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Postcodes in Australia: Map

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Australian postcodes have four digits; envelopes for posting within Australia reflect this.


Postcodes are used in Australia for the purposes of sorting and directing mail. All postcodes in Australia consist of four numbers and are placed at the end of the address. Australian postcodes are allocated and managed by Australia Post.

Postcodes are published in small booklets available from post offices, and also in the white pages of telephone directories.

On envelopes and postcards there are usually four rectangular boxes printed in orange ink at the bottom right for the postal code digits.

History

Postcodes were introduced in Australia in 1967 by the Postmaster-General's Department (PMG), the predecessor of Australia Post. They replaced earlier postal sorting systems, such as Melbournemarker's alphanumeric codes (e.g., N3, E5) and a similar system once used in rural and regional New South Walesmarker.

For a history of the PMG / Australia Post see here.

Format

Australian Postcodes are four digits long, and written after the name of the city, suburb, or town, and the state or territory:

Mr John Smith
400 Kent Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000


Geography

Australian postcodes are routing information, and while they are often associated with a single bounded geographical area (e.g. suburb or town) they are not always contiguous areas. They sometimes have quite complex geography, especially in areas beyond the urban fringe (e.g. the southern Queenslandmarker 4352 postcode). The south-western Victoriamarker 3221 postcode of the Geelongmarker Mail Centre also includes twenty sparsely-populated localities around Geelong signifying that mail for these places is not fully sorted until received at Geelong. Some postcodes cover large populations (e.g., postcode 4350 serving some 100,000 people in the City of Toowoombamarker), while other postcodes have much smaller populations, even in urban areas. The postcodes range from as low as 0200 (for the Australian National Universitymarker) to 9729 (mail addressed to the Gold Coast City Council).

Some postcodes are associated with a single town or suburb (e.g. 6160 belongs only to Fremantle, Western Australiamarker), while other postcodes are shared by many localities (e.g. 2570 belongs to twenty-two towns and suburbs around Camden, New South Walesmarker).

Some towns and suburbs have two postcodes—one for street deliveries and one for post office boxes. For instance, a street address in the Sydney suburb of Parramattamarker would be written thus:

Mr John Smith
99 George Street
PARRAMATTA NSW 2150


But mail sent to a PO Box in Parramatta would be addressed:

Mr John Smith
PO Box 99
PARRAMATTA NSW 2124


Many corporations, government departments and other institutions receive large volumes of mail, and are entitled to their own postcode as a Large Volume Receiver (LVR), e.g. the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospitalmarker has the postcode 4029. More postcode ranges were made available for LVRs in the 1990s, though LVRs do not necessarily use postcodes in these new ranges.

Allocation

States and territories

The first one or two digits generally denotes the state or territory that the postcode belongs to:

New South WalesmarkerAustralian Capital TerritorymarkerACTVictoriamarkerVICQueenslandmarkerSouth AustraliamarkerWestern AustraliamarkerTasmaniamarkerNorthern Territorymarker
State/Territory Abbreviation Postcode range
NSW 1000—1999 (LVRs and PO Boxes only)
2000—2599
2619—2898
2921—2999
0200—0299 (LVRs and PO Boxes only)
2600—2618
2900—2920
3000—3999
8000—8999 (LVRs and PO Boxes only)
QLD 4000—4999
9000—9999 (LVRs and PO Boxes only)
SA 5000—5799
5800—5999 (LVRs and PO Boxes only)
WA 6000—6797
6800—6999 (LVRs and PO Boxes only)
TAS 7000—7799
7800—7999 (LVRs and PO Boxes only)
NT 0800—0899
0900—0999 (LVRs and PO Boxes only)


Some exceptions to these postcode ranges occur in the vicinity of state and territory borders, where Australia Post finds it more convenient to direct mail through a nearby post office that is across the border:

Postcode Suburb State Derived from Postcode Ranges Actual State for this Suburb
0872 ERNABELLA NT SA
0872 FREGON NT SA
0872 INDULKANA NT SA
0872 MIMILI NT SA
0872 NGAANYATJARRA-GILES NT SA
0872 FGIBSON DESERT NORTH NT WA
0872 FGIBSON DESERT SOUTH NT WA
2540 HMAS CRESWELL NSW Jervis Bay Territorymarker
2540 JERVIS BAY NSW Jervis Bay Territorymarker
2611 BRINDABELLA ACT NSW
2611 URIARRA ACT NSW
2620 HUME NSW ACT
2620 KOWEN FOREST NSW ACT
2620 OAKS ESTATE NSW ACT
2620 THARWA NSW ACT
2620 TOP NAAS NSW ACT
3500 PARINGI VIC NSW
3585 MURRAY DOWNS VIC NSW
3586 MALLAN VIC NSW
3644 BAROOGA VIC NSW
3644 LALALTY VIC NSW
3707 BRINGENBRONG VIC NSW


Some or all of the postcodes above may span two states. For example postcode 2620 covers both a suburb in NSW (Gundaroo) as well as a suburb in the ACT (Hume) - the postcode is within the ACT range.

