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Cold in Brisbane!

June 18th, 2005

Since arriving here a few years ago, I’d always thought that Brisbane had only two seasons: Summer and Not-summer. In comments on this theme, I recall James Farrell describing winter in Brisbane, but I didn’t believe him.The place looked snowbound a few weeks ago after an exceptional hailstorm, but I put that down as a once-off.

Now with an overnight minimum of 7 last night (and zero in Ipswich), I have to concede that Brisbane does have a winter. I even put on a warm jacket when I went out to get the fish and chips tonight. Still, having just returned from Canberra, where the maximum was 7, I know where I’d rather be (though easy access to snow would be nice, I must admit).

Update It strikes me that the Brisbane reaction to cold is much like the way Washington DC responds to the heavy snow that falls there once or twice a year. We don’t so much deal with it as hunker down and wait for it to go away.

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  1. joe2
    June 18th, 2005 at 20:13 | #1

    J.Q ,
    Sit back with smoking jacket and relax,while not smoking and play latest Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds . Better, The “Go-Betweens”, have a just released a new C.D.

    Sounds good and buy a very local product.
    It will help!

  2. Brian Bahnisch
    June 18th, 2005 at 20:37 | #2

    John, the hail storm was unusual, but not as unusual as the one we had some years ago, about the same time of the year, but at 6am and from the East, which is entirely the wrong direction.

    But this cold isn’t. We get this sort of weather a few times every year and it feels worse because we aren’t set up for it. Although lots of old homes and some new ones do have fire places.

    We haven’t had snow on the Darling Downs just west of here for a long time, but it’s happened.

  3. June 18th, 2005 at 23:31 | #3

    Some friends of mine were up from Melbourne around this time of year when the weather was much the same and quickly discovered you can’t go out at night wearing a t-shirt!

  4. June 19th, 2005 at 01:23 | #4

    What an absolute hoot Queenslanders are when it come to weather.! On several occasions when I have visited Brisbane in winter it has been really cold,with freezing mornings too. I remarked on this at a reception desk in my motel and once it was if I used a four-letter word.! It seems to be that as far as Brisbane is concerned about the cold,the locals are in a state o total denial.,like George Bush about Iraq. At least in Melbourne where it IS cold we have well-heated houses,and heated public facilities too.We just eaten in a pleasant,well heated restuarant(good Greek food I might say, AND they have a special “winter” menu too!) Come to think of it Brisbane weather is awful in mid-summer too !!!

  5. June 19th, 2005 at 01:29 | #5

    Well, we have braziers in the outdoor cafes and restaurants! But actually I could do with some central heating at my place tonight!

  6. Chris O’Neill
    June 19th, 2005 at 15:20 | #6

    What a hooting troll from mckinlay! What an apt time to be posting on Brisbane temperatures, it being 14.4C at 2:30PM. From the July averages (20.4C max and 9.5C min) I’d say Brisbane has a winter at night and a not-summer during the day. From the July averages for Melbourne (13.4C max and 5.9C min) I’d say Melbourne has a winter day and night.

    And it’s pretty funny when someone from Melbourne implies that Brisbane weather in winter is awful.

  7. Katz
    June 19th, 2005 at 16:33 | #7

    Memo to Queenslanders: “Cold” and “Awful” aren’t synonyms.

    Until you sub-tropical types develop some terms that replace “summer” and “winter” you’ll always be mere sojourners.

    Your bum cracks might be sweating in Brisbane, but your minds are cyrogenically preserved in places like Melbourne.

    It’s winter today at home in Melbourne. Sunshine and clouds. The rays of the sun slant through postcode-sized showers.

  8. June 19th, 2005 at 18:15 | #8

    Chris, the surprise came when we were out in the Valley at a coffee shop at 1am after leaving a nightclub! Brisbane is normally gorgeous in winter during the day – but because it’s *usually* very dry and cloudless, the temperature drops up to 10 degrees very quickly when the sun goes down. The nights – particularly in the Western suburbs – can be quite cold. Only really lasts about 2 months – though August can be nasty when we get some very strong cold winds for a couple of weeks.

  9. Chris O’Neill
    June 19th, 2005 at 18:57 | #9

    Memo to Melbournians: “20.4 degree mamimum” and “Awful” aren’t synonyms.

  10. Brian Bahnisch
    June 19th, 2005 at 19:01 | #10

    Forget the heat and the cold, it’s the quality of the light!

    And btw today in weather more suited to the visitors the Lions thumped the Cats 116-47. They reckon it was the best game Akermanis has ever played.

  11. Darryl Rosin
    June 19th, 2005 at 20:00 | #11

    “Hunker down and wait for it to go away” – I think that’s it exactly, John. We spend so much time and energy dealing with the heat of summer, that we’ve got nothing left for the cold bits and do our best to ignore them.

    There’s a lot of denial all ’round about how cold it gets in Brisbane. I remember listening some while back, during a very cold snap, to a JJJ announcer taking a call from ‘vegas.

