Adelaide Observatory, Sir Charles Todd & George F. DodwellPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The plaque commemorates the site of the Adelaide Observatory which operated from 1860 to 1952, and the services of Government astronomers Sir Charles Todd and George F. Dodwell.

An important addition to West Terrace was the Adelaide Observatory built for the multi-faceted Sir Charles Todd (1826–1910). The pioneer of a network of telegraph lines to connect the colony to the world, Todd was South Australia’s superintendent of telegraphs, government astronomer, postmaster-general and meteorologist.

The Adelaide Observatory complex, including the Todd family residence and weather recording equipment, was located in the West Parklands between the ends of Currie Street and Waymouth Street. The earliest veranda covered section of the main building was completed in May 1860. A tower, with tripartite blind windows and transit room was begun in 1873. The whole complex, including a domed equatorial room, was completed by 1876.

The Adelaide Observatory boasted refracting and transit telescopes, a time service and a seismograph. The equipment enabled Todd to undertake geodetic surveys and observations of comets, planetary satellites and other astronomical phenomena. Experimental wireless telegraphy equipment transmitted between Adelaide and Henley Beach in 1899. The Observatory became the hub for meteorological observation stations that reported daily using the telegraph system. Regular forecasts and maps were published from the data collected.

The Observatory was joined by the Commonwealth Weather Bureau building in 1941. The complex was demolished over some years to 1952 to make way for the Adelaide Boys High School. 



Address:West Terrace & Glover Avenue, Adelaide High School, Adelaide, 5000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.925638
Long: 138.58691
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Technology
Approx. Event Start Date:1860
Approx. Event End Date:1952


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:September-1959
Front Inscription

This Plaque Commemorates The Site Of The 
And The Valued Services Of The Former 
Government Astronomers
SIR CHARLES TODD     1855 - 1906
GEORGE F. DODWELL 1899 - 1952
On This Site Was The Standard Geodetic
Survey Reference Point For South Australia
        Latitude  (illegible)
       Longitude (illegible)
Sponsored By The Astronomical Society Of South
Australia And Erected By The Education Department
       September 1959


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au