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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 7774

SPEECH AT THE BRADMAN TRUST SPRING DINNER, SYDNEY

Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/10/1989

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 7774

PRIME MINISTER
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY
SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER
BRADRAN TRUST SPRING DINNER
SYDNEY 13 OCTOBER 1989
Tonight is a very special and precious occasion.
Don Bradman is the greatest sporting figure to have emerged
in this nation of great sportsmen and women. He is the
greatest cricketer of all time. You could include him, with
the likes of Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali and Pole,
among the greatest half dozen sporting legends of the
century. And he is a very great Australian.
Just over two years ago, I had the honour to launch the
Bradman Albums in Adelaide.
I can honestly say that no duty in my period as Prime
Minister has given me more pleasure than that. And it is an
equally great honour for Hazel and myself to accept the
invitation to be present tonight to help launch the Bradman
Trust. The albums of course are a priceless collection of personal
memorabilia, essential historical records of Bradman's
astonishing achievements. A continued awareness of that
cricketing history indeed an awe of it is a very
important part of why we are here tonight. And I shall come
back to some of that history shortly.
But we are also here to honour Don Bradman, the man, and his
vision, represented in the Bradman Trust, of the future.
The tasks of the Trust include the construction and
management of the Bradman Museum at Bowral. When this is
completed, it will be a mecca for all cricket lovers, a
treasure-house of Bradmania and of cricket. Tomorrow's
opening of the Bradman Centennial Pavilion by Nick Greiner
promises to be a splendid occasion for all Bradmaniacs. 2 463

But very important, and very significant for what it tells
you about Sir Donald Bradman, is the principal objective of
the Trust, namely " advancing the physical, cultural and
intellectual welfare of the Australian community." In
accordance with this goal, the Trust will seek to promote
the ideals of cricket, in part through matches at Bradman
Oval, Bowral, will fund and manage a national coaching
scheme for young Australian cricketers between the ages of
11 and 18, and will fund and manage the Bradman Scholarships
to Oxford and Cambridge or any Australian University.
In other words, Bradman and the Bradman Trust want to do
something to help young Australians of today and tomorrow.
And not just to develop sporting prowess, important though
that is, but to develop mind and character.
When I consider this aim, I find myself thinking of the
young Bradman growing up in the New South Wales bush in the
19201s. His performances as a teenager for Bowral are
astonishing even now. You really have to feel sorry for the
poor Moss Vale bowlers, subjected twice to Bradman triple
centuries, kept in the field for Saturday after Saturday.
But this is no more than he was to do in Test cricket within
a very few years.
Equally extraordinary is the fact of Bradman's cricketing
encounters in the Berrima District Cricket Association at
that time with Bill O'Reilly, whose family also came from
the area. Here you had the greatest batsman of all time
facing up to perhaps the most destructive bowler of all
time for Bowral against Wingellol Truth is indeed
stranger than fiction.
The coincidence of these two great careers beginning in the
beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales serves to
remind us of the enormous contribution to Australia made by
the bush to mention a few names, Arthur Morris and
Doug Walters, who made Dungog famous, and Geoff Lawson and
Mark Taylor, from the current Test team, who have links with
Wagga, and the vice-captain, Geoff Marsh, from Wandering in
Western Australia.
Within almost no time of playing country cricket, Don was
setting records for the New South Wales Sheffield Shield
Team. And in 1929, in his second appearance for Australia,
following one of his very rare double failures on debut, he
became the youngest player ( to that time) to score a Test
century. Hie was 20 years and 129 days old.
As a 21-year old, Don Bradman went to England for the first
time. If we can say that your normal great batsman occupies
the Alps or the Andes, Bradman's natural habitat was the
Himalayas. His performances in England In 1930 represent
the Everest of Test match batting.
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Against an attack which included Larwood and Tate, he scored
974 runs in five Tests at an average of 139. 1 doubt if any
of us here tonight ever expects to see that record broken.
Overnight, Bradman became famous throughout the British
Empire and at 21 was already the colossus of cricket. And
for two decades, he retained that extraordinary stature,
despite the invention of the notorious T" bodyline" attack,
designed to reduce him to mere mortality, ending his playing
career with the magnificent 1948 team, in which Neil Harvey,
Keith Miller and Arthur Morris, happily here tonight, played
such distinguised hands.
But it was not only the peer less performances on the field
which set the young Bradman apart. He had and as is so
obvious to all who have the pleasure of talking to him, or
of listening to the Bradman Tapes retains an outstanding
mind.. It shines out in last weekend's previews of Bill
Leak's new portrait, which is to be unveiled later tonight.
One of his greatest qualities, one indeed which continues to
make him an inspiration to millions of Australians, is the
pride he takes, notwithstanding subsequent fame and success,
in his ordinary background. Don Bradman's early life was
the very opposite of privilege and affluence.
We know that he was a better than average student at Bowral
Intermediate High and got his Intermediate Certificate at an
unusually young age. But he left school at 14.
in those early years, his brilliant cricketing talent and
his ambition shone brightly. Equally important, I believe,
was his determination to develop his mind. Without in any
sense turning his back on his origins, Bradman refused to be
limited by them. We can see this in his seeking out at an
early age the great cricket writer and music critic, Neville
Cardus, to obtain a list of books to enlarge his horizons.
According to Irving Rosenwater's biography, Bradman read
every book on Cardus' rigorous list. We can see it in the
diary he began to keep after gaining selection for the 1930
tour, in which he recorded his keen observations of a world
which for an Australian between the wars was bigger and more
distant than ours today. We can see it in his love of the
piano. It is no wonder that Bradman, the young batting phenomenon,
was to show remarkable skills as a conversationalist, public
speaker, writer, administrator, businessman. He had the
mind for these skills and he had made sure he developed it.
The other great quality about Sir Donald Bradman, which
showed itself early and never faltered during his years as
world-beating batsman and Australian captain, was his
sportsmanship. He was always an outstanding representative
of his country, respected everywhere in the cricketing 2465

