Charles Heavitree Todd

Charles Heavitree Todd was born 7 July 1826 London and initially worked at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (1841–1847). From 1847 he worked at th Cambridge University observatory as the assistant astronomer. On 10 February 1855, Charles Todd was appointed to the post of Superintendent of Telegraphs and Government Astronomer.

Todd arrived in South Australia in the following November with his wife, Alice (from whom Alice Springs is named) and his assistant, Edward Cracknell and his wife and immediately commenced meteorological observations moving them to the Adelaide Observatory on its completion in 1860.

Todd proposed a plan to the SA Government for providing a weather service based on regular reports from the telegraphic and postal network. He was to set up, direct and supply weather services to South Australians until his retirement in 1906. The Post Office staff in South Australia and the Northern Territory had to make regular weather observations and to post these daily to the Adelaide GPO where it was collated. By 1893 Todd was claiming a 73% accuaracy rate for weather forecasting.

Todd pioneered the publications in newspapers of weather maps in newspapers from 1882.

Todd is better known for the construction of the 3178 km Adelaide to Port Darwin overland telegraph, which linked Australia with Europe through Batavia. In 1870, Todd was appointed as South Australia Post-Master General and persuaded the government to build the overland telegraph although he had first mooted the concept as early as 1863. In 1877, Todd extended the Telegraph from Port Augusta to Eucla on the WA border.

As the Government Astronomer, Todd was responsible for determining the precise position of the Adelaide Observatory at latitude 138°34'58"E, and latitude 34°55'38"S and this was used as benchmark for fixing the colony's boundaries.

Todd was widely published and a foundation member and the inaugural president of the Astronomical Society of South Australia (which was established in 1892) until his death at his summer home at Semaphore on 29 January 1910. He is buried at the North Road Cemetery.

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