Australian Electrical Wire Colours

Australian Electrical Wire Colours

Understanding the colours of electrical wires is important for how they work and their safety. The colours of electrical lines are very important for showing what they do and where they are in a circuit. If you don’t know what these colours mean or read them correctly, they can cause dangerous situations like electric shocks, fires, and even death.

In Australia, where electrical standards have changed a lot, knowing the colours of wires is especially important. When global standards were implemented in 2018, homeowners had to learn the new colour codes to ensure their electrical systems were safe and working properly.

Knowing this enables homeowners to make smart choices about their electrical systems’ installations, repairs, and upkeep, protecting their families and properties from possible dangers.

The Basics of Electrical Wiring in Australia

Australia has strict rules about electricity wiring, ensuring systems are safe and work properly. Regulations like AS/NZS 3000:2018 spell out these standards and include rules for electrical systems, such as the colour of the wires.

Why Wire Colour Coding is Important

It is essential to use wire colour coding to guarantee the functionality and safety of electrical systems. Any given wire’s colour may indicate its role in a circuit, such as carrying live current, serving as a neutral return route, or providing grounding, among other things. 

Electricians and homeowners must be familiar with these hues to avoid mishaps, electrical failures, and mistakes during installation or maintenance. 

In Australia, knowing the colours of your old wiring is important for three reasons:

  • Safety First: Understanding old wire colours helps avoid accidents when dealing with live wires, especially for those without proper training.
  • Future-Proofing: Knowing previous wire colours ensures your electrical system is ready for upgrades or renovations. This prevents confusion and ensures everything works as intended.
  • Clear Communication: Familiarity with old wire colours helps communicate effectively with electrical professionals. Everyone involved understands your home’s wiring layout, making the job safer and more accurate.

Essentially, wire colour coding promotes uniformity, clarity, and safety in electrical systems by acting as a universal language.

Overview of Electrical Wiring Standards

A typical home has single-phase wiring because a steady amount of electricity is needed for a home. 

Buildings and businesses that have big appliances and use heavy machinery, on the other hand, require more electricity. To handle increased demand, they need multiphase or three-phase wiring.

Currently, the colours for single-phase wiring in Australia must adhere to these standards:

  • Active wires (previously red, now brown).
  • Neutral wires (previously black, now light blue).
  • Earth wires (previously green, now green/yellow striped)

On the other hand, three-phase electricity in Australia is:

  • Phase 1 – Brown
  • Phase 2 – Black
  • Phase 3 – Grey
  • Neutral – Blue
  • Earth – Green & Yellow
Australian Electrical Wire Colours

Decoding Australian Electrical Wire Colours

Professionals and homeowners alike need to correctly identify the colours of electrical wires to work safely and legally with Australian electrical systems and circuits.

Historical Changes in Colour Coding

The change in Australia’s electrical wire colour codes was more consistent across different regions and more aligned with world standards. In single-phase systems, lines used to be colour-coded differently: red wires were active, black wires were neutral, and green wires were earth. In that order, the colours for phases 1, 2, and 3 in three-phase systems were red, white, and blue. Black was for neutral, and green was for earth.

The colour coding had to be changed to eliminate differences and possible confusion. This is especially important in a globalised world where standardisation makes electrical installations safer and more efficient. Australia uses new colour codes to ensure its electricity infrastructure is safe and works with other countries’ systems.

Current Colour Codes

Active Wires (previously red, now brown)

Active wires are important for electrical systems because they carry high-voltage current. Currently, brown is used to indicate active wires in the colour code. When you put or fix something with a brown wire, be careful because it means the electricity is live.

Neutral Wires (previously black, now light blue): 

Transferring power away from appliances is the job of the blue neutral wire. Positioned at the end of an electrical circuit, this wire mitigates the risk of overload. The neutral conductor is the last stop for the electricity before it leaves the active and earth wires. Using the neutral wire reduces the likelihood of electrical shock. Professional electricians must be cautious when working with the wire due to its high heat.

Earth Wires (previously green, now green/yellow striped): 

To avoid electric shocks, earth lines act as grounding connections, sending any errant currents safely into the earth. In the present colour code, earth wires are distinguished by a unique striped pattern of green and yellow. Protecting electrical systems and people from potential dangers requires these wires.

overloaded powerboard

Safety First – The Do’s and Don’ts

Prioritising safety is of utmost importance when working with electrical wiring. Read on and discover some important rules you should follow.

What Homeowners Should and Shouldn’t Do

Do Seek Professional Assistance

Working with electricity can be difficult and risky. For installations, repairs, and upkeep, getting help from licensed electricians is important to ensure that safety rules and standards are followed.

Don’t Attempt DIY Electrical Work

Doing your electrical work can be very dangerous. You could get an electric shock, start a fire, or damage property. Electrical work should only be done by trained pros with the right tools and knowledge to do it safely.

Do Conduct Regular Inspections 

Look over your electrical system often for signs of damage, wear, or problems. Watch out for frayed wires, outlets that get too hot, or lights that flash, and fix any problems immediately.

Don’t Overload Circuits

Do not overload electricity circuits by plugging in too many things at once. Spread out your electrical loads widely, and if you need to, use surge protectors to keep your electronics from overheating and starting fires.

Do Turn Off the Power Before You Work

Before working on electrical outlets or wires, you should always turn off the power at the circuit breaker. Before touching any wires, ensure the power is off fully with a voltage tester.

Don’t Use Damaged Equipment 

Do not use electrical tools or equipment that is broken. Damaged cords, outlets, or wires that stick out are major safety risks that must be fixed or changed immediately.

First-Aid Tips in Case of an Electrical Accident

If an electrical accident occurs, promptly obtain medical assistance by contacting emergency services or proceeding to the nearest hospital. Do not touch the victim directly to avoid more harm. Instead, keep them away from the electrical source with something that does not carry electricity, like a wooden stick or a rubber glove. If the person isn’t breathing or responding, do CPR if you know how to do it. Do rescue breathing and chest compressions until help comes.

Why Professional Help Is Important

Electric work should only be done by trained pros. This is especially true when there are a lot of colour configurations, which can put you in danger by touching live lines without meaning to.

Several colour codes for Australian electrical wiring could work with the wiring in your home. The age of a house might not even tell you much if it has been rewired or had electrical work done on it without a licence.

That’s why you should only hire a professional electrician to do big jobs like rewiring your home. They know all the rules and can safely fix problems with a switchboard, power plug, light socket, or electrical circuit. Trust us, the last thing you want is to mix up the wires when replacing a light switch and electrocuting yourself.

When to Call a Professional

For safety and legal reasons, you must know when to call a licenced electrician. When it comes to complicated electrical installations, circuitry problems, or work that involves the main power source, you should get help from a professional. 

When looking for an electrician in Sydney, ensure they are licenced, insured, and have done work similar to the one you need done before. Seek recommendations, check online reviews, and request quotes from multiple professionals to ensure reliability and quality of service. 

We provide electrical services in North Shore, Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs, Hills District and Ryde.


Knowing the colours of electrical wires is crucial for safety, especially in Sydney, Australia. Remember, staying updated on wire colour codes, seeking professional help for installations and repairs, and conducting regular inspections are essential for safety.

Prioritising safety means avoiding DIY electrical work and relying on licensed professionals. By doing so, homeowners can ensure their electrical systems are safe and functional, protecting their families and homes from potential dangers.


Better Call The Captain