Ration Coupons


Private motorists issued with enough petrol to drive about 20 miles per week in order to cope with the huge demands placed on agricultural producers and manufacturing industries resources to feed civilians and troops and to support the war effort, rationing was introduced in Australia. The Commonwealth Rationing Commission was set up in June 1942, introducing personal identity cards and ration books for clothing and food.

The new rationing regulations included food items such as meat, tea, butter and sugar as well as clothing and footwear. Prices were pegged and daylight saving and shorter holiday periods introduced to boost production hours. Power blackouts and ‘brownouts', standard wartime air raid precautions in cities and coastal areas, also saved precious resources.



Item Rationing Introduced Ration Coupons Required Rationing Ended
Petrol October 1940 Private motorists issued with enough petrol to drive about 20 miles per week   July 1948
Clothing 15 June 1942

112 coupons per year

Men’s overcoat – 40 coupons
Women’s overcoat – 27 coupons
Men’s three piece, double breasted suit – 42 coupons
Women’s two piece suit – 29 coupons
Women’s frocks – 13 couponsAll sewing items also required coupons

Tea 6 July 1942 1/2lb (230 grams) every 5 weeks (45 grams per week) for people over 9 years (changed to every 4 weeks from November 1942) 4 coupons  
Sugar 31 August 1942 2lb (0.9kg) per fortnight (450 grams per week) 1 coupon 3 July 1947
Butter 27 June 1943 1/2lb (230 grams) per person per week (reduced to 3/8lb (170 grams) per week on 5 June, 1944) 1 coupon  
Meat 17 January 1944 People over 9 years of age were allowed 1kg per week and children under 9 were allowed 1/2kg per week. Further reductions 1 coupon 24 June 1948

Butter rationing was particularly difficult as it was used for both baking and frying and there was no margarine available. Weigh out 170 grams of butter, your weekly ration. Divide it into seven equal parts (one for each day of the week). Is there sufficient to butter your toast and sandwiches for the week? Remember that it is also needed for baking biscuits, cakes or puddings, all of which were homemade, and for frying foods such as sausages.