History of Australian Telecommunications

Two historic papers from a special issue of the Journal in 1981 featuring the new Black Mountain telecommunications tower in Canberra.

'Telegraph' Todd was celebrated for his achievement in planning and organising the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line from Adelaide to Darwin, linking Australia to the outside world. Yet Todd himself has remained a shadowy figure, eluding a series of biographers for more than a century after his death. This article identifies the increasing availability of biographical resources over time and reviews the challenges which biographers faced in bringing to life the career of a great pioneering Australian.

On 29 November 1967 at 2:19 pm (local time), a small scientific satellite named the Weapons Research Establishment SATellite (WRESAT) was launched from Woomera, South Australia. Australia was the third country in the world to launch a satellite into space from its own territory. This paper is the author's personal account of his part in the project.

A new book, The Weatherman from Greenwich: Charles Todd  1826 to 1910, promises to be a biography of Charles Todd, telecommunications pioneer in Australia. The title is, however, misleading. Most of the book is devoted to social influences in England and South Australia that may have shaped Todds early life. Todds early technical experience in England and his first activities in Australia are briefly sketched. Readers seeking a fuller account of Todds life and achievements should look elsewhere.

In 2017 a new biography, Behind the Legend - The Many Worlds of Charles Todd, by Denis Cryle, was published. Cryle has written an engaging book that is thoroughly researched and referenced. It will appeal both to historians and to the general reader without expertise in any of the scientific or technical fields inhabited by Todd.

A historic paper from the Journal in 1961 summarising the investigation and selection of Crossbar Switching Equipment for the Australian Telephone Network.

Roger Banks passed away in January 2018. He retired as Telecom Australia?s Director of Business Development in 1988. This obituary outlines his life from the early days in Victoria, through his career with the PMG and Telecom, to his post-retirement contributions as a board member and supporter of engineering education.

A paper from 1936 exploring the effects of electrification of country Tasmania and the increasing interference to telecommunication circuits by high voltage power lines installed in close proximity.

A fascinating paper from 1952 describing the construction of an aerial trunk route and the problems associated with organisation of staff, equipment and materials.

Australia's first cellular mobile service was launched 30 years ago. This paper describes the business and political environment surrounding the launch, and the early evolution of the service.
 

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