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Topics > Heritage

Heritage News and Events

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Overland Telegraph

2022 is 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.

Symposium

On Thursday 21 July 2022, the OT-150 Symposium will be held and will feature a kaleidoscope of speakers presenting newly researched information about the Overland Telegraph Line, what preceded it, the heroic efforts to build it and what followed.

It will be opened by the Governor, the Honourable Frances Adamson AC and facilitated by Keith Conlon OAM, Chair of the South Australian Heritage Council.

Book here for OT 150 Symposium

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.

SA History Festival 2022

The South Australian History Festival was held during May 2022 with many great events to attend.

Thanks to Keith Conlon OAM, Chair of the SA Heritage Council for his involvement in:

  • a talk about the Top 20 Heritage Snaps photos of 2021 in the Adelaide Arcade,
  • a walking tour in the city with engineering historian Richard Venus to celebrate visionary Charles Todd and the Overland Telegraph,
  • a history and heritage talk in the pub with historian Patricia Sumerling.


Watch this short video with Keith Conlon, Chair of the South Australian Heritage Council, promoting the History Festival and showcasing Heritage SnAps Photo Competition 2021.

Thanks to the History Trust of South Australia, Channel 44 Adelaide and the Adelaide Arcade.

Colonel Light Gardens with Keith Conlon

Before ANZAC Day 2020, Keith Conlon spoke to David Bevan on ABC Radio Adelaide about Colonel Light Gardens and its strong World War 1 connections.

Keith is Chair of the South Australian Heritage Council.

Listen to the interview.

Just prior to its layout in 1921, the Grange Farm, (purchased by the State Government), became a major World War 1 army training camp 1915-1920. After the war there was a shortage of housing with so many soldiers returning home, and so the government introduced the Thousand Home Scheme, the first major public housing scheme in Australia. About 700 were built in the new suburb in the 1920s.

The South Australian Heritage Council proposed it be a State Heritage Area and it was declared as such in 2000.

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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