Don Bradman collection could be tourist top scorer for Tamworth

SIR Donald George Bradman is widely acknowledged as the greatest ever Test batsman.

He averaged 99.94 throughout his career, a feat often cited as statistically the greatest achievement by any sportsman in any major sport.

England even conjured up infamous tactics known as “bodyline” to try and curb his free-scoring batting.

He not only captained Australia on the field but then became a selector and then Australian Cricket Board chairman, delighting in attacking cricket.

In 2001 then  Australian prime minister John Howard named him the “greatest living Australian”.

Bradman’s image has appeared on postage stamps and coins, and a museum dedicated to his life, the Bradman Museum in Bowral.

Late last year Tamworth’s Golden Guitar opened a wing devoted to the late great Sir Donald Bradman after Tamworth entrepreneur and collector, Tom Coultan bought a collection of Bradman memorabilia from Adelaide’s Geoff Heard.

Mr Coultan had extensions added to his Big Golden Guitar complex on Goonoo Goonoo Rd to house the collection of Bradman bats, photos and memorabilia he had bought.

“Geoff Heard grew up with Sir Donald and his son in Adelaide and collected all their memorabilia,” Mr Coultan said.

“I even have one of three replica bats Geoff  had Sir Donald sign before he died. One he gave to little Johnnie Howard, Geoff kept one and I got one.

“But we have all the Bradman memorabilia here. Not all of it’s on display.

“Anyone can come have a look, they’ll be surprised by what there is.”

Central North Zone cricket chairman Terry Psarakis said the Golden Guitar’s swing to a Sir Donald Bradman beat had enormous tourism potential for the city.

“It is fantastic for Tamworth and the whole area,” Mr Psarakis told The Leader.

“Basically it’s a sleeping giant.

“Tommy has done his homework. There’s a lot of stuff there that no one else has. 

“He’s the only one able to reproduce Bradman bats like he does.”

Mr Psarakis has been heavily involved in the Bradman collection coming to Tamworth.

He first met the previous owner, Geoff Heard, at a Bradman Foundation dinner in Sydney and exchanged cards and then e-mails with him.

“I initially told Geoff I’d be interested in buying some of the Bradman stuff. He told me the whole thing was for sale!”

Mr Psarakis mulled over that for a while and then a friend, Kel Penfold, recommended he talk to a collector such as Mr Coultan.

“I didn’t know Tom that well but good enough to ring him and ask him if he was interested,” he said.

“It took him 10 minutes and he said he’d go halves. In the mean time I also talked to other people.”

Mr Psarakis has kept a smallshare with a number of shareholders while Mr Coultan has become the main driver of the collection and hopes to have it online soon.

“Once it goes online it could take off incredibly,” Mr Psarakis said.

“It could be the best thing for tourism in Tamworth.”

His experiences with Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) and its then tourism arm, Tourism Tamworth (now Destination Tamworth) left a lot to be desired.

“I went to the TRC and they put me onto Tourism Tamworth,” he said.

“They told they couldn’t do anything to help until it was up and running.

“That was a bit of a knocker for us. But Tommy has done well to get it where it is.”

Famous subject: Tom Coultan and Terry Psarakis view one of the bigger pieces in the collection. Photo: Robert Chappel 060313RCE06

Famous subject: Tom Coultan and Terry Psarakis view one of the bigger pieces in the collection. Photo: Robert Chappel 060313RCE06

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