The famous Captain’s Walk at Cootamundra’s Jubilee Park has received a facelift recently, making the unique tribute to Australia’s Test cricket skippers more accessible to the general public.
Originally situated on the western slope of Jubilee Park, the tribute has been moved to flat ground to make access for wheelchairs and walking aids more practical.
An initiative of the Cootamundra Shire Council, now Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC), with approval from the Australian Cricket Board, the Captain’s Walk has been a popular Cootamundra tourist attraction since the first statues were unveiled in August 1998.
CGRC has been pleased with the changes made to the Captain’s Walk, with a council spokesperson stating that the project has been well received.
“The community response has been positive. The relocation of the captains’ heads has enabled disabled access and aesthetically fits into the cricket theme as the layout is the shape of a cricket bat,” the spokesperson said.
“There have been community consultations that moving forward, council could include Australian female cricket players, as well as the first Indigenous bowler to bowl Don Bradman out.”
The cricket bat shape of the new design, which is nestled among native trees, adds a nice touch to an already impressive, and educational, attraction.
The bronze busts are all fixed to marble plinths with a plaque detailing each player’s record. The statues have been placed along a path, which makes the aforementioned shape of a cricket bat.
A life-size statue of the legendary Sir Don Bradman takes centre stage among the other players.
Cootamundra is famous throughout Australia, and perhaps in all of the cricket-playing nations, as being the birthplace of ‘‘The Don’’, making the town in southern NSW a perfect location for the historic cricketing tribute.
The first captains to be added to the walk were among some of the nation’s most famous cricketing leaders.
Unaarrimin (Johnny Mullagh), the star all-rounder from the Aboriginal cricket side that toured England in 1868, was among the first stage, with Richie Benaud, Bob Simpson, Ian Chappell, Allan Border and Mark Taylor being some of the other Test captains.
Mark Taylor adds further local interest to the Captain’s Walk, having been born in Leeton and raised in Wagga.
Taylor made his Test debut in 1989 against the West Indies and became the 39th Australian Test captain in May 1994 when Allan Border retired. He led his country until his own retirement in 1999.
While the new-look Captain’s Walk has been well received by Cootamundra locals, Region asked the CGRC whether it felt that the relocation would see an increase in tourist traffic to the town.
“Yes, this, including other features of the park, is predicted to encourage higher usage of tourism,” said a CGRC spokesperson.
“There are a number of extra barbecue facilities, shelters, seating and even a wetland area that boasts a water feature, and fog machine with spectacular lighting.”
The revamping of Jubilee Park was undertaken by Arcscape Landscaping Services, a company from the CGRC area.
In addition to the relocation of the Captain’s Walk and construction of other features, the local business has completed a substantial amount of landscaping. Garden beds line the entire perimeter of the popular park, while new paths connect the various attractions and facilities within the green space.
Spring is here, and the park is ready to receive locals and travellers alike, with the CGRC pointing to a few more improvements soon.
“There will be an upgrade to the drainage in the captain’s head area to improve functionality, and additional plants and trees to be planted over the next few weeks.”