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Norfolk Island’s Time

Norfolk Island is 11 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (or UTC+11:30).

View of one of Norfolk Island's bays on a clear day.
Norfolk Island is 1,5 hours ahead of Sydney.
Norfolk Island is 11 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+11:30).
©iStockphoto.com/TrevorT

Norfolk Island is a self-governing territory of Australia and is situated in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1610 kilometers (about 1000 miles) north-east of Sydney. timeanddate.com explores the background of Norfolk Island’s time zone.

Which Time Zone?

Norfolk Island is on Norfolk (Island) Time, which is UTC+11:30. Norfolk Island Time is 1.5 hours ahead of Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), which is the time that cities such as Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne use when they are not on daylight saving time (DST).

Norfolk Island is 30 minutes ahead of Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT), which is the time that cities such as Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne use during DST. Norfolk Island does not observe DST.

Who decides the time?

It is noted that the Norfolk Island government has executive responsibilities for the island’s time, with particularly reference to the Standard Time and Daylight Saving Act 1974, which lies with the Minister for Community Services and Tourism. The Act mentions that standard time on the island refers to the mean time of the prescribed meridian, which refers to the meridian of longitude 172 degrees 30’ 00” east of Greenwich, England. The prime meridian at Greenwich, in the United Kingdom, has served as the reference line for Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) since the late 19th century.

History of Norfolk Island’s Time

Australia has time zones that are associated with the external territories under its control. Norfolk Island, for example, is on UTC+11:30 and does not observe DST. Prior to the 20th century, Norfolk Island observed local mean time (LMT), which was UTC+11:11:52. LMT refers to the natural mean solar time for the location. In 1901 Norfolk Island changed its time to UTC+11:12 (the mean solar time of the 168 degrees-east meridian immediately east of the island) until 1951, when it converted to UTC+11:30.

DST applied to Australia’s states and territories during World War I and World War II but Norfolk Island’s daylight saving practices during this period were not fully documented. DST was trialed in many parts of Australia during the 20th century. According to government sources, DST operated nationally in Australia during World War I from January 1, 1917, to March 25, 1917. DST in Australia operated during World War II, as follows:

  • From January 1, 1942, to March 29, 1942.
  • From September 27, 1942, to March 28, 1943.
  • From October 3, 1943, to March 26, 1944 (except Western Australia).

Government records note that no changes were made to Norfolk Island’s observational program in terms of GMT/UTC until 1975. According to this note, it was not until November 7, 1975, when Norfolk Island was to follow DST. Following this date it appears Norfolk Island observed DST during the island’s summer period that year. However, the original Standard Time and Daylight Saving Act 1974 stated that the island’s daylight saving period was the period commencing at 2am (02:00) local time on Sunday, October 27, 1974, and ending at 2am (02:00) in the morning by the mean time of the prescribed meridian on Sunday, March 2, 1975. Norfolk Island has not observed DST since 1975.

Note: timeanddate.com would like to thank the Norfolk Island Museum and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology’s Norfolk Island station for providing assistance in searching for background information about the island’s time.

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