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Hometown heroes: Revisiting the cities of our sporting heroes

Australia and New Zealand have produced their fair share of sporting heroes. We look at some of our best champions and where they hailed from.

 

The Boy from Bowral
Although Sir Donald Bradman AC was born in Cootamundra, he spent his early life in NSW’s southern highlands and was known as ‘the boy from Bowral’.

Australia’s most legendary cricketer, Bradman retired in 1948 with a test batting average of 99.94. The story of his final innings is as iconic as his average when he got out for a duck when just four runs would have taken his average to 100.

One of Bowral’s most famous buildings is the Bradman Museum of Cricket, situated beside Bradman Oval and opposite the hero’s old family home. In the courtyard of the museum is A Final Salute, the life-size bronze statue of ‘the boy from Bowral’.

If you live in Sydney, here’s some places to have a friendly cricket match.

 

The biggest drawcard
With a long and brilliant career in rugby union, Jonah Lomu MNZM is one of the biggest names in the game and was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007. At one point Lomu was considered Rugby Union’s biggest drawcard and was the All Black’s youngest test player when he joined the team at the tender age of 19.

Dubbed as ‘the city of sails’, Lomu’s hometown of Auckland is a colourful mix of European, South Pacific and Asian cultures and indigenous Maori heritage. The sleeping volcano of Rangitoto Island is one of the iconic sights of the city, which also offers natural and cultural attractions that make it an exciting place to visit any time of year. Auckland offers visitors a wide variety of things to experience and best of all there are plenty of free things to do in Auckland.

 

True-blue wallaby
George Musarurwa Gregan was born in Zambia and moved to Canberra when he was only a year old.

Captain of the Australian Rugby Union team, the Wallabies, Gregan has made more appearances for them than any other player in the sport’s history.

Celebrate proud sporting achievements by a visit to the Australian Institute of Sport, delve into unique political history at Parliament House and see our country and our people through the eyes of artists at the National Gallery of Australia.

 

The king of Queensland
King Wally Lewis, a former Australian Rugby League player and coach is widely thought to be the greatest player of all time. He represented Queensland in 31 State of Origin games and represented Australia in 33 international matches. Now a Channel 9 commentator, Lewis has been inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame.

Lewis is a treasured icon, just as his hometown of Brisbane is known for one of its most treasured landmarks, the Story Bridge. This 777-metre long bridge was opened in 1940 and is the largest steel bridge designed, fabricated and constructed in Australia by Australians. One of Brisbane’s main attractions is the Story Bridge Climb, which began in October 2005. It’s two-and-a-half hours of exhilaration with night-time presenting the perfect backdrop to climb under the dazzling sky.

 

Living treasure
Raelene Boyle won three silver medals as a sprinter and has been named one of 100 Living Treasures by the National Trust of Australia.

Boyle was born in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg. The cosmopolitan city is brimming with attractions such as the MCG, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Federation Square, and it has some of the best shopping in Australia. It is also the gateway to Ballarat’s award-winning Sovereign Hill, which is a great way for visitors to learn about the gold rush through interactions with goldfield characters and participation in a living history experience.

 

Who are your local sporting heroes?

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