Australia is a metric country. We started the conversion in 1966 when we changed currency. The song was very catchy and most Australians over 55 can sing it.
I was in 2nd grade when Dollars and Cents came in. When I was in Gd 3 or 4 I remember starting to be taught weights and measures in the old imperial system. We didn't get up to having to convert ounces to pounds, or inches to feet when adding them together. Then it was phased out... we didn't have to learn it because metric was coming in. We did learn to add centimetres and convert to metres, and grams to kilograms but being metric that is much easier. I was so pleased. I was intrigued when researching this topic to realise the dates that these conversions happened
Wikipedia had the following information on the metrication of Australia
- 1971 – the Australian wool industry converted to the metric system.
- 1972 – all primary schools were teaching the metric system alone. Many had been teaching both imperial and metric and later, metric alone since Australia changed to the decimal currency system in 1966. Horse racing converted in August 1972 and air temperatures were converted in September 1972.
- 1973 – all secondary schools were now using the metric system.
- 1974 – large scale conversion across industries, including packaged grains, dairy products, eggs, building, timber, paper, printing, meteorological services, postal services,communications, road transport, travel, textiles, gas, electricity, surveying, sport, water supply, mining, metallurgy, chemicals, petroleum and automotive services. Most beverages, aside from spirits, also converted to metric units by the end of 1974. The conversion of road signs took place in July 1974.
- 1976 – the Building and Construction industry completed its change to metric measurements (within two years) by January 1976.
- 1977 – all packaged goods were labelled in metric units, and the air transport, food, energy, machine tool, electronic, electrical engineering and appliance manufacturing industries converted.
- 1987 – The Real estate industry converted to metric.
- 1988 – Metrication completed, with the metric system becoming the only system of legal measurements in Australia.
So Australia has been metric for a long time, as has most of the rest of the world apart from the USA. As far as the quilting side of things goes all our fabric is sold in metric units. However, as a whole the Patchwork and Quilting industry is very US centric. The American market is very very influential and so most patchwork notions such as rulers, cutting mats, templates etc are marked in inches. Most patterns are written in imperial measurements.
In Australian magazines (and usually blogs too) the measurements for fabric requirements will be given in metric but the cutting instructions will be in imperial. Its one of those crazy weird eccentricities of the quilting world.