The Todd Collection



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The Todd Collection, which numbers 45 items and incorporates the Bradshaw Collection, includes a range of items most of which are directly related to Sir Charles Todd and Thomas Bradshaw. The material relates to one of the most significant events in the history of Australia, the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line and the subsequent management of one of its major sites, the Alice Springs Telegraph Station.

Sir Charles Todd was the instigator of the Overland Telegraph Line (OTL) and received a number of accolades in his lifetime to commemorate that achievement. Bradshaw and his family represent the more prosaic history of life on an overland telegraph station at the turn of the century.The Todd Collection was donated to the Northern Territory Reserves Board in 1966 (with formal recognition of the donation taking place in February 1967) by the great grandson of Sir Charles, Mr FR (Robert) Fisher. The Bradshaw Collection was donated by members of the family in the same era and probably came to the Northern Territory Reserves Board when they acquired the Alice Springs Telegraph Station in the 1960s. Some other items with similar historical connections to Central Australia have also appeared in the collection over the last forty years. The collections merged as a single collection in the minds of the long time custodians, the Parks and Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory (PWSNT), and have been treated as such for more than three decades. The significance of the collection lies in its relationship to the original owners, Todd and Bradshaw. Sir Charles Todd was the driving force behind the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line, a feat that is significant to the nation as well as to the region that would become the Northern Territory. Todd was knighted for his services to the telegraph and the Grant of Dignity of Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG) and the accompanying medal are key parts of the Todd collection. Thomas Bradshaw was the manager of the Alice Springs Telegraph Station 1899-1908. He brought his family to the site and served not only as the Postmaster, but also as magistrate, doctor under instructions from Adelaide and shopkeeper for travellers. His role in the tiny community of Alice Springs and the adjacent township of Stuart was pivotal. The Bradshaw material is linked to a well known book written about Alice Springs entitled "Alice on the Line" written by Thomas Bradshaw's daughter, Doris, and as such the collection lends strength to the story of life within the telegraph station. Bradshaw was responsible for many iconic photographs of the region during his time in Central Australia and his camera is included in this collection.


Alice Springs Telegraph Station; Overland Telegraph Line

Alice Springs Telegraph Station; Charles Todd; Doris Bradshaw; Northern Territory Reserves Board; Parks and Wildlife Service of the Northern Territory.; Thomas Bradshaw


Telegraph equipment

Coverage Spatial

Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

Coverage Temporal



Related Collections


2012-05-30 23:44

2011-07-05 12:53