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2914.0 - 2006 Census of Population and Housing - Fact Sheets, 2006  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/08/2009   
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Postcodes and Census Data

1. Postcodes and postal areas

A postcode is a four digit number used by Australia Post to assist with mail delivery. As it is readily available on the end of each postal address, many researchers and businesses use postcode as a make-shift geographic region for aggregation and analysis of address based data. The desire to compare such data to census data in turn creates demand for census data aggregated by postcode. Census data are collected on Collection Districts (CDs) which, for several reasons, are not compatible with postcodes. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has, however developed a Census Geographic Area classification known as Postal Areas which approximates the area of those postcodes where people live.

Postal Area

Postal Areas are created by allocating whole CDs to Australia Post postcode areas on a 'best fit' basis (See Statistical Geography: Volume 2 - Census Geographic Areas (Cat. no. 2905.0) available July 2007). Postal Areas derived in this way only approximate Australia Post postcode boundaries.

In developing Postal Areas each CD is allocated an Australia Post postcode. Allocations are made based on the distribution of addresses and not area. This means that a CD is allocated to a postcode if the majority of the residential address points1 in that CD are contained within that postcode. Postal Areas are then formed by joining together the CDs that have been allocated the same postcode.

Allocations have been determined using the best available information on postcode boundaries. Unfortunately official maps of postcode boundaries have not been updated since the early 1990s and none of the more recent interpretations have been endorsed by Australia Post. Users should, therefore, be aware of the limitations of the Postal Area classification.

Some Australia Post postcodes are not included in the Postal Area classification. For instance, in some cases when applying the 'best fit' principle there is no CD which can be allocated to a particular Australia Post postcode. This occurs in two cases:

  • where a CD covers two or more whole postcodes, the CD can be allocated to only one Postal Area; or
  • where more than one CD partially covers a postcode but all the CDs are allocated to other postcodes with which they also share area.

The Postal Area classification also excludes Australia Post post codes which are not street delivery areas. These include post office box, mail back competitions, large volume receivers and specialist delivery postcodes. These postcodes are only valid for postal addresses and are not a valid location for population data.

Postal Areas that cross State/Territory borders:

Where Postal Areas cross State/Territory borders standard census products will provide data for the entire Postal Area.

NSWPostal Areas 2618 and 2620 cross into the ACT, 2406 crosses into Qld and 2540 crosses into Jervis Bay (Other Territories).
Vic.Postal Areas 3585 and 3644 cross into NSW
QldPostal Area 4385 crosses into NSW, and 4825 crosses into NT.
SANo South Australian Postal Areas cross borders
WAPostal Area 6743 crosses into NT
Tas.No Tasmanian Postal Areas cross State Borders
NTPostal Area 0872 crosses into both SA and WA.
ACTPostal Area 2611 crosses into NSW
OT N/A

2. Digital boundaries

Postal Area digital boundaries are Census Geographic boundaries and are available as part of the 2006 Census DataPacks (Cat No. 2069.0.30.001 to 2069.0.30.007), Australia CD-ROM. More information on Census Geographic boundaries can be found in Statistical Geography Volume 2 - Census Geographic Areas (Cat no. 2905.0).

Postal Area digital boundaries are supplied in both MapInfo Export (.mif/.mid) and ESRI Shape formats. These are suitable for import into geographic information systems and desktop mapping packages. All spatial data released by the ABS are published in unprojected geographic coordinates and after August 2001 are based on the Geocentric Datum of Australia,1994 (GDA94). For more information on GDA94 see the Fact Sheet Geocentric Datum of Australia and Australian Bureau of Statistics Boundaries.

