Don Bradman’s restored childhood home up for sale in Bowral as owner sells after 17 years – ABC News

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When Andrew Leeming was browsing the National Trust’s website 17 years ago, he saw a property that caught his eye.

He and his wife Erica were looking for a home in Bowral and as a cricket enthusiast and collector, 52 Shepherd Street seemed like a perfect option.

The address is Don Bradman’s old house where he lived from ages three to 15.

“I told Erica there’s an interesting property here, it’s a renovation, but if you think it’s worth doing we could do something good for cricket, something good for the country, and create a lovely home to live in,” he said.

Andrew Leeming stands in his memorabilia room wearing a black blazer, white shirt and holding a cricket book.

Andrew Leeming said he was inspired to preserve the house after seeing other significant properties demolished overseas.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

They bought the house and began a meticulous restoration project to return it to an almost identical state to when the Bradman family lived in it.

The refurbishment even involved reinstalling the tank stand in the backyard that Don Bradman would bounce a golf ball off and hit with a cricket stump to hone his hand-eye coordination.

“You try to make the world a slightly better place, and had this house not been restored it was sinking into the ground,” Mr Leeming said.

“It was disappointing no-one at state or federal [government] or sporting level stood up to take care of the place and restore it.”

Now, having stood for 134 years, Bradman’s restored childhood home is going on the market.

Two single beds inside a bedroom with sporting equipment at the bottom of one bed.

Don Bradman’s childhood bedroom inside 52 Shepherd St has been furnished to reflect how it would have looked in the early 1900s.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

Importance of preserving significant properties

Paid for through their own finances and fuelled by Mr Leeming’s passion for cricket, the house is furnished to resemble life in the early 1900s, combined with modern comforts. 

Over the years, as well as living in the house, Mr Leeming has shown cricket legends, dignitaries, and members of the public through by private appointment.

“I’ve been fortunate to go overseas and what would break my heart is seeing famous places that have been demolished. It’s very important these places be preserved for future generations,” he said.

“I’ve had hardened first grade cricketers come here and burst into tears because they find the place so overwhelming.”

‘A spiritual experience’

ABC cricket commentator Jim Maxwell has visited 52 Shepherd Street numerous times, including staying overnight.

He said the restoration job was “super impressive”.

Jim Maxwell

Jim Maxwell has visited the house several times since its restoration.(ABC News)

“He [Andrew Leeming] has restored some Bradmania, it’s a Bradmanic transformation to a house Don Bradman lived in 100 years ago, and he’s created an extraordinary chunk of social history,” Maxwell said.

“He’s restored it magnificently to a place people will treasure if they get the chance to visit it.

“I hope that in the process of this place moving on that it can be retained as a place full of memories because it’s remarkable to feel your way around it. It’s a spiritual experience to be in that house.”

A small bust of Don Bradman alongside a number of cricket books on a mantlepiece.

The house has displayed Andrew Leeming’s large collection of cricket memorabilia.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

Property significant for Bowral and Australia

Samuel Lindsay is the real estate agent selling the property.

He said he was thrilled when he was given the opportunity to take the house to market.

Samuel sits in an office with books behind him, wearing a black shirt and brown coat.

Bowral real estate agent Samuel Lindsay said he has had international interest in the property.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)

“It’s not only a historical piece, but it’s culturally significant for Australia and there’s a real significance for the house and Bradman in the area,” he said.

“I see a lot of good properties and this one is up there with the detail to the period and the detail to make it liveable.

“It’s flawless, and as you walk in there’s a vibe in there if you know what the house has been, and its history.”

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