Charles Todd (Sir)

Sir Charles Todd (* July 7, 1826 in London, † January 29, 1910 in Adelaide ) was a British scientist and astronomer communication.


Charles Todd was the son of food and tea merchant. At the age of 15 he came to training in communication sciences and astronomy at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, where he remained seven years; then he worked from 1847-1854 at the University of Cambridge as an assistant. In 1855 he was moved to the proposal and mediation of the University of Adelaide Observatory in the colony of South Australia.

With his then 18 -year-old wife Alice, he arrived in Adelaide on 5 November 1855. His duties were in construction and monitoring of astronomical and meteorological observation stations, but his main interest was telegraphy. After the establishment of several smaller telegraph lines it had succeeded in the years 1856-1859, he expressed to the Governor Sir Richard MacDonnell first time in 1859 his idea that it would be technically possible, a complete north-south transmission line through the central Australian outback of Port Augusta to build to Darwin.

In January 1863, Todd turned his plans to the Philosophical Society of Adelaide. 1870, the legal basis was created by the colonial government and Charles Todd Superintendent ( Postmaster General ) for this project.

Todd's assistants, who should find suitable terrain on the trail of the route, which had John McDouall Stuart discovered through the Red Centre, 1862, met in the desert on major logistical problems. In some teams workers were killed, and they had to give up. In the tropical north, the rainy season blocked the work; Termites ate the wooden telegraph poles, and it had to be imported steel poles from the UK.

Popular the name Charles Todd has become in the town of Alice Springs. Here is his employee William Whitfield Mills had discovered in a dry river bed, a water point, which he named after Todd's wife Alice; a source, as first suspected, this was not in reality. The local telegraph station, which drew the subsequent founding of the city after himself, was built at this depression, which leads not permanent water. According to him, even the rare water-bearing river Todd River was named.

Despite all the difficulties Todd managed plan; 3200 km long north-south line was completed on 22 August 1872 and was connected in October of the same year in Darwin to a British submarine cable. On October 22, 1872, the first telegraphic message between London and Adelaide has been replaced.

This performance made ​​Charles Todd also known in the UK. In 1886 he was elected an honorary member of the London Royal Society and two other companies Royal ( Royal Meteorological Society and Society of Electrical Engineers ). Charles Todd kept until the end of the colonial period in his position as Postmaster General and entered 1901 in the service of the Commonwealth of Australia a, the bundled responsibility for the telegraph network in after resolution of the colonies. Although he had passed the age limit of 70 years, but the government made ​​an exception for him as long to remain in the civil service, as he wanted. Only at the age of 78 years (1905 ) he resigned and died on 29 January 1910 at his summer home in Semaphore in Adelaide.