Revisiting Australian time zone abbreviations

Anand Kumria akumria at
Wed Feb 16 13:34:41 UTC 2011

Paul Eggert <eggert <at> CS.UCLA.EDU> writes:

> > The government website of Australia states the time
> > zone names for Australia are Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), ...
> I'm afraid it's not that simple. 

Actually, it could be. 

> Different websites operated by
> the government of Australia use different names and abbreviations.
> The Bureau of Meteorology often uses EST/CST/WST and EDT/CDT; see,
> for example, <>.
> And the Australian Transport Safety Bureau often uses EST/CST/WST and
> ESuT/CSuT; see, for example,
> <>.

I had never heard of the atsb prior to your email.

At the time of writing the atsb link does not exist.

> The tz database's philosophy has generally tried to record what people
> typically do with their clocks and their abbreviations.  If one government
> agency says that it's AEST/AEDT, that's a good piece of evidence; but if
> other agencies disagree, that's evidence that there's not a solid consensus
> within the government what the abbreviations are or should be.

I suspect if you approached most American government agencies and asked what is 
the official paper size, they would respond with 'letter'. Despite the fact that 
it is actually A4 -- the US being a metric country.

My point is that there will always being different parts of the goverment in 
many countries unaware of what is actually official (technically Australia uses 
24-hour time, most people would be unaware of this).

> The most amusing thing about <
> the web page that Richard Stanway quoted, was this little message at its 
> "All times shown are Sydney, Australia Time"
> In other words, the Australian government doesn't follow its own advice on
> time zone names and abbreviations, even on the government page that talks
> about time zone names!  They just say the equivalent of "TZ=Australia/Sydney"!

You may not have hovered over the link,
australia/our-country/time. Yes, that may be what the text says, if you hover 
over it, it says: "Australian Eastern Standard Time Sydney (AEST)".

Which I think should be plenty of evidence that it is time, pun intended, to 
switch to AEST/ACST/AWST and AEDT/ACDT as appropriate.


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