These 2 photos kind of go hand in hand as true Aussie icons, of which both, Adelaide is keen to gain ownership. While lamb chops and sausage sizzles compliment every good sporting event, ‘The Don’ and his relationship with this glorious green stadium is like the finest tomato sauce atop a thick fillet mignon.
I can vividly remember catching the old ‘Red Hen’ train on the morning of my first Boxing Day Test Match at the Adelaide Oval. Standard weather report no matter which year you went was always 35 degrees plus, even at 10 in the morning! People on the train crammed in with their fold ups, terry towelling hats, 4 bottles of Coconut oil (or vegetable oil which was way cheaper), an esky filled to the brim, and all wearing the Australian uniform….a pair of stubbies, tank top and thongs (men and women).
From the train station to the oval, the atmosphere was electric. It was like a yobbo’s Christmas Pageant and we were all playing a part. Through the 19th century turnstiles, up a small grassy knoll, and there it was….Cricket Utopia! The view stretched out like a royal green carpet with a gothic steeple backdrop, ancient Moreton Bay Fig trees and the crowd buzzing like bees. The smell grass and steak sandwiches, the sound of perfectly practiced chants that would put it up the Poms, the warm trickle of beer running down your back from clumsy Steve and the mob that came dressed as watermelon heads……and the game hadn’t even started!!
The combatants strode out to the middle, a country on their shoulders. Old men cranked up their tiny transistors to hear what they couldn’t see. The whole Oval, 40,000 odd (felt like 60,000) fell into an eerie silence that burst into an explosion of noise at the bowling of the first delivery. As per usual, a great flat wicket with plenty of runs on offer…thanks Les!
Here in 1932 Don Bradman notched up the highest test score at the Adelaide Oval, that of 299 not out. In the same game Clarrie Grimmett collected fourteen wickets, the most ever taken in a Test match at the ground by a bowler. Back in ’65 when Port Adelaide won another premiership, there was 62,543 shoulder to shoulder. An alien by the name of David Bowie even performed here.
We call it Bradman’s home ground, alot of people in NSW would beg to differ. Let’s be honest here, Adelaide has always had an inferiority complex. We as a city seem to have a fear of commitment when it comes to change. Do we hold onto our heritage or come into the 21st century and embrace what Melbourne has done so easily (yes, we are peering over the fence when no one is watching...and we are found wanting).
· The one way Express Way
· Temporary Grandstands at the Clipsal 500
· The Multi Function Polis (ouch!)
· Retractable light stands at The Adelaide Oval
No more !!! I hear you say, but you know the list is long.
We can hang our hat, on this, (arguably) the most beautiful Cricket ground in the world, and ‘our’ Don Bradman, the epitome of Integrity. So raise your lamb chop people, Adelaide is Heaps Good!
These old historical photos, Adelaide Oval c.1920, Don Bradman scores 334 not out at Leeds c.1930 and many more, including cricket, can be found at our Parent website www.fadedmemories.com.au.