One of the greatest nation-building feats ever undertaken in this country is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary.
It's a pity there's not much left to see of it.
A thin wire stretching from Port Augusta in South Australia to Darwin in the 1870s ended Australia's isolation from the world.
That telegraph line stretched almost 3000 kilometres carried by more than 36,000 poles in some of the most inhospitable country then known on earth.
Perhaps you don't know much about what has been called Australia's most significant infrastructure project of the 19th Century.
But you might have heard something of the legends of explorers Burke and Wills, or even John McDouall Stuart.
Those expeditions into the inhospitable outback were entirely prompted by this single idea - communicating with a surprisingly prosperous Australia.
At the time, even the speediest clipper ships riding the Roaring Forties still took two months to reach Australia from England, a round trip of four months at best for mail.
Australia had become much more than a convict colony, the discovery of gold changed everything.
The Burke and Wills expedition to travel south to north came famously unstuck in 1861. It was sent by the Victorian government wanting to secure the telegraph contract.
Fortunately the dogged and quite amazing John McDouall Stuart made his successful expedition from Adelaide to the northern coast soon after that tragedy.
If the Stuart expedition had failed, plans for a telegraph line have would have been delayed by years.
The builders of the telegraph basically followed Stuart's hopscotch path from waterhole to waterhole across the parched interior of this country.
Something, of course, our original inhabitants had been doing successfully for thousands of years.
The well travelled Stuart Highway still follows much of that route today.
That line linked with an undersea cable being laid between Indonesia and the Top End - Australia was suddenly in daily contact with the world.
Life in Australia changed forever when Sir Charles Todd's Overland Telegraph Line opened in 1872.
South Australia, Victoria and Queensland competed for the contract to build the line which was ultimately handed to Sir Charles, who was SA's Superintendent of Telegraphs.
He had runs on the board, having built South Australia's first telegraph line to Melbourne but as he would learn, crossing the huge expanse of the outback was a different matter.
He divided the enormous task into three stages - Port Augusta to Oodnadatta, then on to the Roper River in the NT and from there to Darwin.
The northern and southern sections were to be built by private contractors while the SA government was responsible for the remote 1000-kilometre central section.
As well as those 36,000 poles placed about 80 metres apart the line also needed repeater stations every few hundred kilometres to boost the signal.
The massive undertaking cost £239,588 and took about two years.
Lots of things were named after Todd in honour of the feat - Alice Springs for instance was named after his wife.
Western Australia was added to the line a few years later.
Some remains of the repeater stations remain as outback oddities, some have been restored like Barrow Creek or Tennant Creek, but there is little left other than in museums.
The harshness of the country saw to that.
Some mighty people founded this country, we have so much to be grateful for. Thanks for the reminder Royal Mint.
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