You may be surprised to learn that the International Cricket Hall of Fame isn't located at Lord's in England. Or at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It's not at the MCG in Melbourne, or in India where cricket is almost a religion. No sir, the International Cricket Hall of Fame can be found in the town of Bowral in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, around 150km from both Sydney and Canberra. Why, you ask, is the International Cricket Hall of Fame in Bowral? Well, this marvellous institution was once the Bradman Museum and the Bradman Museum was located at Bowral as the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen spent his formative years in the town. The Bradman Museum opened in 1989, next to Bradman Oval which was named after him in 1947, and in 2010 became the International Cricket Hall of Fame. The Oval itself is a stunningly picturesque sporting ground which has hosted international men's touring teams, interstate men's cricket and women's international games.
Given the history of the site, it is worth first exploring the impact the late Sir Donald Bradman had on the cricketing world. Bradman's glittering international playing career began in 1928 and lasted 20 years. Such was the magnitude of the man, that as he walked out to bat in his final test match, against England at The Oval in London, he received a standing ovation from the crowd and three cheers from the opposing team. He needed to score only 4 runs to finish his career with a batting average of 100 runs per innings, however he was bowled for a second ball "duck" (0 runs) and thus ended up with an average of 99.94.
To put this in perspective, an average over 50 is the mark of a great player. Around 40 players in the history of cricket have achieved this, but only 5 are above 60 including The Don, with next highest average being 61. Various statisticians have lauded Bradman as the most dominant athlete ever in any sport, as measured by the number of standard deviations his average is above the mean. For our North American readers, a baseballer would need to finish their career with an average of .392 to hit the same mark.
After his playing career, Bradman became a cricket administrator, in addition to his career as a stockbroker. He was knighted in 1949 and died in 2001 at the age 92. Over 1 million people were estimated to have watched his memorial service, broadcast live from St Peter's Cathedral adjacent to the Adelaide Oval. He has long been a part of Australian popular culture, featuring on postage stamps and coins, as well as being immortalised in song on numerous occasions. Upon listing his death in the 'Milestones' section, Time magazine notes that one of the first questions Nelson Mandela asked after being released from prison was, "Is Don Bradman still alive?"
The Bradman experience remains a key component of a visit to Bowral, with an entire gallery dedicated to his exploits. In addition, the International Cricket Hall of Fame prides itself on being an interactive and engaging experience. There is an entire section devoted to the art of the game itself that is perfect to hone your knowledge of how the game is played. Also highly recommended, is the exhibit on the science of cricket - a fascinating look at the physics behind the most exciting aspects of the sport.
The "Hall of Fame" itself is presented as "The Greats of the Game" with 20 of the best-ever players represented from W.G. Grace who excelled in the 17th century, through to modern day champions like Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar.
General admission for adults is just $20, although there are also numerous weekend packages including accommodation and other extras that can be booked online as "The Bradman Experience." The International Cricket Hall of Fame does more than just pay homage to the best players at the elite level; it is dedicated to promoting, educating and inspiring people of all ages to enjoy the great game of cricket. The Museum has a comprehensive website which can be found here. The ICHOF was established by the Bradman Foundation and you can see a fantastic video on the museum from ABC News below:
International Cricket Hall of Fame
Open 10:00am - 5:00pm
St Jude St Bowral, NSW
Phone: (02) 4862 1247
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