Bat to the future at Bradman’s Bowral home

The Bowral property where Australia’s most famous cricketer honed his batting skills has gained acclaim of another kind.

The restoration of Don Bradman’s childhood home – including the water tank where he practised his technique with a stump and golf ball – was among the winners of the NSW National Trust heritage awards on Wednesday.

The Shepherd Street address, the Southern Highlands’ home to the Bradmans between 1911 to 1924, will hold particular appeal to cricket buffs. Visitors will be able to stay in the Don’s old room and practise in his backyard when the private property opens as a guest house.

The tank as it appears today following the house’s restoration.Photo: Eric Sierins of Max Dupain and Associates

The judges praised its owners, who bought the Victorian era home in 2008, and its architectural team for giving people ”the opportunity to step in Bradman’s footprints, making this a key component in the Bradman memorabilia in Bowral”.

Its heritage architect Ian Stapleton, of Clive Lucas Stapleton & Partners, said the project was a good way to make the attraction semi-public without the need for it to be run – and require funding – as a museum.

”While the builders were there, every day people would turn up to have a look at it, including lots of overseas tourists, people from India and Sri Lanka,” he said.

Bradman practising at the water tank at his home in Bowral.Mr Stapleton said the building was suffering a ”death of a thousand cuts” due to the effects of age and water damage, before the restoration, which was undertaken with Lenarduzzi Builders.

Its kitchen and bathrooms have been updated, but other areas have been restored to how they would have appeared when the Bradmans owned the property.

This includes the extensions built by Bradman’s father George, such as the cricketer’s bedroom and the water tank, the stumps of which were found under paving.

”We’ve done a very accurate reconstruction so it looks exactly like it does in the Cinesound newsreel,” Mr Stapleton said.

The 1932 footage of the tank – shot when Bradman returned during the height of his career – will be among the historical material available to visitors, particularly those hoping to refine their technique.

”We’ve got stumps and golf balls there for visitors to try it out,” Mr Stapleton said.

Projects spanning built, natural and cultural heritage picked up awards at Wednesday’s event, including the restoration of wetlands in the Hunter Valley and a ”sand library” to assist with mortar repointing.

”This is about our future, as much as our past, and what has been saved for the next generation is truly remarkable,” the trust’s chief executive Brian Scarsbrick said.


The tank as it appears today following the house’s restoration. Pictures: Eric Sierins of Max Dupain and Associates

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