2914.0 - 2006 Census of Population and Housing - Fact Sheets, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/11/2007   
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Image: 2006 Special Purpose Census Collection Districts


In designing Census Collection Districts (CD) for the 2006 Census, 38,704 CDs were constructed. Of these 35,824 are described as normal CDs for which no special purpose enumeration procedures were defined. The remaining 2,880 CDs are classified as special purpose CDs. There are six main groups of special purpose CDs: Point CDs, Water CDs, Off-shore CDs, Shipping CDs, Migratory CDs and Nil CDs. The aim of this fact sheet is to provide an explanation of these atypical CDs.


Point CDs are special purpose CDs where a specific community has a central location but where the boundaries of the community are not discretely defined. Thus the geographic area of the community cannot be defined on a map. Point CDs may include:

    • Indigenous Community CDs - these are defined where there is a significant central location for an Indigenous population. This concentration can also include outstations.
    • Defence Establishments CDs - these are defined where there is a clear grouping of dwellings.
    • Mining or Construction towns or camps CDs - these are defined when the town or camp is expected to exist for at least two censuses.

However, the above special purpose CDs are not always Point CDs and can be defined by a geographic boundary.

Point CDs are represented on CD maps and in the digital boundary files as a star-shaped boundary (see below).
Image - Star - Point CDs are represented on CD maps and in the digital boundary files as a star-shaped boundary
Point CDs are positioned approximately at the central location of the community. Apart from their distinctive shape, they can also be identified by their CD Type (an attribute that is internally maintained by the ABS). The area assigned to each CD does not reflect the area occupied by the people enumerated in, or associated with, that CD and therefore point CDs are not representative of the population when used in choropleth (thematic or shaded) mapping. Similarly the area assigned to these CDs is not appropriate for population density analysis. Information on the actual area occupied by the populations in these CDs is not available due to either:

  • the limitations of available mapping;
  • cultural sensitivities; or
  • a deliberate decision not to disclose the size, shape and exact location of some communities.

A single point CD may sometimes form a higher level area, for example, a point CD boundary may also represent an Indigenous Location (ILOC) boundary. Geographic classifications where this may occur include Urban Centre/Localities (UC/Ls), Indigenous Areas (IAREs) and Indigenous Locations (ILOCs). Such boundaries are easily identified by their star shape. The same constraints that apply to the use of point CDs for thematic mapping and population density analysis apply also to these higher level areas.

In 2006, considerable effort was made to minimise the number of point CDs.


Water CDs cover bodies of water such as lakes and parts of rivers where people are likely to be counted on Census Night, for example, sections of Sydney Harbour where people are likely to be resident on vessels. In 2006 there were 91 Water CDs.

Water CDs have a default land-based CD to which they are linked. This CD is normally nominated because of a connection to the Water CD, for example, it is the place where people are likely to come ashore. The census form for any person enumerated in a Water CD is transferred to the default land-based CD at the time that the census forms are processed. Water CDs therefore do not have any statistical data associated with them - they are nil CDs - and no digital boundaries have been made available for them.


Deliberate Nil CDs are land-based CDs that have been purposely designed to contain no dwellings or population. This could occur for example in industrial areas and national parks. These CDs are still allocated to collectors who confirm their Nil CD status. Deliberate Nil CDs have an alternative CD nominated to them. The census form for any person enumerated in a Nil CD is transferred to the nominated alternative CD at the time that the census forms are processed. There were 387 land-based Nil CDs defined for the 2006 Census.

Deliberate Nil CDs should not be confused with CDs where it was expected that people would be counted but for some reason none were present on Census Night.

In Western Australia there are 194 Deliberate Nil CDs. This number, much higher than for any other state or territory, results from the manner in which Indigenous outstation CDs were initially designed. Many of these CDs had a low population count and their counts have been transferred to their surrounding CD.


Off-shore, shipping and migratory CDs are not defined by boundaries and have no geographic location. They are defined for all of the states and territories except for the Australian Capital Territory. In 2006, there are 7 Off-shore, 7 Migratory CDs and 77 Shipping CDs.

Off-shore Collection Districts

An Off-shore CD covers all structures (such as oil and gas drilling rigs) in Australian waters or those structures outside Australian waters for which immigration formalities are not required to be completed.

For the 2006 Census, each state and territory (with the exception of the ACT) has a single Off-Shore CD. Australian residents temporarily in Antarctica have been included in a second Off-shore CD for Tasmania. Australian residents at Macquarie Island on Census Night are also counted in the second Off-shore CD for Tasmania.

Off-shore CDs are not represented in 2006 digital boundary files as they have no defined geographic location.

Shipping Collection Districts

A Shipping CD covers an area of water, normally a port, which is controlled by a Port Authority. The types of vessels in a Shipping CD that need to be enumerated include cargo vessels (with Australian crews or crew members), passenger liners, fishing vessels, dredges, pleasure craft, and yachts. People enumerated on board vessels between Australia ports are normally allocated to the Shipping CD of their origin, whilst craft that are moored at jetties or marinas, or in harbours are enumerated within their adjacent land-based or major waterway CD.

