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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


Inquiry question:
How can a knowledge and understanding of the nature of history and the methods of historical inquiry be applied to the study of a thematic issue?

A student
E5.1 applies an understanding of history, heritage, archaeology and the methods of historical inquiry
E5.5 evaluates the contribution of cultural groups, sites, and/or family to our shared heritage
E5.6 identifies, comprehends and evaluates historical sources and uses them appropriately in an historical inquiry
E5.8 locates, selects and organises relevant historical information from a number of sources, including ICT, to undertake historical inquiry
E5.9 uses historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts
E5.10 selects and uses appropriate oral, written and other forms, including ICT, to communicate effectively about the past for different audiences.

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 collection 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
    Is Sir Donald Bradman a great Australian? Most people would say that he undoubtedly is. But why? How could you justify describing him in this way?
    Divide into groups, with each group in the class taking a different period:
    1. Early life
    2. Cricket career 1930s
    3. Cricket career 1940s
    4. Post-war career.
  3. Gather information and evidence on these aspects:
    1. His qualities
    2. Attitudes and values
    3. Leadership
    4. Honours, awards, achievements
    5. Image
    6. His influence on others
    7. Others’ views of him
    8. Any controversies and criticisms of him – cricket, business, personal.
  4. Each group reports to class on its findings.
  5. Use all the information gathered to arrive at a conclusion and reasoned assessment of his significance and contributions to Australia. Should he be considered a great Australian? Why?

Further Resources


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