until his retirement from the game, he was never dropped from the team again. He went on to score 6,996 runs at an average of 99.94, a world record. I think the next highest average is something like about 59 runs, so that is something that we will probably never see again.


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