In general, people on board vessels departing for an overseas port are considered out of scope for the Census as they have left the country.

Shipping CDs have defined boundaries.

Migratory Collection Districts

A Migratory CD is used to record all people who are in transit on long distance trains, buses and aircraft on Census Night. The crew and staff of both passenger and other commercial land and air transport are also attributed to the Migratory CD. However, people enumerated on board vessels travelling between Australian sea ports are allocated to a Shipping CD.

Migratory CDs are not represented in 2006 digital boundary files as they have no defined boundaries.

Dwellings in Off-shore Shipping and Migratory Collection Districts

Oil rigs, ships and other commercial transport are classified as dwellings. These dwellings are classified into three types: "Migratory", "Off-shore" and "Shipping" dwelling types. Dwellings in the Antarctica and Macquarie Island are counted in the second Off-shore CD for Tasmania.

Off-shore, Shipping and Migratory is a separate class in each level of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) for those structures which cover all of Geographical Australia. Postal Areas (POAs) and Electoral Divisions (both State and Commonwealth) also have a separate class for Off-shore, Shipping and Migratory. For more information please refer to the publications: Statistical Geography: Volume 1 Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2001 (cat. no. 1216.0) and Statistical Geography: Volume 2 Census Geographic Areas, Australia 2006 (cat. no. 2905.0)


New South Wales

1450201Clarence River (Shipping)
1450202Eden (Shipping)
1450203Newcastle (Shipping)
1450204Rozelle, Sydney (Shipping)
1450205Johnstons Bay area, Sydney (Shipping)
1450206Darling Harbour, Balmain, McMahon's Point area (Shipping)
1450207Kirribilli, Garden Island area (Shipping)
1450208Port Jackson Area (Inc. Middle Harbour) (Shipping)
1450209Botany Bay (Shipping)
1450210Port Kembla (Shipping)


2390201Port of Melbourne (Shipping)
2390202Port of Geelong (Shipping)
2390203Port of Hastings (Shipping)
2390204Port of Portland (Shipping)
2390205Port of Corner Inlet (Shipping)
2390206Port of Apollo Bay (Shipping)
2390207Port of Port Fairy and Port of Warrnambool (Shipping)
2390208Port of San Remo (Shipping)


3270201Karumba (Shipping)
3270202Weipa (Shipping)
3270203Thursday Island (Shipping)
3270204Cairns (Shipping)
3270205Mourilyan (Shipping)
3270206Lucinda Point (Shipping)
3270207Townsville (Shipping)
3270208Cape Flattery Area (Shipping)
3270209Abbot Point (Shipping)
3270210Mackay (Shipping)
3270211Hay Point (Shipping)
3270212Rockhampton (Shipping)
3270213Gladstone (Shipping)
3270214Bundaberg (Shipping)
3270216Brisbane (Shipping)

South Australia

4150201Thevenard (Shipping)
4150202Port Lincoln (Shipping)
4150203Whyalla (Shipping)
4150204Port Pirie (Shipping)
4150205Wallaroo (Shipping)
4150206Port Bonython (Shipping)
4150207Edithburgh & Port Giles (Shipping)
4150208Ardrossan (Shipping)
4150209Outer Harbour (Shipping)
4150210Port Adelaide (Shipping)

Western Australia

5140201Wyndham (Shipping)
5140203Derby (Shipping)
5140204Broome (Shipping)
5140205Port Hedland (Shipping)
5140206Port Walcott (Shipping)
5140207Dampier (Shipping)
5140208Barrow Island (Shipping)
5140209Onslow (Shipping)
5140211Carnarvon (Shipping)
5140212Geraldton (Shipping)
5140213Fremantle (Shipping)
5140214Kwinana (Shipping)
5140215Bunbury (Shipping)
5140216Albany (Shipping)
5140217Esperance (Shipping)
5140223Cockatoo and Koolan (Shipping


6060201Burnie (Shipping)
6060202Devonport (Shipping)
6060203Tamar River (Shipping)
6060204Hobart (Shipping)
6060206Whitemark (Shipping)
6060207Triabunna (Shipping)
6060208Port Latta (Shipping)
6060209Port Huon (Shipping)
6060210Grassy (Shipping)
6060211Lady Baron (Shipping)

Northern Territory

7040201Darwin (Shipping)
7040202Nhulunbuy (Gove) (Shipping)
7040203Groote Eylandt (Shipping)
7040204McArthur River Mines (Shipping)
7040205Port Melville (Shipping)

Australian Capital Territory

No Migratory, Off-Shore or Shipping

Other Territories

No Migratory, Off-Shore
9040201Flying Fish Cove - Christmas Island (Shipping)
9040202Waterfall - Christmas Island (Shipping)
9040203Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Shipping)