3. Comparing other postcode based statistics to census statistics
Users of census data can have trouble reconciling their own postcode based statistics with census statistics because:

  • Many respondents mis-report their postcode;
  • It is also difficult to say what the 'correct' postcode for some respondents should be, especially when considering post office boxes and rural delivery services. Census data are based either upon the Postal Area of the residence where a person was enumerated or the Postal Area where they normally reside. By contrast many non-ABS datasets only record the postcode of a person's mailing address. Since many people have different mailing and residential addresses the datasets are difficult to reconcile; and
  • postcode boundaries change over time and it can take a long time for respondents and coding systems to adjust to a change in a postcode. This causes problems when working with postcode based data taken from different reference periods as the changes to the boundaries are difficult to reconcile with changes in the population.

Comparing non-ABS data on postcode with ABS data on Postal Area as enumerated

The primary consideration when doing a comparison with census data based on the Postal Area classification is that the Postal Areas are derived using a 'best fit' of whole CDs. The census data are correct for the Postal Area but the Postal Area only approximates the area of the postcode. The Postal Area classification also excludes some postcodes and as such there will be no census data for these postcodes.

Postal Area of Usual Address Census Night (POCUCP)

Postal Area of Usual Address Census Night (POCUCP) is a census variable which identifies the Postal Area of the person's usual address. For people counted at home, the value for POCUCP is determined from the CD of the residence. For people enumerated away from home, their usual address is coded to a CD where possible and then the Postal Area of that CD is used. Where a person does not state his/her place of usual residence they are coded to Postal Area undefined. For example:

2999NSW Postal Area undefined
3999Vic. Postal Area undefined

4. Alternatives to postcode/postal area census data

2006 Census data is available by CD of usual residence. Users of census data who previously resorted to Postal Area data may instead wish to consider using CD of usual residence.

2006 Census State Suburbs (See Statistical Geography: Volume 2 - Census Geographic Areas (Cat. no. 2905.0)) have been defined for most of Australia. Many users of Postal Area data may find that the suburb is a more convenient and more readily recognisable geographical area for their purposes. In many cities there is a many-to-one relationship between suburb and postcode so in theses cases suburb data also provide a finer level of geographical resolution.

5. Unallocated Australia Post Postcodes

Some Australia Post postcodes are not included in the Postal Area classification. For instance, in some cases when applying the 'best fit' principle there is no CD which can be allocated to a particular Australia Post postcode. This occurs in two cases:

  • where a CD covers two or more whole postcodes, the CD can be allocated to only one Postal Area; or
  • where more than one CD partially covers a postcode but all the CDs are allocated to other postcodes with which they also share area.

The Postal Area classification also excludes Australia Post post codes that are not street delivery areas. These include post office box, mail back competition, large volume receivers and specialist delivery postcodes. These postcodes are only valid for postal addresses and are not a valid location for population data.

Listing of Unallocated Australia Post Postcodes

1. New South Wales

Sequential number
Australia Post Postcode
Locality
1
2052
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
2
2123
PARRAMATTA
3
2129
SYDNEY MARKETS
4
2139
CONCORD REPATRIATION HOSPITAL
5
2308
Multiple Localities
6
2314
WILLIAMTOWN RAAF
7
2351
UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND
8
2398
GURLEY
9
2522
UNIVERSITY OF WOLLONGONG
10
2649
Multiple Localities
11
2661
KAPOOKA
12
2899
NORFOLK ISLAND

2. Victoria

Sequential number
Australia Post Postcode
Locality
1
3063
Multiple Localities
2
3237
Multiple Localities
3
3254
COROROOKE
4
3267
SCOTTS CREEK
5
3273
HEXHAM
6
3309
DIGBY
7
3329
Multiple Localities
8
3378
Multiple Localities
9
3385
Multiple Localities
10
3415
Multiple Localities
11
3430
CLARKEFIELD
12
3432
BOLINDA
13
3433
MONEGEETTA
14
3488
Multiple Localities
15
3489
TEMPY
16
3506
COWANGIE
17
3565
KOTTA
18
3572
Multiple Localities
19
3576
DURHAM OX
20
3583
TRESCO
21
3596
Multiple Localities
22
3607
TABILK
23
3617
BYRNESIDE
24
3647
DOOKIE COLLEGE
25
3663
MANGALORE
26
3704
KOETONG
27
3708
TINTALDRA
28
3715
Multiple Localities
29
3718
MOLESWORTH
30
3751
WOODSTOCK
31
3755
YAN YEAN
32
3760
SMITHS GULLY
33
3762
BYLANDS
34
3864
Multiple Localities
35
3873
GORMANDALE
36
3893
Multiple Localities
37
3903
SWAN REACH
38
3957
Multiple Localities
39
3967
HEDLEY
40
3979
Multiple Localities
41
3989
ST HELIER
42
3990
GLEN FORBES

