Australia’s tiny timezone

Here’s something I learnt yesterday: There’s a small town called Eucla, WA, near the SA border. Population: 53.

Get this: It has its own timezone, which is halfway between Perth and Adelaide time.

Time zone map

The timezone abbreviation is ACWST, though it’s usually called Eucla Time.

It’s shared with a handful of other nearby small towns. It’s 08:45 ahead of UTC (or 75 minutes behind AEST).

And yes, they observe summer time.

It appears to be not an official timezone, but is observed locally, and is supported in operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows and MacOS.

And apparently they switch to this timezone on the Indian Pacific as they pass nearby.

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By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

9 replies on “Australia’s tiny timezone”

Yes, I’ve heard about this timezone before, it’s pretty cool. I fail to understand why SA and NT even use a +9.5 hour timezone, when from your map you can see that they clearly fit very nicely into the +9 timezone. Would be much simpler if every state only used hourly time zones rather than half-hour ones. But we can keep Eucla’s timezone just for fun :)

Time zone oddities are coming out of the woods. Why doesn’t Eucla keep SA or WA time! Weird and a further nightmare for our national broadcaster if it panders to such oddities. .

SA is on GMT+9.5 as to closer align with the east coast. Adelaide is closer to Melbourne than it is to the WA border. When time zones started becoming a thing, Adelaide decided to be a little closer to the eastern states for the purposes of trade.

Eucla has its own time zone for this same reason. Its too far away from both Adelaide and Perth, so they decided to split the difference between GMT+8 and +9.5. It also means there is a less dramatic jump in time when crossing the border, so trade on the border is more temporally aligned than otherwise.

Broken Hill is similar. There used to be more regular trains to Adelaide over Sydney. It was easier for the railway to run using +9.5 to Adelaide instead of dealing with time zones and adding, or subtracting, the extra half hour. Regular trains to Sydney only came much later.

Yes, I have somehow known about that for a while. With my rusty brain, I may have said, it was more on the SA side, but, I am happy to stand corrected. I am rusty on this matter for sure.

There is nothing on the Australian continent going north, and this is a small cluster of towns.

I would say, this has more to do with, the fact that the difference between Perth and Adelaide is so great, they felt the need to have something that is more geo-relevent to them.

I did not know about Lord Howe Island having the 30 minute daylight savings, and, I did not know the Indian Pacific would bother with that time zone adjustment too.

Not sure where you got your information from regarding daylight saving time but they actually don’t change their clocks. For reference you can check Also the reason for the difference in time goes way back to the telegraph system. The technology wasn’t able to transmit the full distance from Perth to Adelaide so they built a telegraph station in Eucla. They would receive the message, pass it to the operator on the opposite side and they would then transmit the message again. They needed a time so they split the difference and created Eucla time.

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