What Do You Do With a Coat Stand in Australia?

This year, Brisbane apparently had its coldest winter for 11 years. As I write this, winter is well and truly behind us. Today was not exactly scorchio, but it was a beautiful clear and sunny day with temperatures hitting around 28°C. That’s about 82°F or so.

ANZ August 2011But when I wrote this article for the August issue of Australia and New Zealand magazine, here we would have been rapidly approaching that cold winter and the temperatures would have already been starting to drop.

Just they will be doing for my readers in England sometime around now.

So this article will make more sense for my UK based readers than it will for those in Australia. But then it would have made no sense to any UK readers who read it in the magazine in August. On the other hand, Australian readers would have appreciated it in August, but the magazine is not on sale here.

So I’d like to say a quick hi to any part of the world where this article would have made sense on both occasions, if such a place exists.

Here’s the article……

‘The Coat Stand Dilemma’.

It doesn’t seem that long ago I was complaining about being too hot. Probably because it wasn’t that long ago. I’m guessing, but I think in the space of three or four months we’ve exchanged hot and clammy sleepless nights with “We must have another blanket in the house somewhere!” And we’re lucky, we live in Brisbane. I’ll explain that in a minute, but first let’s go back to the beginning. No, not the very beginning!

When we moved to Australia we brought our coat stand with us. Big mistake! It now resides in the corner as some sort of Monument of how life used to be. The coats are hanging on it just fine, but that’s about all they do. They never get to go out, which, after all, is what coat is made for.

our coat standObviously, we’re not stupid. So we didn’t bring any of our really heavy coats. Well, just one each. But mainly we brought light coats and jackets. But we’re now approaching our fourth winter here and I’ve noticed a bit of a change.

Maybe our blood has thinned to acclimatise to our new surroundings and with that, perhaps our definition of cold is getting warmer. I’ve noticed both my wife and daughter occasionally grabbing a light jacket to go out, and I think it’s only a matter of time before I join them.

This year, when we were still only in autumn, Australia appeared to go through a “cold” snap. Here, in Brisbane during the evenings as darkness fell, so would the temperature, often as low as 14 or 15°C by 8 o’clock in the evening. Unusually, I found myself wearing socks, a jumper and occasionally, long fleeced trousers.

This kind of clothing had before now been reserved for the middle of winter. And winter was an event that previously seemed to come and go on a Wednesday afternoon in July. But despite these cold nights, daytime temperatures would still be around 22 to 24°C, which I call our Californian weather.

Whilst Brisbane enjoyed this daytime warmth, elsewhere folk would have been searching for their coat stands. But who exactly? Let me tell you.

These are all maximum daytime temperatures taken from each city on that same autumn day this year. No coats for Darwin (27°), Perth (23°), Brisbane  (22°), but maybe a light jacket for those in Adelaide where it was 17°.

Around the rest of Australia, coats would have been in action. Sydney (16°), Melbourne (14°) and both Canberra and Hobart were at just 12°C. But as I’ve said, those are daytime highs, at night the story was very different.

The coldest city in all of Australia on that day was Canberra at, wait for it, -5.3°C. About 300 km north of Canberra and roughly 150 km west of Sydney, the towns of Bathurst, Orange and Lithgow had a blanket of snow…..

Snow in Orange, NSW, AustraliaIn Darwin, the coldest it got at night was around 19°C.

Yes, Australia is a big country and when you choose which city to live in, this guide might help you decide whether to bring your coat stand with you or not. For us, we’ve booked to go on holiday to Tasmania in the middle of winter, so we’ll be visiting our coat stand just before we leave.

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