world. 1989 will go down as one of the great years in
Australian cricket, alongside, to name a few, 1930, 1934 and
1948. But, to my mind, as pleasing as the performances of
Allan Border's splendid side was their unfailingly
sportsmanlike and professional demeanour. I can pay them no
higher compliment than to say that they behaved like one of
Bradman's teams.
It is therefore wholly appropriate that the Bradman Trust is
to emphasise intellect and character as well as sporting
skill in its goal of assisting young Australians. Bradmanes
ideals will live on through the Trust's efforts and there is
no doubt that he will inspire future generations of
Australians. The title of Bradman Scholar will surely be a
cherished one. How nice it would be to see some confident
but modest youngster from the bush as an early recipient.
My very large team of researchers otherwise known as Jack
Pollard tell me, Don, that you generally let the Oxbridge
students off lightly with the bat. He notes, however, that
in 1930, in the match at Fenners against Cambridge, you took
six of your total of 36 first-class wickets and achieved
your best first class bowling figures in the first innings
3 for
I would like to suggest that you consider adding the
University of Leeds to the list of those English
institutions of higher learning where the Bradman
Scholarships can be enjoyed. I make this suggestion, ladies
and gentlemen, on the basis of Don's four Test appearances
at Headingley.
He certainly enjoyed himself at Leeds. in 1930 he made 334,
in 1934 304, in 1938 he failed with a miserable 103, and in
1948, at the age of forty, scored 173 not out in what
remains Australia's most remarkable victory in all, tour
matches, six-innings, once not out, 963 runs, average 192.6.
I congratulate Bruce Collins and his fellow Trust members
for their inspiration and dedication over the past three
years in establishing the Trust and doing a magnificent job
in raising funds for the Trust's objectives. I know and
appreciate the enthusiasm of sponsors such as Sir Ron
Brierley and Basil Sellers. I am pleased that the
Commonwealth Government, through the Bicentennial Authority,
is a participant and that QAN4TAS, whose operations began in
1920, on the eve of the Bradman era, is also contributing.
Ladies and gentlemen,
one of the sadnesses of the sporting life is that it is
relatively brief. We know of all too many examples where
the flame of athletic skill, on burning itself out, consumes
much of the richness of personality and joy of life which
accompanies it.
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Happily, this rarely happens with cricketers, least of all
with Bradman. Don, with your physical and mental fitness
you are at the same time an inspiration and a reproach to us
all. I gnash my teeth to read, as I did in Philip
Derriman's piece last Saturday, that you have beaten your
age four times on the golf course this year and that you are
playing off twelve at Kooyonga. And, in a moment, we will
be privileged to experience once again your articulate and
elegant thoughts and the precision of your memory. if I
have made any factual errors tonight I fully expect to be
dispatched to the mid-wicket fence.
Sir Donald, it is an indescribable pleasure for your friends
and admirers to have you and Lady Bradman with us tonight.
I have said before that no words of mine can adequately
capture the uniqueness of your achievements or the special
place you have won in the history of this country and in the
hearts of its people. So I will use your own words.
In the introduction to the Bradman Albums, you wrote:
" In retrospect, and surveying the broad canvas, I
suppose more than anything else I look back and say I am
grateful that as the son of simple country parents, and
without the benefit of wealth, power or influence, but
with only the talents bestowed upon me by nature, I was
able to occupy the highest posts the Australian cricket
world had to offer. As a result I was given the
opportunity for much of that period to impart my
interpretation of the character of this wonderful game
which has meant so much to cricket lovers everywhere.
in so doing, I am happy in the knowledge that I did not
betray the responsibility entrusted to me and I was
enabled, I hope, to enhance the best traditions of the
sport."
Don, with the establishment of the Bradman Trust, you can
take satisfaction that that responsibility has been further
honoured and those traditions further enhanced. 2 41; 7

Transcript 7774