Postcodes in Australia

Postcodes in Australia

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 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 Melbourne's alphanumeric codes (e.g., "N3", "E5") and a similar system once used in rural and regional New South Wales.


Australian Postcodes are four digits long, and written after the name of the city, suburb, or town, and the state or territory: [ [,1467,CH2092%257EMO19,00.html Australia Post, "Addressing Guidelines"] ]

:Mr John Smith:400 Kent Street:SYDNEY NSW 2000


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 Queensland 4352 postcode, or the south-western Victoria 3221 postcode). Some postcodes cover large populations (e.g., postcode 4350 serving some 100,000 people in the City of Toowoomba), while other postcodes have much smaller populations, even in urban areas. The postcodes range from as low as 0200 (for the Australian National University) 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 Australia), while other postcodes are shared by many localities (e.g. 2570 belongs to twenty-two towns and suburbs around Camden, New South Wales).

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 Parramatta 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 Hospital 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.


tates and territories

The first one or two digits generally denotes the state or territory that the postcode belongs to: [Australia Post, "Postcodes". Issue No. 30, November 2006]

State/TerritoryAbbreviationPostcode range
New South WalesNSW1000—1999 "(LVRs and PO Boxes only)"
Australian Capital Territory ACT0200—0299 "(LVRs and PO Boxes only)"
Victoria VIC3000—3999
8000—8999 "(LVRs and PO Boxes only)
9000—9999 "(LVRs and PO Boxes only)"
South AustraliaSA5000—5799
5800—5999 "(LVRs and PO Boxes only)"
Western AustraliaWA6000—6797
6800—6999 "(LVRs and PO Boxes only)"
7800—7999 "(LVRs and PO Boxes only)"
Northern TerritoryNT0800—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:

PostcodeSuburbState Derived from Postcode RangesActual State for this Suburb
2540HMAS CRESWELLNSWJervis Bay Territory
2540JERVIS BAYNSWJervis Bay Territory

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 Territory, 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:

External territoryPostal statePostcode
Norfolk IslandNSW2899
Christmas IslandWA6798
Cocos (Keeling) IslandsWA6799

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

Antarctic basePostal state"'Postcode
Casey StationTAS7151
Davis StationTAS7151
Mawson StationTAS7151

tate 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):

CityState/TerritoryStreet AddressGPO Box Address

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 Coast 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 Wales has the postcode 2750 and Petrie, Queensland 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:

TownPostcodeDistance from Central Station [Bozier, Rolfe. [ "North Coast Line",] ]
Coffs Harbour2450607km

Major towns and cities

Major towns and cities tend to have "0" as the last digit or last two digits, e.g. Rockhampton, Queensland has the postcode 4700 and Ballarat, Victoria has the postcode 3350. There are exceptions; for instance, the major town of Ipswich, Queensland has the postcode 4305, while Goodna, 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 the 1990s.

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 Sydney. The bus stop number is six digits, the first four being the postcode, plus two extra digits.

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.

ee also

#List of postcodes in the Australian Capital Territory
#List of postcodes in New South Wales
#List of postcodes in Queensland
#List of postcodes in South Australia
#List of postcodes in Tasmania
#List of postcodes in Victoria
#List of postcodes in Western Australia
#List of postcodes in the Northern Territory


External links

* [ Australia Post: Postcode Search]
* [ Australian Postcode Lookup program for your PC]
* [ Australian Postcode Boundary Map (Google API Based)]
* [ Search Australian Postcodes, Cities and Suburbs with Map]

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