Charles Todd (astronomer) : biography

7 July 1826 - 29 January 1910

By 1870 it had been decided that the transcontinental line should be constructed from Port Augusta in the south to Port Darwin in the north, though the other colonies declined to share in the cost. The southern and northern sections of the line were let by contract, and the 1000 miles in between was constructed by the department.

The contractor at the northern end threw up his contract and Todd had to go to the north himself and finish it. Everything had to be sent by sea and then carted, but he met each difficulty as it arose, and overcame it successfully. The line was completed on 22 August 1872, but the cable to Darwin had broken and communication with England was not effected until 21 October.

Todd had been given the position of postmaster-general in 1870, and henceforth ruled as a benevolent autocrat thoroughly trusted by his staff and the ministers in charge of his department.

Death and legacy

Todd died at his summer home, Semaphore, near Adelaide, on 29 January 1910, and was buried at North Road Cemetery, Adelaide, on 31 January. The Sir Charles Todd Building at the University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Campus is named after him. The Astronomical Society of South Australia have also named the observatory that houses their 20 inch Jubilee Telescope, the Sir Charles Todd Observatory. Each year the Telecommunications Society of Australia invites a prominent member of the telecommunications industry to present the Charles Todd Oration.

His daughter Gwendoline married the physicist William Henry Bragg and was mother of William Lawrence Bragg, both of whom shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915.

Early life and career

Todd was son of grocer Griffith ToddH. P. Hollis, 'Todd, Sir Charles (1826–1910)', rev. K. T. Livingston, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 and Mary Parker,Source Citation: Place: Islington, London, Eng; Collection: Dr. William's Library; Nonconformist Registers; Date Range: 1815 - 1832; Film Number: 815926 was born at Islington, London, and was educated at Greenwich.

In December 1841 he entered the service of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, under Sir George Biddell Airy and in 1846 was one of the earliest observers of the planet Neptune. He was appointed assistant astronomer at the Cambridge Observatory in 1847, and in May 1854 was placed in charge of the galvanic department at Greenwich.

In February 1855, he accepted the positions of superintendent of telegraphs and government astronomer to South Australia.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine