26 September 2023

Bradman in glorious colour at NFSA

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The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has released the only known colour footage of Sir Donald Bradman playing cricket, shot at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) 70 years ago.

In a statement, NFSA said the vision showed Bradman striding onto the SCG for his penultimate first-class innings during the AF Kippax and WA Oldfield testimonial match, in what would be Bradman’s last appearance at the SCG.

“Although the footage is silent it captures the atmosphere at the ground and the 41,000 people in attendance,” NFSA said.

It said the 16mm colour footage was assumed to have been shot by George Hobbs, who had worked as a cameraman for the Department of Information during the Second World War.

“Hobbs’ son, Adrian donated the film in a can marked ‘Manly and Bondi Beach, Sydney @1949’,” NFSA said.

“When we examined the colour film it showed a second cameraperson filming Bradman walking out to bat,” it said.

NFSA said a Movietone newsreel in the NFSA collection covered the match and included near-identical images of Bradman and the surrounding crowd from a different angle, helping NFSA staff to correctly identify the date of the footage.

“The colour footage gives a great impression of the crowd and is a wonderful snapshot in time,” NFSA said.

The historic footage can be viewed on the NFSA website via this PS News link.

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