Described as the internet of the 19th-century, it's 150 years ago this month since the telegraph line linked Australia to the outside world.
A Morse Code message bearing the words "Advance Australia" heralded the completion of the monumental task on November 20, 1871.
The massive submarine cable that would eventually connect the colony with Britain was dragged ashore at Darwin by hundreds of workers 12 days earlier.
"The scene was a most animated one, the men singing at their work, the officers waving flags and the inhabitants of the settlement looking on," according to an account of the day published on The Atlantic Cable website.
"The end was landed, carried up a shallow trench on the beach to an iron hut just above high-water mark and the end joined on to the electrical apparatus, all ready.
"A photograph of the scene was taken, success to the cable and Captain (Robert) Halpin's health were drunk, and then everybody embarked."
The captain then sailed for the Dutch colony of Java, now Indonesia, where the link to the global network was secured.
During his career Capt Halpin laid more than 40,000km of undersea cable, enough to circle the globe.
He also sent the first telegram to Australia from overseas:
"I have the honour to announce to you in the name of the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company that we yesterday completed a perfect submarine cable, connecting your Colonies with Java, the mother country, and the Western world," he wrote in Morse Code.
"May it long speak words of peace and reiterate Advance Australia."
Darwin historian Derek Pugh says the arrival of the international cable was the first step of a huge technological leap that was about to change Australia as much as the invention of the Internet.
"It had profound social and economic impacts on our society," the author of Twenty to the Mile: The Overland Telegraph Line told AAP.
"News arrived within a day not months out of date.
"Our leaders could follow politics back in Britain, punters could read the latest sports results from the mother country and Australians could follow current affairs".
But first, the Overland Telegraph Line connecting Palmerston, now Darwin, to Adelaide had to be built so the existing Australian network could be linked directly to Europe.
In such a large, dry continent with so little communication infrastructure this was to be one of Australia's greatest engineering feats.
South Australia had already built a 300km line from Adelaide north to Port Augusta, according to The National Museum of Australia.
It then entered into negotiations with the British Australian Telegraph Company to construct the remaining 2839km to Darwin.
SA agreed to pay, hoping it would stimulate the colony's business environment.
The contract stated it would be completed by January 1872 at a cost of PS128,000 but the bill would end up being almost double.
An exploration party set out to survey an overland route with waterholes and areas with timber supplies for the telegraph poles.
It followed Scottish explorer John McDouall Stuart's trail which traced tracks used by Aboriginal people for millennia.
The southern and central sections of the line were built on time but the NT's wet season hampered construction in the north.
The three sections were finally connected at Frews Ponds, 640 km south of Darwin, on August 22, 1872, seven months late.
More than 36,000 poles were used and 11 repeater stations built for boosting the strength of the electrical signal. The most famous of these is Alice Springs Telegraph Station, which has been converted into a museum.
"The stations became the centre of white settlement across the continent and towns were built around some of them," Pugh says.
"They also allowed the pastoral industry to thrive and travellers used the line as a route through the centre of Australia."
This had a massive impact on Aboriginal communities as white settlers displaced them and plundered natural resources.
The 150th anniversary of Halpin's telegram arriving in Australia will be celebrated in Darwin on November 20.
Australian Associated Press