Jervis Bay Territorymarker, previously an exclave of the ACT but now a separate territory, is geographically located on the coast of NSW, just south of the towns of Vincentia and Huskisson, with which it shares a postcode. Mail to the Jervis Bay Territory is still addressed to the ACT.

The digits used to denote the state on each radio callsign in Australia is the same digit as the first digit for postcodes in that state, e.g. 2xx in New South Wales, 3xx in Victoria, etc. Radio callsigns pre-date postcodes in Australia by more than forty years.

External territories

Australia's external territories are also included in Australia Post's postcode system. While these territories do not belong to any state, they are addressed as such for mail routing purposes:

Norfolk IslandmarkerChristmas IslandmarkerCocos Islandsmarker
External territory Postal state Postcode
NSW 2899 WA 6798 WA 6799


Three scientific bases in Antarctica operated by the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions share a postcode with the isolated sub-Antarctic island of Macquarie Islandmarker (part of Tasmania):

Casey StationmarkerDavis StationmarkerMawson Stationmarker
Antarctic base Postal state Postcode
TAS 7151 TAS 7151 TAS 7151


State and territory capital cities

Each state or territory's capital city ends with two zeroes or three zeroes. Capital city postcodes were the lowest postcodes in their state or territory range, before new ranges for LVRs and PO Boxes were made available in more recent times. The last digit can usually be changed from "0" to "1" to obtain the postcode for General Post Office boxes in any capital city (though Perth now uses a different range of postcodes for its GPO Boxes):

Tas
City State/Territory Street Address GPO Box Address
Sydneymarker NSW 2000 2001
Canberramarker ACT 2600 2601
Melbournemarker Vic 3000 3001
Brisbanemarker Qld 4000 4001
Adelaidemarker SA 5000 5001
Perthmarker WA 6000 6837—6848
Hobartmarker
7000 7001
Darwinmarker NT 0800 0801


Allocation within states

While the first digit of a postcode usually indicates the state or territory, the second digit usually denotes a region within the state. However, postcodes with the same second digit do not always form to a geographically contiguous area. As an example, postcodes in the range 2200—2299 are split between the southern suburbs of Sydney and the Central Coastmarker of New South Wales.

Postcodes with a second digit of "0" or "1" are almost always located within the metropolitan area of the state's capital city. Postcodes with higher second digits are usually located in rural and regional areas. Common exceptions are where towns were considered rural when postcodes were first introduced in 1967, but have since been suburbanised and incorporated into metropolitan areas, e.g. Penrith, New South Walesmarker has the postcode 2750 and Petrie, Queenslandmarker has the postcode 4502.

Within each region with the same second digit, postcodes tend to increase the further one travels from the state's capital city along major highways and railways. For instance, heading north on the North Coast railway in New South Wales away from Sydney:

Town Postcode Distance from Central Stationmarker
Dungogmarker 2420 245km
Tareemarker 2430 378km
Kempseymarker 2440 503km
Coffs Harbourmarker 2450 607km
Graftonmarker 2460 695km
Casinomarker 2470 805km


Major towns and cities

Major towns and cities tend to have "0" as the last digit or last two digits, e.g. Rockhampton, Queenslandmarker has the postcode 4700 and Ballarat, Victoriamarker has the postcode 3350. There are exceptions; for instance, the major town of Ipswich, Queenslandmarker has the postcode 4305, while Goodnamarker, a relatively unimportant suburb of Ipswich, is allocated 4300.

Postcode Squares

Post Office Preferred envelopes sold in Australia contain four squares in the bottom right corner of the front of the envelope. These squares, referred to by Australia Post as Postcode Squares, contain the destination postcode for hand-addressed mail. This is for the purpose of Australia Post's automated mail-sorting equipment, which uses optical character recognition software. Postcode Squares were introduced in 1990.

Australia Post recommends that Postcode Squares should not be used for machine-addressed mail, or mail destined overseas.

Other uses

Since their introduction, many organisations other than Australia Post have used postcodes in their operations. Insurance companies often use postcodes when calculating car and house insurance premiums. The NSW Ministry of Transport uses postcodes to assign specific numbers for each bus stop in Greater Sydneymarker. The stop number is five to seven digits: the first four being the postcode, with the remainder identifying the specific stop (sometimes written with a space in between, eg. "2000 108"). Many companies that produce metropolitan street directories also list the postcodes for each suburb, both in indexes on the maps themselves.

Mechanised sorting

To improve the efficiency of mechanised sorting, each address now has a sorting number which is printed on the letter as an orange coloured barcode. This number might be 12 digits long. This system enables the delivery officer to place items in delivery order.

See also

  1. List of postcodes in the Australian Capital Territory
  2. List of postcodes in New South Wales
  3. List of postcodes in Queensland
  4. List of postcodes in South Australia
  5. List of postcodes in Tasmania
  6. List of postcodes in Victoria
  7. List of postcodes in Western Australia
  8. List of postcodes in the Northern Territory


Notes

  1. Australia Post, Addressing Guidelines
  2. Australia Post, Postcodes. Issue No. 30, November 2006
  3. Bozier, Rolfe. North Coast Line, NSWrail.net


External links




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