Why is a tablespoon defined as 20mL in Australia?


In Australia, a tablespoon is defined as 20mL. This is because the metric system is used in Australia, and the metric system defines a tablespoon as 20mL. There are other countries that use the metric system, but they do not all define a tablespoon as 20mL. In fact, some countries define a tablespoon as 15mL. The reason for this difference is that Australia uses the imperial system of measurement, which defines a tablespoon as 20mL, while most other countries use the metric system, which defines a tablespoon as 15mL.

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    Why is a tablespoon defined as 20mL in Australia?

    In Australia, a tablespoon is defined as 20mL. But why? Is it because that’s how big an Australian tablespoon is? Or is there some other reason? It turns out, there’s a bit of history behind this measurement. In this blog post, we will explore the origins of the Australian tablespoon and why it is what it is today. From the history of the metric system to the imperial system and more, read on to learn more about this curious measurement.

    The origins of the tablespoon

    In Australia, the tablespoon is officially defined as being equal to 20 milliliters (mL). This is a relatively recent change, with the old definition being equal to 30 mL. The change was made in order to align the Australian tablespoon with the standard used in most other countries.

    The tablespoon has its origins in ancient measurement systems. In the early days of measuring systems, there were no standard units of measurement. Each country or region had its own system of weights and measures. Over time, these various systems began to be standardized. In 1824, the British Parliament passed the Weights and Measures Act, which established standard units of measure for length, mass, and capacity.

    The tablespoon was originally included in this act as a unit of measure for capacity. It was defined as being equal to 10 fluid ounces, which is approximately 284 mL. This is close to the modern definition of 300 mL. In Australia, the tablespoon was first defined in 1901 as being equal to 30 mL. This definition remained in place until 2011 when it was changed to 20 mL.

    How the tablespoon became standardized

    A tablespoon is a unit of measurement for volume, typically used in cooking. One tablespoon is equivalent to three teaspoons or 0.5 fluid ounces in the imperial system, or 15 milliliters in the metric system.

    The origin of the tablespoon as a unit of measurement is unclear, but it is thought to have originated in the 18th century. In the early 19th century, there were a number of different sizes of tablespoons in use, with 1 fluid ounce being the most common size. In 1824, an English cookbook author defined a tablespoon as “the large spoon used for serving soup”.

    In 1848, an American inventor created a device called the “Keystone Meter” which could be used to measure various volumes including tablespoons. This invention helped to standardize the size of tablespoons and other units of measurement.

    In 1901, the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology was established in Australia and began using metric units of measurement. However, some non-metric units of measurement, such as the tablespoon, were still in use. In 1976, Australia officially switched to using metric units of measurement and the tablespoon was officially defined as 15 milliliters.

    The difference between a metric tablespoon and an imperial tablespoon

    In Australia, a tablespoon is defined as being equal to 20 milliliters (mL). However, in the United States and some other countries, a tablespoon is considered to be equal to 15 mL. So why the difference?

    Well, it all has to do with history and measurement standards. The metric system was established in France in 1795, and it spread throughout Europe and much of the world over the next few decades. Australia officially adopted the metric system in 1974.

    Meanwhile, the imperial system of measurement was established in England way back in 1824. This system continued to be used in many English-speaking countries after the metric system was adopted elsewhere. That’s why you’ll still see recipes calling for “1 cup sugar” or “1-pint milk” even though those measurements have been replaced by grams and milliliters in most of the world.

    So when it comes to tablespoons, Australia follows the metric standard of 20 mL while many other countries use the imperial standard of 15 mL. If you’re ever baking or cooking something from a recipe that uses imperial measurements, just remember to convert tablespoons accordingly!

    Why Australia uses the metric system

    Australia uses the metric system in order to be consistent with the rest of the world. The metric system is based on the International System of Units (SI), which was developed by international agreement. Australia uses SI units in all aspects of life, including trade, science, medicine, and everyday measurements.

    The use of SI units allows for easy comparisons between countries and ensures that there is a common understanding of measurements. For example, a kilometre is a thousand metres no matter where you are in the world, so it makes it easier to understand distances when traveling.

    How many mL are in a tablespoon?

    A tablespoon is a unit of measure that is typically used to measure volume. In Australia, a tablespoon is defined as being equal to 20 milliliters (mL). This is different than in other parts of the world where a tablespoon is typically defined as being equal to 15 mL. The difference in definition can be traced back to when Australia was first colonized by the British.

    The advantages of using the metric system

    1. The metric system is an international system of units that is used by most countries in the world.
    2. The metric system is easy to use and understand.
    3. The metric system is based on the decimal system, which makes it easy to do calculations.
    4. The metric system is more precise than other systems of measurement, such as the imperial system.
    5. The metric system is easier to use for scientific purposes.
    6. The metric system is the only system of measurement that is used by the International System of Units (SI).

    Why is a tablespoon defined as 20mL in Australia?

    A tablespoon is officially defined as 20 mL in Australia. This is a little bit different than in the United States, where a tablespoon is 16 mL. The difference might not seem like much, but it can add up when you’re measuring out ingredients for cooking or baking.

    So why the difference? It turns out that the origin of the tablespoon dates back to medieval times when it was actually a unit of measurement for wine. In those days, a tablespoon was equivalent to around 1/8 of a pint. When the metric system was introduced in Australia in 1866, the government decided to keep the tablespoon at 20 mL so that people would be able to continue using their existing measuring spoons.

    While most countries have now switched over to the metric system, there are still some recipes that use tablespoons (and other imperial units) instead of milliliters. So if you’re ever looking at an Australian recipe and wondering why it calls for 20 mL of an ingredient instead of 16 mL, now you know!


    A tablespoon is an important kitchen utensil when it comes to measuring and portioning food ingredients. However, did you know that the definition of a tablespoon varies from country to country? In Australia, a tablespoon is officially defined as being equal to 20mL.

    The history of this definition dates back to the nineteenth century when Australia was part of the British Empire. Standardised measurements were adopted throughout the empire at this time, and one such measurement was the teaspoon which had been set at 5 mL in England in 1824. A tablespoon was then defined as three times that amount – 15 mL – with an additional 5 mL added on for good measure. This means that in Australia, a tablespoon has been officially recognised as equalling 20mL since 1835.

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