A new book on Sir Donald Bradman claims the Don played down his family’s considerable wealth, painting himself as an “Aussie battler” to combat jealousy from fellow cricketers.
The book’s British author, Mark Rowe, writes that Bradman’s father sold his Cootamundra farm for £2000 and purchased six cottages for £820, then the equivalent of several years’ pay for a working man.
The book, Young Bradman, goes on to say the family, who then moved to Bowral, would have had plenty of income from the rent of the cottages.
“In his autobiographies, Don Bradman describes his father as a carpenter, which was true,” Mr Rowe said.
“But it hid the fact that the family had plenty of money behind them.
“The first job Don Bradman took was at a Bowral estate agency, which could be a sign of how the Bradman family was at home with property deals.
“It also matters because a lack of money worries meant Don’s father could accompany him to Sydney by train for his crucial trial at the Sydney Cricket Ground in October 1926.
“He was doing his best to avoid jealousy – he faced enough envy from his fellow cricketers.”
The book, published in the UK by the Association of Cricket Statisticians, covers Bradman’s life until May 1930, when his outstanding batting for Australia made him world-famous.
After leaving Cootamundra, the family moved to the Southern Highlands where Bradman's mother's family came from. Another reason for the move may have been the death in 1907 of George Bradman's father Charles, an 1840s emigrant from England, who settled and prospered as a farmer outside Cootamundra.
“Though the events in my book are a century old, I was struck by how relevant Bradman’s story is now, and indeed for the future,” Mr Rowe said.
“Bradman was so much more successful than any other batsman, at the time and since. No-one is remotely his equal, despite all the coaching and academies and sports science.
“Why are Bradman’s methods – his famous game with a golf ball and stick against his water tank at his childhood home – not analysed and copied?
“It remains a mystery to me how Bradman did what he did; the only consolation is that Bradman could not explain it either.”
The book, £18, is for sale at http://acscricket.com.