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15 November 1872 Sir Charles Todd

15 November 1872                Sir Charles Todd

On 15 November 1872 the Post-Master General and Superintendant of Telegraphs, Charles Todd, was given a public demonstration of appreciation on the completion of the Overland Telegraph lines to Darwin. In 1870 the South Australian Government entered into an agreement by which the British and Australian Telegraph Company agreed to connect Singapore with Port Darwin by cable and the colony was to construct an overland line across the continent. Charles Todd was given the task of overseeing the erection of the line which followed, roughly, the route taken by Stuart. Through this vast treeless, largely desert country a line of 1755 miles was erected using 36,000 poles of timber, some carted hundreds of miles, at a cost of £480,000. Work was begun at each end and the wires met at the centre of the continent in August 1872. Todd, using a small pocket set, made the first two-way communication with England from a camp at Central Mount Stuart.

Todd was later conferred with an honorary degree (MA) from Cambridge in 1886, was made a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1889, and received a knighthood (KCMG) in 1893. 

H.M. Cooper, A Naval History of South Australia, Adelaide, 1950, p.94.

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