Daylight cannot be saved

SUN CATCHER Don’t try it at home (Photo:
SUN CATCHER Don’t try it at home (Photo:

A Writer takes on daylight saving.

FADING our curtains and keeping the cows awake, who does the sun think it is? Naughty sun, back in your box.

Yes, it’s Daylight Saving Time (DST) again, when even well-educated people are prone to believe the sun allows a whole hour of its light to be shifted to the other end of the day in some states, and not others.

Here in Queensland, I can see why many don’t want DST. In this climate, it’s cooler to fit a whole day’s gardening in before heading off to work, if that’s your thing.

Living north of the border, I am reminded of growing up in rural northern NSW, where there has always been a competitive spirit around rising early.

“Good afternoon!” was the pleasantly delivered breakfast barb to anyone who stumbled out of bed at the incredibly late hour of 6.30am, instead of being up before the first rays.

Incurable early riser and builder, Britain’s William Willett, gave DST legs in around 1907, and it had everything to do with window coverings.

“DST suits organised economies, it has nothing to do with the time your body clock tells you to rise.”

As the story goes, whilst on his early morning horse rides, Willett noticed many of his neighbours still had their blinds drawn, a situation he took it on himself to change by writing his self-published book, The Waste of Daylight. The impending First World War saw Willett’s vision embraced by the government as a means of saving coal.

Others will tell you the Romans invented DST, and here is the key to its purpose: DST suits organised economies, it has nothing to do with the time your body clock tells you to rise from your bed.

I suspect there’s more than a little state of origin competition behind the Queensland/NSW divide on the issue. NSW likes the feeling of being ‘ahead’ for six months. Queenslanders consequently dig our heels in, and will not be told what to do about our very own daylight.

Which is forgetting the facts: if you want to rise with the sun, you can do it all year, you’ll just have to keep your early morning activities short in the summer, before the clock tells you to scoot off to work.

And if you like to sleep in, you’re going to have to get some very heavy curtains.

Just don’t blame the sun.

Blame Willett and his builder’s view of the working day, and remember, builders down tools at 3pm, it’s a conspiracy…

© Michael Burge, all rights reserved.

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