2905.0 - Statistical Geography: Volume 2 - Census Geographic Areas, Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/08/2002   
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Contents >> 4. Postal Areas


A Postal Area (POA) is created by allocating whole CDs to Australia Post postcode areas using the methods described in 1. Introduction. Thus, census data are correct for the POA but the POA only approximates the area covered by the 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 digital interpretations have been endorsed by Australia Post. Therefore, users should be aware of the limitations of the POA classification.

Some Australia Post postcodes are not included in the POA classification. For example, in some cases 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 only be allocated to one; 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.

For the 2001 Census, 2,435 POAs are defined to cover the whole of geographic Australia. POAs may cross State/Territory borders and where this happens, standard census products will provide data for the whole POA.

POA codes

POAs are not allocated names since there is no standardised name available for Australia Post postcodes. The coding conventions are as follows:
  • each POA code is the same as the corresponding four-digit Australia Post postcode; and
  • a POA code ending in 999 is reserved for those States/Territories that have Shipping, Off-Shore Areas and Migratory CDs.

3999 (Vic. Off-Shore, Shipping & Migratory)

Australia Post postcodes have changed since the 1996 Census and therefore those used in the POA listing for the 2001 Census may not necessarily match those used for the 1996 Census.

Please see 8. Census Geographic Area Classification Listings for a full listing of POA codes.

Australia Post postcodes which are not street delivery areas are not represented in the POA Classification. These include post office boxes, mail back competitions, large volume receivers and specialist delivery postcodes. These postcodes have not been represented in the POA Classification because they are only valid for postal addresses and are not a valid location for population data. Appendix 1 lists those Australia Post postcodes which are street delivery areas but which are not represented in the POA Classification.


Australia Post postcode codes and boundaries change over time but POAs are only defined in the census year. Thus, any boundary changes that occur in postcode boundaries will not be reflected until the next census.

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