THE DAY BRADMAN HIT A TON FOR BLACKHEATH!

The Don

The Don

Hello….Editor Des here.

Editor Des, promising batsman!

Editor Des, promising cricketer.

Well it’s all sport, sport, sport in our household at the moment, so I thought I would write a piece about a famous cricketer!  By the way, the local coach once told me that I had a great future as twelfth man for Blackheath (the village where I live). Unfortunately, because  my guardians Pauline and Dr Bob have  such a  wandery lifestyle, I missed too many practice sessions and was asked not to come anymore.

Anyway, this is the story of the day ‘The Don’ (that’s what we call him in Australia) smacked a hundred runs for   little Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains. Yes, it’s true!  It was during the Great Depression, in 1931, which sort of makes it even more special.

On  October 4 that year the following  advertisement appeared in the  Sydney Morning Herald;

VISIT BY BRADMAN WANTED

BLACKHEATH  Tuesday

Efforts are being made to secure a visit by Don Bradman to “open” the new wicket laid on Blackheath oval by the Blackheath Cricket Club.

The match was to be against the neighbouring, much bigger coal mining town of  Lithgow.   I have been told it was the    Lithgow Potteries Team.  The cricket pitch was made of cement…nasty if a batsman fell over but they were pretty tough in those days.  Now at one point during the match Bradman muttered to his fellow batsman: ‘I think I’ll have a go.’   Well…that was an understatement.  In the next THREE overs (OK, they were then eight ball overs, not six)  he made a hundred runs!  Can you believe that?  Down the other end Wendell Bill contributed just  two singles in the third over, in which The Don scored 6,4,4,6,6,4,6,4.  Wendell probably called  for a sandwich and a drink and  simply watched on in awe.

Little boys were to be seen scurrying amongst the bordering  pines; competing for the honour of  retrieving the ball. The unfortunate bowler for Lithgow was  a bloke called Bill Black. And he certainly had a black day..ha ha.

A  report of Bradman’s feat appeared  in the Singleton Argus on November 30:

Don Bradman had a merry knock playing for Blackheath against Lithgow on Monday. He scored 256 before he was caught. Wendell Bill who also played for Blackheath scored 66…Blackheath scored 357, and Lithgow 228.

 Bradman said; ‘It is important I think to emphasize that the thing was not planned. It happened by accident and everyone was surprised at the outcome, none more so than me’

At the conclusion of the match Blackheath’s mayor Peter Sutton asked if he could have the bat as a memento. Bradman generously agreed, but asked  if Sutton could  wait until he was no longer using it.  On Jan 19 the following year The Don split the bat while playing in a match at Sydney’s Callen Park Mental Hospital. As promised, he sent it to Sutton.

The iconic bat is now on display in the International Cricket Hall of Fame at Bowral; Don Bradman’s childhood town in the NSW Southern Highlands.

The 'Blackheath' Bat.

The ‘Blackheath’ Bat.

Following the cricket match there was a dance, at which one of the  Lithgow cricketers got up and sang. He was Bob Nicholson, a coal miner with a rich baritone voice.  Don Bradman was so impressed by Nicholson that he asked him to sing at his marriage to Jessie Menzies  the following April.  Bob Nicholson went on to have a successful career as an opera singer, performing at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Isn’t that interesting?

If you visit the cricket ground today you can see a story board about the famous match, with a photo of the team and the mayor. The Don is in the centre without his cap, a small boy probably snaffled it!

Storyboard at Blackheath Oval

Storyboard at Blackheath Oval

Well here is another story about  CRICKET.

And another one about BLACKHEATH

Have you got a special little  sports story you could share? Not a nasty one about Australia though, or Pauline will send it to spam cemetery. She is very one-eyed I’m afraid…not a pleasant trait.  DON’T FORGET TO COMPLETE THE SUM UNDER THE COMMENT BOX BEFORE YOU PRESS SUBMIT. Thank you…Editor Des. xx

8 Comments
  1. Well, Editor Des, Pauline had better watch out or you’ll be taking over the mantle of ‘writer’ in the house. I’m disappointed that it’s a ‘sport’ story but well done for a very well written piece.

    • Pauline

      Don’t you like sport Christine?? I do, but only when we win! Next time I’ll do a girly wirly story especially for you. Editor Des. xx
      PS..we are coming to visit you soon. Dr Bob has been booking the hotel today. Pauline is ever so pleased.

      • I’m not a huge fan of sport, Des. I seem to see much more of it since I have been with my Bob who is daft about sport and watches it on my tv and his own! I’m really looking forward to meeting you and Pauline – are you able to indicate around what date you’ll be in Glasgow?

        • We will be in Glasgow for three nights Ms Christine. From Sunday Sept. 1st until Tuesday Sept. 3rd. Pauline has to go to Glasgow University Library one day (Typical!!) but other wise we are FREE AS BIRDS.xx Des

  2. I have only got two words to describe that little bit of wonderful history and they are… No, I can’t, but they begin with a B and then an H.

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Notification of new stories via Email

Enter your email address to receive notification of new stories on this website (your address will not be shown).

Search Pandora

Find us in Pandora the National Library of Australia's archive of Australian online publications in perpetuity.