Cootamundra is a small town nestled in the rolling hills of the south-west slopes of NSW, just a short drive from Canberra. A bustling hub during the 1860s gold rush, these days Cootamundra is a sleepy hamlet but it offers up some cracking surprises for lovers of cricket.
The Big Cricket Stumps
First up in Cootamundra's claim to cricket fame - and its very own "big thing" - the big cricket stumps. The stumps stand sentinel over Bradman Oval at the western end of town and offer the opportunity for a super-kitschy photo.
Next, head to Adams Street where you'll find the Bradman's Birthplace Museum. Set up in the humble home where Sir Donald Bradman was born, Bradman's birthplace is a quaint look back over the life of one of Australia's sporting heroes. Staffed by local volunteers who are happy to chat, show you around or even make you a cup of tea with a biscuit, the $3 entry fee assures any visitors that this place is a labour of love rather than a money-making gimmick.
The museum has two parts - the cottage where 'The Don' was born in 1908 and a memorabilia cottage next door. The first cottage is a shrine to cricket's greatest with pictures and memorabilia celebrating his career. The memorabilia cottage is jam-packed with an eclectic collection of historical bits and bobs, curios and Australiana from times gone by. Whether you're a cricket fan or not, the museum provides a perfect opportunity to chat with the generous volunteers, take some time out and enjoy soaking up a bit of history.
The Captain's Walk
Last on Cootaumundra's cricket tour is the Captains Walk. Located in Jubilee Park, the Captain's Walk is a path lined with bronze busts of Australia's test cricket captains. At last count, there were 42 on display. Some are brilliant, some verge more to the creepy end of the spectrum, but all are worth a look if you're a fan of cricket or, for that matter, a fan of sculpture and public art.
If you'd like to check out Cootamundra's cricket heritage, the drive takes around an hour and 45 minutes from Canberra. A Cootamundra day trip is a great opportunity to get out and explore a unique little corner of the Canberra region next time you have a weekend free.