3. Queensland

Sequential number
Australia Post Postcode
Locality
1
4029
ROYAL BRISBANE HOSPITAL
2
4353
Multiple Localities
3
4372
TANNYMOREL
4
4375
COTTONVALE
5
4376
THULIMBAH
6
4378
APPLETHORPE
7
4384
LIMEVALE
8
4406
Multiple Localities
9
4461
MUCKADILLA
10
4471
Multiple Localities
11
4479
COOLADDI
12
4611
Multiple Localities
13
4697
RAGLAN
14
4704
Multiple Localities

4. South Australia

Sequential number
Australia Post Postcode
Locality
1
5005
ADELAIDE UNIVERSITY
2
5139
FOREST RANGE
3
5150
Multiple Localities
4
5220
PARNDANA
5
5263
COONAWARRA
6
5273
AVENUE RANGE
7
5310
Multiple Localities
8
5312
VEITCH
9
5414
MANOORA
10
5455
HILLTOWN
11
5493
YONGALA
12
5630
EDILILLIE
13
5651
KYANCUTTA
14
5660
CUNGENA

5. Western Australia

Sequential number
Australia Post Postcode
Locality
1
6223
BENGER
2
6240
LOWDEN
3
6243
Multiple Localities
4
6252
MULLALYUP
5
6313
HIGHBURY
6
6327
Multiple Localities
7
6351
Multiple Localities
8
6357
PINGARING
9
6384
PANTAPIN
10
6393
Multiple Localities
11
6403
GRASS VALLEY
12
6412
Multiple Localities
13
6413
HINES HILL
14
6414
NANGEENAN
15
6419
ARDATH
16
6422
WALGOOLAN
17
6424
Multiple Localities
18
6428
BABAKIN
19
6446
GRASS PATCH
20
6447
Multiple Localities
21
6452
Multiple Localities
22
6466
CADOUX
23
6467
BURAKIN
24
6480
NUKARNI
25
6504
MOOLIABEENEE
26
6506
MOGUMBER
27
6509
Multiple Localities
28
6512
Multiple Localities
29
6564
CLACKLINE
30
6571
YERECOIN
31
6574
Multiple Localities
32
6605
KONDUT
33
6613
BUNTINE
34
6614
MAYA
35
6625
MERKANOOKA
36
6628
TARDUN
37
6631
PINDAR
38
6632
Multiple Localities
39
6639
SANDSTONE
40
6711
THEVENARD ISLAND
41
6712
BARROW ISLAND
42
6731
COCKATOO ISLAND
43
6733
KOOLAN ISLAND
44
6761
SHAY GAP
45
6762
TELFER

6. Tasmania

Sequential number
Australia Post Postcode
Locality
1
7001
Multiple Localities
2
7119
STONOR
3
7139
STRATHGORDON
4
7174
COPPING
5
7175
Multiple Localities
6
7176
KELLEVIE
7
7183
HIGHCROFT
8
7187
KOONYA
9
7257
CAPE BARREN ISLAND

7. Northern Territory

Sequential number
Australia Post Postcode
Locality
1
0829
PINELANDS
2
0846
ADELAIDE RIVER
3
0853
TINDAL RAAF
4
0909
NORTHERN TERRITORY UNIVERSITY

8. Australian Capital Territory

No unallocated Australia Post postcodes

9. Other Territory

No unallocated Australia Post postcodes

Notes

1 Residential address points were derived from the Geocoded National Address File.


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