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Video clip synopsis – Donald Bradman’s bats are a reminder of how this cricket legend played himself into the record books, earning the status of Australian icon.
Year of production - 2004
Duration - 5min 0sec
Tags - Australian History, biography, heritage, heroism, sport, see all tags


Bradman's Bats

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About the Video Clip


Bradman’s Bats is an episode of the series National Treasures produced in 2004.

Bradman’s Bats
Donald Bradman’s status as an Australian icon is without question. But can just one of the bats he used to enter the record books sum up his unparalleled cricketing career? Warren Brown pulls on the gloves and picks up the willow at the State Library of South Australia for his choice among the treasured Bradman bats on display in the Adelaide collection.

National Treasures
Take a road-trip of discovery with the irrepressible Warren Brown – political cartoonist, columnist and history “tragic” – as he reveals a fascinating mix of national treasures drawn from public and private collections across Australia. On its own, each treasure is a priceless snapshot of an historic moment. Together, they illustrate the vitality and uniqueness of the Australian experience.

National Treasures is a Film Australia National Interest Program. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Curriculum Focus


Through responding to and composing a wide range of texts in context and through close study of texts, students will develop skills, knowledge and understanding in order to speak, listen, read, write, view and represent.

Outcome 1: A student responds to and composes increasingly sophisticated and sustained texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure.
Outcome 4: A student selects and uses language forms and features, and structures of texts according to different purposes, audiences and contexts, and describes and explains their effects on meaning.
Outcome 5: A student transfers understanding of language concepts into new and different contexts.
Outcome 6: A student experiments with different ways of imaginatively and interpretively transforming experience, information and ideas into texts.
Outcome 7: A student thinks critically and interpretively using information, ideas and increasingly complex arguments to respond to and compose texts in a range of contexts.
Outcome 11: A student uses, reflects on, assesses and adapts their individual and collaborative skills for learning with increasing independence and effectiveness.

This material is an extract. Teachers and students should consult the Board of Studies website for more information.

Background Information


Sir Donald George Bradman, AC (August 27, 1908 –February 25, 2001), was an Australian cricketer who is universally regarded as the greatest batsman of all time, and is one of Australia’s most popular sporting heroes.

He played his first Test in November 1928. By 1932 he dominated the game, and special bowling tactics, known as fast leg theory or Bodyline, were devised by England to reduce his dominance in a series of international matches in the Australian summer of 1932–1933. Many say that the tactics devised were unsporting and dangerous, but they allowed England to win the series.

Bradman joined the armed forces during World War II, and returned to international cricket in 1948, leading ‘The Invincibles’, who went undefeated throughout the tour, a feat unmatched before or since. However, some on the tour did not regard him as a good leader.

Over an international career spanning 20 years from 1928 to 1948, Bradman’s batting achievements are unparalleled. Among those who have a meaningful Test match batting average through batting in more than 20 innings, his figure of 99.94 is over 63% higher than that achieved by any other cricketer. Next among those who have batted in more than 20 innings is South African Graeme Pollock with an average of 60.97.

After retiring from playing cricket, Bradman continued working as a stockbroker. He also became heavily involved in cricket administration, serving as a selector for the national team for nearly 30 years.

In 2000, Bradman was selected by a distinguished panel of experts as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Century. Each member of the panel selected five cricketers, and Bradman was the only player to be named by all 100 correspondents. The other four cricketers selected for the honour were Sir Garfield Sobers (90 votes), Sir Jack Hobbs (30 votes), Shane Warne (27 votes) and Sir Vivian Richards (25 votes).

While Bradman has enjoyed a legendary status among most Australians, a few have raised issues that challenge aspects of his heroic image, including criticism of his sometime divisive captaincy.

Classroom Activities

  1. Understanding the video clip
    1. Who was Don Bradman?
    2. Why is he considered so special?
    3. Why would a museum want a number of his bats, and not just one?
    4. What happened in his last innings?
    5. Why might that bat be important?
  2. Exploring issues raised in the video clip
    A biography is an exploration of the life of a person. It should cover his or her influences, achievements, personal qualities and achievements. It should consider different people’s views of the person in coming to any judgement about the person’s life.
    Prepare a class biography of Sir Donald Bradman. Divide into groups, each group taking a different period:
    1. Early life
    2. Cricket career 1930s
    3. Cricket career 1940s
    4. Post-war career.
      Aspects to consider include:
    5. His qualities
    6. What formed and influenced him?
    7. What were his attitudes and values?
    8. Leadership
    9. Honours, awards and achievements
    10. Image
    11. His influence on others
    12. Others’ views of him
    13. Any controversies about his life – cricket, business, personal.
      Use all this to arrive at a conclusion and reasoned assessment of his significance and contributions to Australia, and your assessment of him as a person.
  3. Prepare a biographical entry OR a PowerPoint presentation OR a dramatic piece OR a storyboard for a film about his life OR a nomination for the Australian Hall of Fame.

Further Resources


For more National Treasures information and video clips go to Investigating National Treasures