by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Memento : Issue 36
MEMENTO ISSUE 36 11 his role as Chairman of the Board of Control, sought to 'peel back the hyperbole' to get to the heart of the South African problem. Perry notes that while Bradman was opposed to apartheid, he believed that the South African cricketers 'had tried harder than our protesters to do something about it.' Ultimately, the intransigence of the South African Government caused Bradman to shift from tour advocate to tour critic. When Bradman announced the tour cancellation he concluded with a simple statement: 'We will not play them (South Africa) until they choose a team on a non-racist basis.' Bradman's reputation and fame 'meant that this unexpected move was a massive international blow to apartheid.' Historians of Cricket Australia, Gideon Haigh and David Frith, have suggested rather different reasons for the cancellation of the 1971--72 tour. The 'clinching argument' was that both Prime Ministers McMahon (Australia) and Vorster (South Africa) had made it clear that they did not want the tour to go ahead. Bradman reported to a meeting of the cricket board on 8 September 1971 that it had no choice but to accept this advice. The tour, then, was cancelled primarily for pragmatic reasons. It seems clear that protests of 1970 (in England) and 1971 (in Australia) did have an impact. McMahon and Vorster did not want another round of large demonstrations, social divisiveness, massive police involvement and continuing media preoccupation with South Africa. Despite the fact that there had been no real change in the structure of South African cricket over the next year, Bradman raised the issue of another tour some nine months later. He wrote to the Prime Minister's Department on 6 June 1972: The Australian Board of Control is very anxious to have a resumption of cricket contests between Australia and South Africa. The present situation is highly detrimental to cricket in both countries, and the profits which could be made from such tours and which are vital to the development of the game, are sadly missed. The cricket authorities in Australia are non-racial in their outlook. Color is no bar to selection in this country and we in turn are happy to play against others of any color. But so long as the South African Gov't forbids the selection of a colored man in a cricket team to represent South Africa, then apparently the Aust. Trades Union and the Anti-apartheid people, will continue their opposition to any resumption of matches. This letter represented a plea to the Australian Government to lean on the South African Government to achieve 'sufficient relaxation' of racial regulations to enable the next tour to proceed in 1975--76. It seemed that Bradman hoped that a gesture such as the selection of one or two non-whites in the South African squad might make the tour more acceptable to the Australian Government and public. Bradman had advocated a similar proposal in an attempt to save the 1971--72 tour. He concluded his letter by stating that 'one would assume that the resumption of such sporting contests to be in the "political" interests of both countries.' However, a succession of Australian governments from 1972 believed that Australian political interests were best served by maintaining the boycott. As an astute administrator, Bradman was keen to solve the problem of the cessation of cricket contacts between Australia and South Africa and recognised that apartheid was at the heart of this problem. Bradman's stance on South Africa was consistent. However, he was a reformer and a bridge builder, who worked within the system, rather than a radical who wanted a complete upheaval of the South African sports system. Implementing the boycott When Gough Whitlam came to power in December 1972, the Labor Government made haste to dismantle all vestiges of racism and to adopt a more independent stance on foreign policy. One of its first actions was to restrict the entry of racially selected sports teams and individuals and initiate an apartheid sports boycott. Subsequent governments of Malcolm Fraser (from 1975) and Bob Hawke (from 1983) endorsed this policy. The critical weapon in the government's arsenal during the boycott campaign was the denial of visas to South African teams and individuals. This was the nub of Australia's tougher stance. The government applied the test of multi-racial selection to determine whether South African sports participants could gain entry to Australia. Few South African teams could measure up to the tough standards applied by the [left] During the 1971 rugby tour, some of the Springboks games were played behind barbed wire and many were marked by clashes between demonstrators and police. Protestor Meredith Burgmann was dragged along the ground at the Sydney Cricket Ground. [right] The 1971 Springbok tour sparked protests across the country, such as this anti-apartheid demonstration in Brisbane. Photo: Newspix/ News Limited