Australia is a big country and working out the time in any given state at any given time of the year can be a little confusing until you get used to it (even then, the locals often forget). This article contains an explanation of how the clocks work Down Under.
Australian Time Zones
Australia has three basic time zones, divided by State. Two hours difference exists between the east coast, which operates on Australian Eastern Standard Time (Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart) and the west coast (Perth) which operates on Australian Western Standard Time. The Northern Territory and South Australia operate on Australian Central Standard Time, which is a half hour behind Australian Eastern Standard Time.
So, for example, if it is 4pm in Sydney, it is also 4pm in Melbourne, but it is 3.30pm in Adelaide and 2pm in Perth.
This all changes in summer, however, when some states change to Daylight Saving Time.
Daylight Saving Time
During summer, some states “move the clock forward” an hour, to take advantage of the sunshine. Whether this happens or not is decided by each State Government, so in summer Australian time zones are a bit of a mess.
New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, Tasmania and South Australia observe Daylight Saving each year. Queensland does not. This means there are two time zones on the east coast between October and March each summer. So, under daylight saving, when it’s 4pm in Sydney and Melbourne, it’s 3pm in Queensland but 3.30pm in South Australia.
Western Australia and the Northern Territory don’t observe daylight saving either, so if it’s 4pm in Sydney and Melbourne, it’s 1pm in Perth and 2.30pm in Darwin. And just to make the whole thing a little more confusing, Tasmania doesn’t always start or finish its daylight saving period on the same dates as the other states.
The whole time zone situation certainly keeps people doing business interstate on their toes. Take a bit of friendly advice and, whatever you do, don’t ask a West Australian or a Queenslander their opinion on daylight saving. You’ll never hear the end of it – opinion is very divided.
If you’re calling somewhere in Australia, perhaps double check a website with a live clock.
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