Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Rare Letter Hidden in a Dictionary; Gladstone Op Shop Hit for Six with Historic Cricket Discovery

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Rare Letter Hidden in a Dictionary; Gladstone Op Shop Hit for Six with Historic Cricket Discovery

Article excerpt

Byline: Jon Ortlieb jon.ortlieb@gladstoneobserver.com.au

A SMALL but significant piece of Australian history has been discovered in Gladstone.

The legendary cricketer Sir Donald Bradman travelled throughout Australia and the world during his illustrious cricketing career but it's doubtful he imagined his footprint would extend to central Queensland.

A deeply personal letter from the "The Don" has turned up in a Gladstone opportunity shop in the most remarkable of circumstances.

The staff at the Gladstone St Vincent De Paul Society in Goondoon St couldn't believe their eyes when they stumbled upon the hand-written letter in an old donated dictionary.

While staff have no idea where the book came from, the letter was neatly and appropriately tucked away at the start of "B" in the old dictionary.

Retail operations manager for the central Queensland Catholic Diocese that runs the store, Charmain Tolhurst, said the organisation was immensely proud to have discovered the letter and could now preserve another special piece of Australian history.

"It is quite an important piece of history, Sir Donald Bradman is a great Australian," Ms Tolhurst said. "This is a most memorable thing to find and we are proud to be able to save a piece of history.

"It certainly looks like it's been written to a friend."

The diocese has contacted the Bradman Centre museum at Bowral in New South Wales to authenticate the letter.

Sir Donald was born at Cootamundra but grew up at Bowral before moving to Adelaide to play cricket for South Australia and famously Australia as its greatest ever player.

At this stage the letter, written on an official Sir Donald Bradman embossed letterhead, looks to be the real thing with the signature matching official records held at the museum in NSW.

The letter, which will be donated to the museum, was written by Sir Don when he was 87 years old. It was addressed to "Andrew and Jules" and is dated June 4, 1996. …

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