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Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Overland Telegraph

2022 was the 150th anniversary of the Overland Telegraph.

The Australian Overland Telegraph Line was a 3,200 km (2,000 mi) telegraph line that connected Darwin with Port Augusta in South Australia. Completed in 1872, the Overland Telegraph Line allowed fast communication between Australia and the rest of the world. It was one of the great engineering feats of 19th-century Australia and was a significant milestone in the history of telecommunication.

Charles Todd, Superintendent of Telegraphs, was the planner, designer, and driving force behind Australia’s greatest infrastructure project, the Overland Telegraph. It was revolutionary. He successfully reimagined communication with Europe and the world.

The Overland Telegraph 150 year celebration website

A dedicated webpage has been established to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Overland Telegraph.

Click here to view this website.

In Charles Todd's footsteps through Adelaide

On 15 May 2022, as part of the History Festival, Keith Conlon OAM, Chair of the SA Heritage Council, and Richard Venus conducted a guided walk “from clock to clock” through central Adelaide in Charles Todd’s footsteps, looking at heritage buildings and telling stories of his contributions to South Australia.

You can read about this walking tour here.

State Heritage Places to visit

It’s a great time to visit some of the places connected to this revolutionary communication system.

There are five State Heritage Places connected with the Overland Telegraph:

  1. Electra House The South Australia Heritage Places database (maps.sa.gov.au)
  2. Adelaide GPO The South Australia Heritage Places database (maps.sa.gov.au)
  3. Strangways Repeater station The South Australia Heritage Places database (maps.sa.gov.au)
  4. The Peake Repeater station The South Australia Heritage Places database (maps.sa.gov.au)
  5. Beltana Repeater Station The South Australia Heritage Places database (maps.sa.gov.au)

Find out more information about Strangways here

Find more about the history of Beltana Telegraph Station here

Overland Telegraph on the radio

Keith Conlon spoke with ABC's Angela Coe on radio about the Overland Telegraph. You can listen via this link. Scroll to the 38 minute mark of the recording and enjoy!

State Heritage Places in the Adelaide Botanic Garden

The Adelaide Botanic Garden is full of beautiful plants, clean air and a great place to eat and meet friends and family. It also is rich in built heritage! Read about the eleven State Heritage Places within the Adelaide Botanic Garden here.

Thanks Keith Conlon, outgoing Chair of the SA Heritage Council

A big thank you to Keith Conlon for his time, wisdom, energy and enthusiasm in his time as Chair of the SA Heritage Council. Keith' contribution to Heritage in his five years as Chair was tremendous. So much great promotion of South Australia's heritage, and great leadership of the Council. Keith chaired his first meeting on 19 April 2018. In his five years he chaired almost 50 meetings of the Council! Keith chaired his last meeting on 30 March 2023.The Executive Officer put together a cheeky nomination for Keith to be registered as a State Heritage Object to express his gratitude for his work. You can read it here.

Sir Samuel Way Building to be restored

Often seen in TV news bulletins, the Sir Samuel Way Building in Victoria Square was in its own news story in November 2020. ABC TV News Report Alina Eacott talked to the Chair of the South Australian Heritage Council, Keith Conlon, about its origins as a grand department store in 1916 and the huge blaze which gutted the building in 1948.

One of the best known State Heritage Places, the building exterior will be restored, thanks to a decision through the November 2020 State Government Budget.

Sir Samuel Way Building

Celebrating South Australia’s Heritage

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