Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/536

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Todd
Todd
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instrument took a daguerreotype picture of the moon, this being one of the first attempts in astronomical photography. The electric telegraph was then first being applied to astronomic observation, and Todd whilst at the University Observatory helped in the operations of determining telegraphically the difference of longitude between Cambridge and Greenwich. In 1854 he was recalled to the Royal Observatory to take charge of the electro-galvanic apparatus which had just been introduced for the transmission of time signals, and in the following year Airy recommended him to the colonial office for the post of superintendent of the telegraphs to be established in South Australia, and director of the Adelaide observatory, which it was just decided to create. Todd landed in Australia on 5 Nov. 1855. He remained in charge of the colonial observatory at Adelaide until 31 Dec. 1906. The varied calls of official work prevented him from personally undertaking any extensive research. But in 1868 he co-operated with the government astronomers of Victoria and New South Wales in the determination of a more accurate position of the 141st meridian, which was to be adopted as the common boundary of South Australia and New South Wales. In 1874, during the transit of Venus, a large number of micrometric measures of the planet were made at the observatory. On the occasion of the transit in 1882 Todd journeyed to Wentworth for its observations. Long series of observations of the phenomena of Jupiter's satellites, most of them made by Todd himself, with notes on the physical appearance of the planet, were published in the 'Royal Astronomical Society's Monthly Notices,' vols, xxxvii., xxxix. and xl. He observed the Great Southern Comet of 1880 and other comets, and under his direction his assistants effected a considerable amount of observation with the transit-circle which was provided by the government of South Australia at Todd's instigation about 1880. The routine meteorological work of the observatory he directed with characteristic thoroughness, and he organised an extensive meteorological service, extending over the whole state.

But his chief energies were absorbed as soon as he reached Australia in 1855 with designs for a great telegraphic system on the Australian continent. Private enterprise had made a first effort in telegraphy in South Australia with a short line from the city of Adelaide to the port. But immediately on his arrival Todd set up a government line over the same route, which was opened on 21 Feb. 1856. Its success was immediate and the private line was bought up and dismantled. In the same year Todd proposed to the South Australian government the establishment of an intercolonial telegraph line joining Adelaide and Melbourne, and after negotiation with the government of Victoria he brought the service between the two capitals into use in July 1858. The telegraph systems in the adjoining states. New South Wales and Queensland, had been developing contemporaneously with that in South Australia. In proposals for connecting Brisbane and Sydney with Melbourne and Adelaide Todd effectively co-operated. The line between Sydney and Melbourne was opened in 1858, and was extended to Brisbane in 1861.

Before he left England Todd had recognised the desirability of bringing Australia into closer connection with the mother country by means of the telegraph. As early as 1859 Todd submitted to Sir Richard MacDonnell [q. v.], governor of South Australia, a scheme for a line to cross the continent from Adelaide to Port Darwin, in the extreme north. This proposal, which he embodied in a despatch to the colonial secretary, was greatly helped by the exploration in the interior of John McDouall Stuart [q. v.]. Meanwhile an English company (afterwards the Eastern Extension Company) were planning a cable from Singapore via Java to Port Darwin, where a connection could be made with an Australian land line and the Australian continent could be thus united telegraphically with the rest of the world. Todd pressed his scheme with pertinacity in official quarters, and the internal line was authorised in 1870. In 1869 the telegraph and postal departments of South Australia had been amalgamated, and Todd became postmaster-general next year. The colony bore the whole charge of constructing the internal telegraph line, which was nearly two thousand miles long, mostly across unknown country. Todd supervised the difficult work, and in August 1872, being at Mount Stuart, in the centre of the Australian continent, he had the satisfaction of telegraphing by means of a portable instrument in both directions to Port Darwin and to Adelaide. The cable from Port Darwin to Singapore was in working order a little later, and complete communication was established between Adelaide and England on 21 Oct. Three weeks later banquets