Australia Versus the UK: Time Zones Explained

by BobinOz on November 10, 2009

in Australia vs UK

cookoo

Cuckoo!

“What time is it in Australia?” – I’m so glad you asked!

Anybody considering coming here to live in Australia will probably be leaving friends and family behind somewhere. With the huge time differences between the major English speaking nations, staying in touch isn’t easy.

Today I will attempt to simplify the time differences between England and Australia, which is a bit of a laugh because I hardly understand the time zones of Australia when looked at in isolation. Also, when I lived in England, whenever there was a winter/summer time change, I could never work out if I needed to put the clocks forward or back.

So, now that I have ensured your fullest confidence in me, here’s my quick and easy explanation of Australia’s time zones.

Australia has three time zones, although some sources suggest there are four and during the summer, when some states use Daylight Saving Time (DST), there are five different times throughout Australia. But this extends to six or seven if you include a couple of unofficial time zones somewhere around the Western Australia and South Australian borders.

Each of the official time zones has a handy little three letter abbreviation but that’s not important right now, we wouldn’t want this to get confusing, would we?

As I am in Brisbane, let’s use Brisbane as a base. This actually simplifies things because Brisbane doesn’t change its clocks for DST, so it’s time is a “constant” throughout the year.

So when it is 12 noon in Brisbane, the time in the other major cities during Australian winter are as follows:

  • Darwin: 11:30 a.m.
  • Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart: 12 noon (the same)
  • Adelaide: 11:30 a.m.
  • Perth: 10 a.m.

Now, when it is 12 noon in Brisbane, the time in the other major cities during Australian summer are as follows:

  • Darwin: 11:30 a.m.
  • Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Hobart: 1 p.m.
  • Adelaide: 12:30 p.m.
  • Perth: 10 a.m.

So as you can see, during the summer there are five (or 7, see disclaimer) different times in use in Australia.

Now over to the UK.

The UK only has one time zone but, like parts of Australia, they do have summer/winter times. By the way, I discovered a very useful and easy to remember saying that would have saved me all that hassle I had remembering whether the clocks go forward or back.

You spring forward and you fall back. How easy is that?

So now, before your very eyes, I will create the time zone conversion chart to end all time zone conversion charts, so that anyone living in the UK, whether it be during winter or summer, can tell at a glance what time it is here in Australia, anywhere in the country.

Drum roll…………

Bob’s Definitive Guide to the Time Differences Between the UK and Australia for Both Winter and Summer.

Place

During Winter UK

During Summer UK

Darwin

+ 9 1/2 Hours

+ 8 1/2 Hours

Brisbane

+ 10 Hours

+ 9 Hours

Sydney

+ 11 Hours

+ 9 Hours

Canberra

+ 11 Hours

+ 9 Hours

Melbourne

+ 11 Hours

+ 9 Hours

Hobart

+ 11 Hours

+ 9 Hours

Adelaide

+ 10 1/2 Hours

+ 9 1/2 Hours

Perth

+ 8 Hours

+ 7 Hours

There are two ways of telling the time in Australia.

Example 1: Its summer in England and its nine o’clock in the evening. The news comes on and you’re not really interested. “I know, I’ll give Bob a ring”. I answer the phone my end and I shout “What are you doing ringing me at six o’clock in the morning!”

Example 2: Its summer in England and its nine o’clock in the evening. The news comes on and you’re not really interested. “I know, I’ll give Bob a ring”. But before you do, you refer to my chart. By cross referencing “Brisbane” and “During Summer UK” you can see that the time difference is plus nine hours. After a quick calculation requiring both hands you realise it’s 6 a.m. here in Brisbane and go back to watching the news.

And I continued to sleep peacefully.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that there is a short period of time after Australian Summer Time begins, which is usually the first week in October, and the UK Winter Time starts, which is usually last week in October, when the above chart will not work.

Ideally, this three-week period needs a new chart, but it’s much quicker if I just ask you not to call me during October.

Disclaimer: 1)Broken Hill, although part of New South Wales, likes to use the same time as Adelaide, who are in South Australia. 2)Rumour has it that around the railway, east of Kalgoorlie, WA, (Woop Woop), the locals use their own unofficial time. 3)There is also another possible unofficial time zone around Nullarbor in South Australia. These two unofficial time zones are a quarter of an hour different from the nearest official time zones. WOW! Those locals are real fussy. 4) If I have made any mistakes, it’s because telling the time in Australia is really hard. 5) The USA has six time zones, possibly, and DST I believe. So don’t expect Bob’s Definitive Guide to the Time Differences between the USA and Australia For Both Winter and Summer anytime soon. 6) Update: ‘Bob’s Definitive Guide’ has now been renamed; it’s is now ‘Bob’s Rough Guide’ following Rachel’s comment below and my answer to it. If you really need to know the exact time in any of these places, the safest way is to phone your relative or friend and ask them. Or, to avoid that awkward “What are you doing calling me at 4 o’clock in the morning?!!” conversation, Google World Clock instead.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel April 24, 2015 at 9:15 pm

Your Adelaide time difference for the UK summer is wrong.

When the UK is on British Summer Time and Adelaide is on Australian Central Standard Time the time difference is +8.5 hours

When the UK is on GMT and Adelaide is on Daylight Savings – ACDT the time difference +10.5 hours

Then there’s the tricky bits when one switches to / from summer time before the other.

Reply

BobinOz April 27, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Ah, yes Rachel, you need to read my disclaimer, specifically…

4) If I have made any mistakes, it’s because telling the time in Australia is really hard.

But seriously, thank you for pointing this out, I think the ‘tricky bits’ to which you refer may also affect other times in my chart, I probably overlooked it because where I am here in Queensland we don’t have daylight savings time so we don’t have those tricky bits.

Thanks for pointing this out, I am now going to add another more specific disclaimer :-)

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