Museum of Plugs and Sockets logo, small AS/NZS 3112 standard
Australasian plugs and sockets
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Plugs and sockets that conform with the AS/NZS 3112 standard are used in Australia and New Zealand and several Pacific Islands, which explains the name Australasian type. Comparable plugs are used in China, Argentina and Uruguay.
The origin of the type of plug is described below.
Type I profile Related galleries:
uncommon types
classic types
heavy duty types


Standard domestic 10A type-I socket Type-I 10A plug Australian 250V - 10A dual power outlet Australasian 10A vertical dual socket

1, 2
Standard domestic 10A - 250V socket and plug. Power pins (N and A; A means Active = line) and corresponding slots are obliquely positioned and resemble an inverted 'V'. The position of the pins makes Australasian type plugs irreversible. Even a not earthed, 2-pin plug is polarized.

Standard domestic rewirable plugs always have 3 pins, but the earth pin may be omitted on plugs moulded on appliance cords using IEC type C1 or C7 connector, as used for low current double insulated devices - such as battery chargers or shavers.
(image no. 26 on the page about IEC 60320 appliance couplers shows an example).

The earth pin is longer than the angled power pins and makes contact first. From April 2005 partially insulated power pins are mandatory for all plugs. Standard domestic plugs sold in Australia and New Zealand have a side entry cable. These plugs extend much less outwards beyond a wall socket than a top entry plug. Moreover, they are safer because it is not possible to pull out a plug by pulling the cable, rather than the plug. Note that the cable entry is never positioned straight downwards (180), but in a 135 rotated position. This allows the use of two or more side entry plugs below each other (for example in dual socket no. 4).

Brand names: PDL* (no. 1), and Elto, New Zealand (no. 2). Brand logos and deatail are given below.
3, 4
A horizontally mounted dual socket (no. 3) is the preferred model in Australian and New Zealand homes, but dual sockets with outlets on top of each other are available (no. 4). Brand name: Clipsal.   {PT}

The choice between a horizontal and vertical dual flush socket is quite unique. U.S. flat blade and European Schuko dual sockets are always 'vertical', whereas British BS 546 and 1363 dual sockets are 'horizontal'.


10A plug and socket with lock

10A plug and socket with lock

Standard Australasian 10A cord extension socket

10A Australasian plug with clamp
Rewirable piggy back type Australasian plug
Australasian type piggy back extension lead

AS/NZS 3112 multiplugs

Australasian transparent 10A socket

5, 6
10A plug with threaded shroud (green arrow) and matching threaded socket (double arrow heads). This combination of plug and socket allows a securely locked attachment as illustrated in image nos. 6. Brand name: PDL.
7 Cord extension socket rated at 10A-250V. Brand name: PDL.
8 Standard 10A plug with clamp to facilitate removing the plug from a socket. The image shows both the plug and its three components. Brand name: HPM.
9, 10 Rewirable 10A plug with a single outlet, officially a "socket adapter plug", but commonly known as 'Piggy-back' plug (no. 9). The rewireable form of this plug is now banned from sale in Australia, but it is still available in New Zealand - where it is also known as a 'Tap-on' plug. In Australia this plug/outlet combination is available only when moulded onto an approved extension lead (no. 10).
Brand names: PDL, New Zealand (no. 9) and Arlec Australia Pty Ltd; made in China (no. 10).   (10):{PT}
11 Two examples of 10A 2-way multi-plugs, in Australia referred to as double adaptors.
Brand names: Ring-Grip, Australia (top model) and Resinart Ltd (renamed to D.R. Britton Ltd), New Zealand (bottom model).
Side view of a standard 10A socket with transparent housing. These sockets are intended to be mounted in ceilings for the attachment, by use of a plug connection, of recessed ceiling lights and exhaust fans. Brand name: HPM.


About the origin of Australasian type plugs and sockets

"... The design was adopted, around 1930, as a result of a "Gentlemen's agreement" (there was no Standards Australia then) between Frederic Cook of Ring Grip, Geoffrey Gerard of Clipsal, and Brian Harper Miller of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV).
They based the design very closely on an existing American plug, and although that American design has apparently now faded into obscurity*, I believe that same American design is the reason that Argentina and Chile and probably also China, also use essentially the same design**. New Zealand copied the Australian design as Australian electrical appliances and equipment were exported across the Tasman.
One of the reasons behind the adoption of that particular design by the three Australian gentlemen was that it was cheap to make; the flat pins could be easily stamped out of sheet brass, in contrast to round pins or thicker rectangular ones used in other countries. This was also a consideration when the Chinese authorities officially adopted the design in relatively recent times, despite the considerable inroads the British plug had made due to its use in Hong Kong.
The Chinese made one change, however; the earth pin is at the top. This is considered to offer some protection should a conductive object fall between the plug and the socket. An interesting piece of trivia is that this is referred to in Hong Kong as the 'emu foot' or 'emu track' plug, as the socket when viewed with the earth slot uppermost does resemble the track of an emu.

I thank Dennis Perry and Norm Zerner (presently and formerly of Gerard Industries) and Max Steen, a former colleague of mine in the Approvals Branch at ETSA, for their help with this information."

Text: David Inkster, Meadows, South Australia.
Source: (March 2002).
Additional information can be found on ECN Electrical Forum.

* The Australian power connections were ratified as a formal standard C112 in 1937, redesigned as Australian Standard 3112 in 1981 and harmonized with the New Zealand Standard in 1993. 
The now phased out plug and socket - Hubbell model 7051 - has a slot configuration that is identical to AS/NZS 3112 10A sockets. The image at right shows the two sockets.
I like to thank Stephen Furley who has drawn my attention to the relation between the now obsolete American socket and the Australian C112 standard.

**  Material from Argentina and China is displayed on separate pages (click country name).

Comparison of US and AU socket

The US outlet was patented in 1916
by G.P. Knapp who worked for the
Hubbell Comp. NEMA has never
approved the design. For details
see US classic plugs and sockets.


Austrakian and New Zwaland brand logos
Logos of five, still existing, brands that are represented in the museum collection.

Clipsal: founded in 1920 in Australia, from 2003 part of Schneider Electric Australia Pty.
PDL: Plastic and Die Castings (Christchurch, NZ; 1937), from 2001 part of Schneider Electric.
HPM: Australia, 1930s; from 2007 part of Legrand Group.
Elto: electrical accessories, since 2000 part of CDB Goldair, NZ.
Arlec: Anderson & Roudl Electronic Equipment since 1940s, renamed to Arlec Australia Pty.

See list of Manufacturers for more information on Australian and New Zealand companies.


Type I non-standard socket, small
  Obsolete type I socket
  Type I heavy duty socket, small
Uncommon plugs and sockets
Besides the standard type shown above there are variants for special purposes.
Classic models
Some older Australasian plugs and sockets are shown on a separate page.
Heavy duty types
Plugs and sockets rated for 15A, 20A, 25A, and 32A are displayed separately.


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