    JJJ: “I bet it’s nice and warm up where you are!”
    Caller: “Actually, it’s pretty cold today”
    JJJ: “Well, these things are all relative, aren’t they. What you think is cold would be warm to the rest of us”
    Caller: “No, today’s a really cold day

    On the other hand at least when you go into a house in Sydney or Melbourne during winter, it’s warm. Traditional Qld housing is built for sweltering summers, shed heat quickly and are very drafty. You come home at night and find your housemates wearing three jumpers and huddled around a bar heater in the lounge room. (which seems perfectly normal until you spend a bit of time in those other places and begin to expand your understanding of what houses are capable of)

  12. June 19th, 2005 at 21:28 | #12

    Er… Melbourne housing is built with little regard for winters, relying on powere to make up the difference (these days, anyway). I write as one with British experience (as well as far hotter countries than Queensland), now resident in Victoria. It may well be that Queensland housing is even worse that way, but the Melbourne approach is not the right one.

    Or maybe that’s just renters’ economics.

  13. June 19th, 2005 at 22:47 | #13

    Just to make a point about what I said about Brisbane’s cold. IT is NOT as severe as Melbourne’s,but in Brisbane there is no preparation for the cold,so even a moderatly cold day can be unpleasant. Once Brisbane folk admit there is a winter,they could then install some decent heating(NOT a one bar radiator!)and even get a good warm coat…now there’s a though !

  14. Darryl Rosin
    June 19th, 2005 at 22:59 | #14

    PML, you’re absolutely right. It’s the ubiquity of heating that makes the difference in Melbourne, not sensible design.

    d

  15. June 20th, 2005 at 02:26 | #15

    Snow in DC is an excuse drive like a retard on the roads. The IQ of Washingtonians, Virginians and Marylanders drops to zero when snow hits the road.

  16. Katz
    June 20th, 2005 at 08:57 | #16

    “Memo to Melbournians: “20.4 degree mamimumâ€? and “Awfulâ€? aren’t synonyms.”

    Could agree more Chris.

  17. Bai Ren
    June 20th, 2005 at 13:11 | #17

    “Er… Melbourne housing is built with little regard for winters, relying on powere to make up the difference (these days, anyway).”

    How about “Australian housing is built with little regard for winter/summer, relying on power to make up the difference”?!

    Currently, houses are styled, rather than designed.

  18. derrida derider
    June 20th, 2005 at 13:18 | #18

    Never mind the weather, John – give us a report on the Bobfest in Canberra.

  19. June 20th, 2005 at 13:37 | #19

    Actually,in my own defence…I didn’t…in my original post…say that Brisbane’s winters were awful!!!some critics didn’t read the post properly!…what I said was that Brisbane summers were awful too…..nobody would dispute that surely ?

  20. June 20th, 2005 at 13:48 | #20

    Brisbane summers are awful, to be sure. Nicest time of the year is the few weeks we get of Spring/Autumn.

  21. Chris O’Neill
    June 20th, 2005 at 14:45 | #21

    When you say Brisbane summers are awful “too” then at the very least you’re ambigious about what the word “too” is meant to imply. In the context of slagging off Brisbane’s winter weather a likely implication of the word “too” is that it was referring to Brisbane’s winters hence the conclusion that you are implying Brisbane’s winters are awful. If you want people to know what you really mean then be careful to avoid ambiguity.

    Regarding using heating in Brisbane, these days the most appropriate thing to do is to instal enough insulation so that heating is rarely needed. Considering how warm Brisbane normally is during the day, insulation should be enough to keep houses warm enough during the night. Heating houses most winter nights in Brisbane is a waste of fossil fuel.

  22. June 20th, 2005 at 22:16 | #22

    What makes you think British houses are designed for the weather either? The further north you go, the more hotties you have to hang under your kilt.

    You have to do somewhere like Scandinavia to get it right.

    Seriously – heating in the traditional Brit house consists of a coal fire and a bunch of miserable gits hanging around with freezing backs. The whole thing is so old fasioned it’s a wonder people don’t get their heads torn off by Grendel when they go out for more coal.

  23. Chris (not O’)Neill
    June 21st, 2005 at 01:45 | #23

    OK, some perspective for you all, from a suffering ex-Brisvegan.

    Toronto (Canada) has about 2-2.5 months of the year when it is warmer than Brisbane. That means there are at least a couple of weeks of Toronto’s ‘summer’ when it is colder than Brisbane’s ‘winter’. Yesterday (Sun) the maximum was 18C, and colder the day before. The minimums have been 10-13C.

    Summer was my favourite time of year in Brissie. Could go to the movies if you were getting too hot, though remembering to take your jumper with you to keep from shivering in the theatre was a bit tough. Or even better, the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland – Tamborine/Green Mountains/Binna Burra/Springbrook. Not so nice for the kids and their teachers on a school day, though.

  24. Darryl Rosin
    June 21st, 2005 at 11:13 | #24

    Actually, you know the worst thing about Brisbane weather? The ice-storms and lightning strikes caused by dogfighting alien starships. Beat that Melbourne!

    http://www.xeeatwelve.com/articles/alien_battle.html

    “I have indicated in previous postings that alien battles are being waged in the skies, seas and on the land, which often appear to be natural events. The recent Brisbane ice storm was one such battle…”

  25. Anne
    September 17th, 2005 at 09:35 | #25

    As a Brisbanite living and freezing through the winters in London for the last 7.5 years, my memory of Brisbane winters is very rosy indeed. I think I may be in for a wake-up call when I visit next June. I have, however, learned how to dress for the cold, which should stand me in good stead if there’s a particularly chilly snap.

    Have been rather disappointed when heading to the cinema here in London to get out of the few very hot days we’ve had this year to find that the air conditioning wasn’t working! And you haven’t experienced hot and humid and impossible to breathe until you’ve been on the Tube in the middle of a heatwave.

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