Virtual Museum Canada

Sir SandFord Fleming - The Knight Of Time

A wide area of action

Connecting the colonies

Dessin de la ligne rouge de l’Empire britannique
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Sandford Fleming was absolutely convinced that Great Britain must be connected to all of its colonies throughout the world by a system of land telegraph lines and underwater cables belonging to the British Empire.

Map of the world communication system
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In 1879, he wrote to the superintendant of the Canadian telegraph and signal service to explain his project: he wanted to lay an underwater cable that would cross the Pacific and reach Australia and New Zealand.

Very little enthusiasm could be detected for this idea among private investors, the Canadian government or the government of Great Britain. No matter! Fleming kept on promoting his project, sending multiple letters and briefs to both Ottawa and London. An imperial committee was finally established to study the question. In 1899, Australia, New Zealand and Canada approved the project.

First transmission by the Pacific cable
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In 1902, Sandford Fleming had the satisfaction of seeing his idea carried out.