Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Overland Telegraph Line


Dignitaries from the Northern Territory and South Australia gathered at Frew Ponds yesterday, to celebrate a remarkable connection.

Yesterday we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Overland Telegraph line, connecting Darwin and Adelaide.

The more than 3000km line was made up of 36,000 telegraph poles with 11 repeater stations, needed to boost the signal, staggered 200 kilometres apart.

The Overland Telegraph line is widely acknowledged as the greatest engineering feat of the 19th century in Australia.

Administrator of the Northern Territory Vicki O’Halloran AO was pleased to share in the celebrations with her South Australian counterpart, the Honourable Frances Adamson AC Governor of South Australia.

“There has always been a unique and close bond between South Australians and Territorians and I think there is no clearer representation of that link than the Overland Telegraph line,” she said.

“The story of the Overland Telegraph line isn’t one for the Northern Territory nor is it one for South Australia it is a shared story of a shared endeavour and a shared purpose.”

Concurring with Her Honour, the South Australian Governor said she was delighted to be at Frew Ponds to mark the Sesquicentenary.

“The impact of the line on the economic, social and political fabric of our nation and our connections with the world was dramatic,” Her Excellency said.

“When connected with the undersea cable linking Darwin and Java, business information, news and urgent correspondence now took only hours to arrive from the UK and Europe rather than months. The tyranny of distance was being conquered.

“I hope that the fortitude, tenacity and vision displayed by all those who completed the line can be an inspiration to today’s Australians.”

The celebrations included a tour of the renovated and refreshed memorial, morning tea and a celebratory smashing of a brandy bottle (filled with tea) at the nearest point of the connection.

Derek Pugh, author of Twenty to the Mile, will be hosting an ‘Evenings at the Archives’ talk at the Archives Centre in Millner on Tuesday 6 September. Derek will take you back to 1872, when the Overland Telegraph was completed.

To find out more information about this event, visit Derek Pugh ‘A Journey on the Overland Telegraph Line' on Eventbrite.

Derek Pugh with the Governor of South Australia, Frances Adamson and NT Administrator Vicki O'Halloran.

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