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In   1855   Charles   Todd   arrived   in   the   young   colony   of   South Australia.      He   was   28   and   his   mind   was   full   of   the   new sciences   and   technologies   that   were   changing   life   in   19th century   Europe.      He   had   trained   with   the   best   at   Greenwich in   England   and   in   Australia   he   was   presented   with   a   ‘blank canvas’ to implement his many ideas. Until   recently,   he   was   best,   and   to   many,   only   known   for   his work    with    the    Overland    Telegraph.        Though    this    was    a tremendous   feat   of   management,   its   two   years   are   but   a short   part   of   this   man’s   50   year   contribution   to   our   national heritage.      However,   lesser   known   is   the   fact   he   worked   with similar   bright   people   in   his   own   colony   and   the   others   on the    continent    to    establish    the    foundations    of    astronomy. meteorology,       electrical       engineering,       time       keeping, surveying, telegraphy and an efficient postal system. He   was   also   influential   in   the   establishment   of   many   social and   intellectual   institutions   of   the   Colony   including   two   of South Australia’s   universities,   its   Museum,   the   State   Library, the   Art   Gallery   and   two   churches.      His   work   extended   to   a national     level     and     it     influenced     some     key     issues     at Federation.   In   many   ways,   Todd   could   stand   with   us   as   one   of   our contemporaries   -   he   was   deeply   involved   in   building   and running    the    infrastructure    of    a    science    and    technology obsessed   society   like   ours.      He   would   also   be   a   familiar figure    to    the    legion    of    MBA’s    dotted    throughout    our enterprises.      Todd’s   story   is   replete   with   examples   of   his capacity   to   think   strategically,   while   dealing   with   the   tactical issues    of    running    bureaucracies,    networking,    managing resources   and   providing   the   leadership   required   to   achieve visionary   outcomes   for   Australia.   Any   senior   civil   servant who    survived    the    administrations    of    22    Premiers    and completed    50    years    of    public    service    with    his    envious reputation   fully   intact   could   run   a   Masters   course   or   two   in   a modern business school. What   makes   Todd   really   endearing   to   his   researchers   and biographers   is   his   affability.   Though   it’s   tempting   to   dismiss reports    of    his    employees’    admiration    for    their    leader, attributing   this   to   the   rose   coloured   hue   of   fond   memories,   it is   impossible   to   ignore   the   many   flattering   reports   found   in news    articles    of    his    day.        There    is    no    doubt    that    the Adelaide     Newspaper     of     record,     the     South     Australian Register,   was   enthralled   with   the   man   in   his   latter   years with   many   favourable   reports   of   his   activities.   By   the   time   of his   death   in   late   January   1910,   he   was   a   national   treasure. But   even   at   that   final   point,   the   measure   of   the   man   was   his request   that   his   funeral   cortege   was   not   to   proceed   down King   William   Street   as   was   the   tradition,   since   this   would disturb   the   rhythm   of   the   city.      Instead,   mourners   proceeded directly   to   North   Road   Cemetery   with   minimal   disturbance to the daily endeavours of his fellow citizens.
Consisting    of    members    from    six    science    and    technology socities    in    South   Australia,    the    group    formed    in    2012    to mount   the   Sir   Charles   Todd   Symposium.      The   Symposium marked   a   gathering   of   Todd   family   descendants   in   Adeliade. Covering    astronomy,    meteorology,    electrical    engineering, surveying,     telecommunications     and     the     postal     system, Symposium   speakers   recognised   the   importance   of   Todd   in establishing   each   of   their   disciplines.      However,   no   one   had a   comprehensive   view   of   this   pioneer   and   the   Symposium was   the   first   known   attempt   to   bring   the   main   treads   of   the story together. The   Symposium   attracted   a   sellout   audience   of   150   “Todd-o- philes”   and   was   a   great   success   for   speakers   and   audience alike.   Realising   that   there   was   an   even   more   comprehensive story   to   reveal,   the   speakers   continued   their   collaboration.     The   first   vehicle   for   this   work   was   the   creation   of   a   mobile app    aimed    at    the    general    public.    An    attendee    of    the Symposium    (Roger    Edmonds)    donated    his    expertise    in online   education   systems   to   support   the   work.      The   app   was launched    in    May    2014    at    the    Royal    Institute    Australia (RiAus),   fittingly   on   the   125   anniversary   of   Todd’s   accession to the original Royal Institute in England. The    third    major    endeavour    of    the    Research    Group    now occupies    it    with    the    ongoing    construction    of    an    online research   centre,   containing   copious   reference   material   for those   interested   in   the   professional   and   civic   life   of   Charles Todd.    In    the    fullness    of    time    this    centre    is    expected    to contain    upwards    of    3,000    documents.    All    documents    go through    a    review    process    to    ensure    their    veracity    before inclusion    in    the    database.        A    find-and-retrieve    tool    is available   to   identify   documents   relevant   to   specified   search criteria. In   parallel   with   the   online   research   presence,   this   website has   been   created   to   act   as   an   entry   point   to   all   the   work   of the Committee members relating to Sir Charles Todd. DISCLAIMER The   full   story   of   Charles   Todd   has   is   a   story   waiting   to   be told.      The   Research   Group   is   aware   that   they   will   not   see   its full   expanse,   thus,   this   website   and   its   links   do   not   detail   the final and authoritative account.  
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Charles Todd Research Group
Who was Charles Todd?