The greatest engineering feat of 19th century Australia
The greatest engineering problem facing Australia – the tyranny of distance – had a solution: the electric telegraph, and its champion was the sheep-farming state of South Australia. In two years, Charles Heavitree Todd, leading hundreds of men, constructed a telegraph line across the centre of the continent from Port Augusta to Port Darwin. At nearly 3,000 kilometres long and using 36,000 poles at ’20 to the mile’, it was a mammoth undertaking, but at last, in October 1872, Adelaide was linked to London. The Overland Telegraph Line crossed Aboriginal lands first seen by John McDouall Stuart just 10 years before and messages which previously took weeks to cross the country now took hours. Passing through eleven new repeater stations, built in the remotest parts of Australia, the line joined the vast global telegraph network, and a new era was ushered in. Each station held a staff of six and they became centres of white civilization and the cattle or sheep industry as the Aborigines were displaced. The unique stories of how men and women lived and/or died on the line range from heroic, through desperate, to tragic, but they remain an indelible part of Australia’s history.
… a book written with heart and admiration… a lasting tribute to the inventiveness and tenacity of the people behind the planning, building and execution of the Overland Telegraph – a true nation building endeavour (His Excellency, The Honourable Hieu Van Le AC).
Bio: Derek Pugh OAM, is an educator and award-winning author, writing books in several genres: NT history, science, adventure travel and YA fiction. He is most well-known for his history series on early European settlement of the Top End, Tambora, and the novels Tammy Damulkurra, and Schoolies. He lives in Darwin but as he grew up in the Australian Capital Territory and moved to the Northern Territory nearly 40 years ago, he claims to have been a ‘Territorian’ all his life. He has had a long career in education in several contexts: from large urban senior schools, to tiny remote homeland centre schools in Central Arnhem Land, and several international schools. He now teaches part time, writes about Northern Territory settlement history and is busy promoting the settlement bicentenary coming up in 2024.
Awards: Winner: Territory Read Best Non-Fiction Book 2016 for Tambora: Travels to Sumbawa and the Mountain of Change Short-listed: Chief Minister's Book of the Year, 2016 for Tambora Short-listed: Chief Minister's Book of the Year, 2020 for Darwin: Origin of a City Short-listed: Chief Minister's Book of the Year, 2021 for Port Essington
Book and eBook Distribution:
Port Essington: the British in North Australia 1838-49 https://www.booktopia.com.au/port-essington-derek-pugh/book/9780648142171.html Darwin: Growth of a City. The 1880s - https://www.booktopia.com.au/darwin-derek-pugh/book/9780648142188.html Darwin: Origin of a City. The 1870s - https://www.woodslane.com.au/Book/9780648142140/Darwin-Origin-of-a-City Darwin 1869: The Second Northern Territory Expedition - https://www.woodslane.com.au/Book/9780648142126/Darwin-1869 Darwin 1869: The First Year in Photographs - https://www.woodslane.com.au/Book/9780648142133/Darwin-1869-The-First-Year-in-Photographs Escape Cliffs: The First Northern Territory Expedition - https://www.woodslane.com.au/Book/9780648142102/Escape-Cliffs Fort Dundas - The British in North Australia 1824-29. https://www.woodslane.com.au/Book/9780992355869/Fort-Dundas Fort Wellington: The British in North Australia 1827-29 Tambora - email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tammy Damulkurra - email: email@example.com Turn Left at the Devil Tree - email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Owner's Guide to the Teenage Brain:email: email@example.com Schoolies: eBook, book: https://www.booktopia.com.au/schoolies-derek-pugh/book/9780648142157.html or email firstname.lastname@example.org