Constructing Australia: A Wire Through The Heart - The Vast Centre
The story of the struggle to cross a vast continent and build the telegraph line that would bring Australia to the world and the world to Australia.
This is an excerpt from Constructing Australia: A Wire Through the Heart.
A Film Australia Making History Production in association with Real Pictures. Developed with the assistance of the New South Wales Film and Television Office. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
© 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Australia in the mid 1800s was a land isolated by distance and divided between two very different cultures. John McDouall Stuart, a migrant from Scotland, was determined to cross the centre of Australia and reach the north coast. His success would pave the way for a communications revolution.
Charles Todd had dreamed of constructing a telegraph line through the heart of the continent and in Stuart he found the man who could prove the inhospitable centre could be crossed. The telegraph’s construction heralded the start of a new communications era every bit as revolutionary as the internet. News from overseas arrived in hours rather than months, securing Adelaide's position as the centre for early colonial communications.
It made Todd a hero, but Stuart, the man who made it possible, was destroyed by the hardships he had endured and died in obscurity.