1270.0.55.003 - Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 3 - Non ABS Structures, July 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2016   
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Postal Areas (POAs) are an ABS approximation of postcodes created to enable the release of ABS data on areas that, as closely as possible, approximate postcodes. This enables the comparison of ABS data with other data collected using postcodes as the geographic reference. Postal Areas are approximated using one or more Mesh Blocks (MBs) from the ASGS. Postal Areas are defined to cover the whole of geographic Australia.

Unlike in 2011 when the Postal Areas were built from Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1), in this edition they have been built from Mesh Blocks, singly or in combination.

A postcode is a four digit number used by Australia Post to assist with mail delivery. Australia Post does not currently define geographic boundaries for postcodes. However, a number of organisations create geographic boundaries that aim to define the geographic extent of the mail delivery area for each postcode. Defining postcodes with a geographic boundary is an imprecise process, and this is demonstrated by the fact that there are variations in boundaries released by different organisations. Additionally postcodes cover most, but not all, of Australia; for example, western Tasmania is not covered by a postcode.

In developing Postal Areas, each Mesh Block is allocated to a single Australia Post postcode. Postal Areas derived in this way only approximate postcode boundaries. Mesh Block allocations are based on the distribution of the estimated population within each Mesh Block, not on the total area. These allocations have been determined using the best available information on postcode boundaries.

Some Australia Post postcodes are not included in the Postal Area classification. This occurs when no Mesh Block can be allocated to a particular postcode. There are two situations when this occurs where:

  • a Mesh Block covers more than one whole postcode, the Mesh Block can be allocated to only one postcode
  • more than one Mesh Block partially covers a postcode, but all the Mesh Blocks are allocated to other postcodes, based on the share of population with which they also share area.

Postal Areas exclude Australia Post postcodes that are not street delivery areas. These include post office boxes, 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.

It should be noted that there are instances where postcodes cross state or territory boundaries. In these cases Postal Areas reflect this distribution. The following table lists these Postal Areas.

Postal Area CodeState or Territory

0872Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia
2540New South Wales, Other Territories
2611New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory
2620 New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory
2618New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory
2406 New South Wales, Queensland
3707Victoria, New South Wales
3691Victoria, New South Wales
3644Victoria, New South Wales
4375Queensland, New South Wales
4377Queensland, New South Wales
4380Queensland, New South Wales
4383Queensland, New South Wales
4385Queensland, New South Wales
4825Queensland, Northern Territory

For the 2016 ASGS, 2670 Postal Areas have been defined. No Usual Address and Migratory-Offshore-Shipping are represented as non-spatial objects in the digital boundaries.

The codes used for the 2016 Postal Areas may not match those used in 2011 in some instances. Changes to codes occur where Australia Post abolishes postcodes or changes codes between editions of the ASGS. Correspondences enabling translation of data from 2011 to 2016 to qualify these changes will be released with this volume.

Postal Areas are not allocated names since there is no standardised name available for Australia Post postcodes. In most cases the code is repeated in the name field except where State or Territory (S/T) boundaries are crossed when a description is added.

Each Postal Area code is the same as the corresponding four digit Australia Post postcode.

Special purpose codes are included as balancing items. Mesh Blocks allocated to these codes are not part of any official Postal Area.
  • POA code 9797 is reserved for cases where people are coded to Migratory, Off-Shore and Shipping Mesh Blocks.
  • POA code 9494 is reserved for cases where people are coded to No Usual Address Mesh Blocks.


POA CodePOA Name

2614 2614
2615 2615
2617 2617
2618 2618 crosses New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory
2619 2619
9494 No usual address (Aust.)
9797 Migratory - Offshore - Shipping (Aust.)