Australian Drainage Divisions

Latest release
Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Edition 3
Reference period
July 2021 - June 2026

Australian Drainage Divisions are an ABS Mesh Block approximation of drainage divisions provided through the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric. Australian Drainage Divisions are created to enable the release of ABS data on areas that approximate those provided in the Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric. ABS approximations of administrative boundaries do not match official legal boundaries and should only be used for statistical purposes.

There are 17 Australian Drainage Divisions covering the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. This incorporates 3 non-spatial special purpose codes including a new Outside Australia code. Further information regarding types of special purpose codes can be found in the Australian Drainage Division coding structure section below.

The Other Territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Island and Norfolk Island are each represented by a single Australian Drainage Division - Unclassified (Aust.). Jervis Bay is included in the Australian Drainage Division of South East Coast (NSW).

ADD design criteria

In ASGS Edition 3, Australian Drainage Divisions are approximated using Mesh Blocks based on the largest area contribution rather than population, which is used for most other Non ABS Structures.

Australian Drainage Divisions consist of a total of 17 regions. Australian Drainage Divisions are defined to cover the whole of geographic Australia, excluding the Other Territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Norfolk Island which have been allocated to D91 Unclassified (Aust.). Australian Drainage Divisions can cross state borders. The best example of this is the Murray-Darling Basin which crosses over four States and Territories.

No usual address and Migratory – Offshore – Shipping are represented as non-spatial objects in the digital boundaries.

ADD name criteria

Australian Drainage Divisions names are the same as those allocated by the Bureau of Meteorology.

ADD coding structure

Australian Drainage Divisions are allocated a two-digit code based on historic codes and have been retained for ASGS Edition 3. This is prefixed by a D which enables unique identification across the country and differentiates them from other ABS codes, as shown below.

While codes and names are unchanged, boundary changes have occurred. A geographic correspondence file enabling the translation of data from ASGS 2016 to ASGS Edition 3 is available in the access and downloads section of this publication.

ADD code

ADD name


Carpentaria Coast


Lake Eyre Basin


Murray-Darling Basin


North East Coast


Unclassified (Aust.)


No usual address (Aust.)


Migratory - Offshore - Shipping (Aust.)


Outside Australia

Non-spatial special purpose codes are included as balancing items. Mesh Blocks allocated to these codes are not part of any legally designated drainage division.

  • D94 is reserved for those States or Territories where people are coded to the No usual address Mesh Blocks.
  • D97 is reserved for States or Territories that have Migratory, Offshore and Shipping Mesh Blocks.
  • DZZ is reserved for cases where people are coded to Outside Australia.

Further information can be found in the special purpose codes section of this publication.

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