Youth and early career
Donald Bradman was the youngest child of George and Emily (née Whatman) Bradman, and was born on 27 August 1908 at Cootamundra, New South Wales (NSW). He had a brother, Victor, and three sisters—Islet, Lilian and Elizabeth May. When Bradman was about two-and-a-half years old, his parents moved to Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands.
Bradman practised batting incessantly during his youth. He invented his own solo cricket game, using a cricket stump for a bat, and a golf ball. A water tank, mounted on a curved brick stand, stood on a paved area behind the family home. When hit into the curved brick facing of the stand, the ball rebounded at high speed and varying angles—and Bradman would attempt to hit it again. This form of practice developed his timing and reactions to a high degree. In more formal cricket, he hit his first century at the age of 12, playing for Bowral Public School against Mittagong High School.
In 1920–21, Bradman acted as scorer for the local Bowral team, captained by his uncle George Whatman, and once filled in when the team was short of players, scoring 37 not out. During the season, Bradman’s father took him to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) to watch the fifth Ashes Test match. On that day, Bradman formed an ambition. “I shall never be satisfied”, he told his father, “until I play on this ground”. Bradman left school in 1922 and went to work for a local real estate agent who encouraged his sporting pursuits by giving him time off when necessary. He gave up cricket in favour of tennis for two years, but resumed playing cricket in 1925–26.