A new photo from the Powerhouse Museum every day
Recently I have been undertaking some cataloguing of our Tom Lennon photographic archive and during the course of that work I came across two photographs that caught my attention. Both photographs show two men shaking hands outside Mark Foy’s Limited building (now Downing Centre) on the corner of Elizabeth and Liverpool Streets, Sydney watched presumably by executives from the company who might be Mark Foy and the Managing Director at the time, H M Macken. The man shaking hands on the right in the first photograph looked familiar straight away while the one on the left in the dark Trilby hat didn’t. However when I looked at the second photograph – which is taken at the same time but from a different angle and with the group and suitcase rearranged – there was something about the man’s grin that jumped out at me.
After deciding who you think the two men are who are shaking hands continue reading on to see if you agree with our analysis.
We believe that the photograph shows aviator Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith shaking hands with test cricketer (later Sir) Donald Bradman. In the photograph Bradman is slightly heavier than shown in most other photographs but in early 1935, when we believe this photograph was taken, he had only recently returned to Australia after falling gravely ill during September 1934 at the end of the Ashes tour of England with acute appendicitis and then peritonitis. When Don Bradman returned to Australia in late January 1935 it was stated in the press that he had put on some weight during his recovery including the sea voyage back to Australia. When news of Bradman’s illness first reached Australia Sir Charles had offered to fly Jessie Bradman to England. Maybe the meeting between the two men had been arranged to allow Bradman to thank Kingsford-Smith for his kind offer. Possibly both had a commercial relationship with Mark Foys.
Donald Bradman did not play cricket again until the start of the 1935/36 Sheffield Shield season when he captained his adopted state of South Australia to the title. Sadly Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith died in November 1935 in a plane crash over the Andaman Sea off the coast of Burma. The Powerhouse Museum holds a wheel and oreo strut from the undercarriage of the Lady Southern Cross which was washed up 18 months after the accident on the island of Aye.
Research indicates that the photographs were taken in early February 1935 when Don and Jessie Bradman were in Sydney for the marriage of Mrs Bradman’s sister Jean Menzies to John Gillam at the Malvern Hill Methodist Church in Croydon on Saturday 2 February 1935. At the time the Bradmans were staying in his home town of Bowral.
Photography by Tom Lennon
No known copyright restrictions
Post by Paul Wilson, Acting Archives Manager