Sunday 4 April 2021

Another first for New Zealand

I remember when Daylight Saving was first (spoiler alert: or so I thought) introduced in New Zealand. That was back in 1974, to help with the energy crisis of the time by reducing the demand for lighting and heating. It has been periodically lengthened since then, after surveys indicated the public wanted more of it - or maybe they were just keen to postpone the depressing transition back to standard time in autumn, which happened early this morning, and tonight will inflict darkness upon us at what will feel like an ungodly early hour.

But it turns out, not only has NZ played with DST previous to that, but, the whole concept was invented by a New Zealander! Of course I knew we were first with the jetboat, plastic syringes (sorry, environment), electric fences, powered flight (sorry, Wright Bros), bungy jumping, Zorbs, jogging (thanks for the guilt, Arthur Lydiard), the jetpack, the egg beater, the referee's whistle, Sealegs amphibious boats... the list goes on, honestly. But I didn't know about Daylight Saving.

Back in 1895, Post Office clerk George Vernon Hudson presented a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society, suggesting changing the clock by two hours in order to give people more free time in summer to pursue outside interests - for him, collecting insects. His enthusiasm wasn't catching, however, and the idea was ignored until 1927, when it was suddenly recognised as an excellent plan, and introduced.

In 1941, because of the war, it was extended to last the whole year, and in 1946 became NZ Standard Time. Eventually, the idea of summer time was revived again and it restarted in 1974 and has continued ever since, with modifications. Meantime, the idea had been suggested in 1907 in Britain, liked by Winston Churchill but rejected by those in power, and finally adopted, following Germany, during WWI. It was actually a little town in Canada that officially started it first, in 1908.

Today some countries do, some don't. And within countries - well, I haven't googled that far but I can confidently report that, in Australia, the Northern Territory is the only state not to change its clocks. How do I know? Because my 1975 epic rail trip itinerary that I booked in Sydney had me turning up at the station in Alice Springs to catch the train down to Adelaide, to find the gate locked, the tracks empty, and the train already departed. Idiot clerk. I was almost out of money and had to live on peanut butter sandwiches for three days until the next train.


the queen said...

I attended college one semester in the small area in the middle of Indiana where it is not observed. Very inconvenient.

TravelSkite said...

What, not even at state level? Crazy!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...