Friday, June 05, 2020

Postcodes and ZIP codes

Australia generally uses a four digit postcode. Each state is designated by a different first number and then the last three indicate the area. This gets a bit more complicated in our territories. The ACT generally begins with 26, the 2 being for New South Wales which surrounds the territory. I am imagine it is similar for Jervis Bay. Northern Territory post codes start with 0.

My own post code is 3004, 3 for Victoria and as I am close to the city, my post code is not far off the Melbourne postcode 3000. Mine denotes St Kilda Road Central and the parallel Queens Road in Melbourne. The capital city post codes generally end in the first number for the state followed by three zeros.

US ZIP Codes work in a similar manner I think. I once had to use a US ZIP Code for some reason in the early days of the internet, and the only one I knew without checking was 90210. Who of my age doesn't know why I would know that?

Japanese postcodes are quite complex. Here is an example. 020-0867. I expect the code is loaded with information, and need to be as street numbers are not necessarily sequential.

English postcodes are very specific. They take you right to the street and to which side of the street you live. Taxi drivers ask for you postcode to take you to your home. At some point, I can't remember, they will ask for the street number, but with often complex street arrangements, it is very helpful for them to know what side of the street you want to be delivered. Here is an English postcode example, NE15 6RL. NE would denote the north east of England, the rest, I wouldn't have a clue.

What is your postcode style where you live and how much does it tell about where you live?



44 comments:

  1. Canadian postal codes are alpha-numeric, like the English but with six places, in the format A1A 1A1. It's a pain when you're a typist because the letters are capitalized while numbers do not require use of the Shift key, so you must alternate Shift and not Shift. The precision of a postal code depends on where you live. In our town, many small streets have their own unique postal code, while in large urban areas and in rural areas the code covers far more addresses. So, for instance, if you knew my postal code you could narrow my residence down to one of a half a dozen, but in the country or in a major city a code would cover many homes. Interesting post, Andrew. It's a topic I suspect most people don't think about very often. It's intriguing that taxi drivers can use the postal information to help them deliver people more easily.

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    1. I use capslock when doing alpha-numeric, the letters capitalise but the numbers stay the same.

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    2. Jenny, thanks. Interesting that your postal codes can be quite specific or not. Yes, alternating with the Caps is a pain, which is why I don't use quotation marks when quoting someone. It wasn't something I thought about much until the last time we were in England and I learnt that their posts codes are very specific.

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    3. River, quite so, but was it always the case?

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    4. River, thank you - I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know this trick and I'm typing every day! You CAN teach an old dog new tricks :)

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  2. Our post codes started at 26** but have gone a long way past that.
    I was told (and have no idea of its accuracy) that street numbers in India relate to when the house was built and not the its position in the street which would add an extra level of complexity in finding a house you were not familiar with.
    I hadn't realised that taxi drivers used postcodes. I have never been asked for mine on a taxi trip.

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    1. EC, so your area has grown a lot then. I think Japan is similar to India. Taxi drivers using post codes is an English thing, because they are so specific with locations.

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  3. interesting Poland uses five digit postcode my code is 41-907

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    1. Yes Gosia. So I discovered when I sent you that large cheque...you did receive it didn't you?

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  4. Also, many London postcodes don't make any sense. As in, one minute you're in N21 and just two or three miles away you're in N9 or N18. I taught in a school in Kilburn last autumn and at some point I realised I was cycling down W9, with NW5 to my right and heading to NW6. :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Cuban, you are doing my head in, but I am sure if I was a London taxi driver I would understand.

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  5. There is no excuse for getting lost, then...or forgetting where you live! :)

    My post code reminds me I live on this mountain...this plateau...and reminds others, including the postal service!

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    1. Lee, so long as you can remember what your post code is and if drunk, you may not. Where Sister lives, some pretentiously drive around with their post code on a bumper sticker. Area wise is a tiny postal code area.

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    2. I very rarely drink alcohol, Andrew...I had two glasses of wine on Australia Day afternoon...and I certainly didn't get drunk on two glasses of wine! So I have no trouble finding my way home...forgotten post code or not.

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  6. I think ours are the simplest.

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    1. Diane, yes, but not the most useful.

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  7. Now you got me wonder what happen with post codes or zip, when a town is no longer. I can think a few around here.

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    1. Dora, I suppose they just remain. I don't know if they could moved to another growing area.

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  8. 3161.

    I remember when our postcodes first arrived in 1967, changed by Australia Post. Until then Melbourne used letter and number codes; mine was SE14. My family always lived in the South Eastern Suburbs!

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    1. Hels, 1967 it would have still been the Pig's Meat and Gravy department? We did have as you say and old codes could still be seen on some street signs until quite recently.

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  9. Postcodes in the UK don't usually denote regions, I suspect that NE is actually Newcastle; although I'm not sure. My house in Brighton starts BN1, which of course means it's in the No 1 area of Brighton. What else!

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    1. Cro, yes as I discovered later and I was too lazy to edit. It covers Newcastle, Gateshead and some other nearby areas.

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  10. Here in Adelaide a single postcode can cover several suburbs all close together, I imagine it is the same in any other large Australian city. Smaller cities like Port Pirie or Murray Bridge have a single post code for the whole township area. I don't think isolated areas such as sheep and cattle stations have any postcodes.

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    1. Yes River, it is the same here in some areas. Our inner suburbs are fairly specific though. I suppose without a postal service in the outback, post codes may not be required. An interesting point.

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  11. Anonymous5:59 pm

    If you have a Centrelink number in Australia, the first number of it will be the same as the first number of the postcode that relates to the State in which you first were issued the Centrelink number. Eg, if you were issued your Centrelink number in Queensland, it will start with a 4. And the number itself will align with the LETTER at the end of the number, there is a very long way to work that out manually.

    I really wish I could delete some of the pointless stuff I know.

    Cheers

    Marie in Perth

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    1. Marie, not at all. That is very interesting and I had no idea. Please retain such information and educate us.

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  12. Cro is correct. UK postcodes designate an area around a town or city, sometimes quite a large area: NE Newcastle, LS Leeds, LE Leicester, DN Doncaster. Also not necessarily the side of the street - my own refers to a section that includes both sides. Sorry to be so nerdy.

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    1. Actually I quite like being nerdy.

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  13. Five numbers as you said, though in my part of the United States it begins with a 4 instead of a 5. I think it tells you that you live in the Great Lakes Region or something like that. Yet to be made into a TV series.

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    1. Oblique reference to the tv show. Nice work Kirk.

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  14. I remember the 90210 series too :)
    I always found the English codes quite baffling, but now that you explain how they work, it might make sense...
    In Portugal the codes were composed of 4 numbers until 1998, then 3 extra numbers were added, separated by an hyphen and those indicate parish, county, etc.

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    1. Sami, did you know that perhaps on the title to your home, there will be a parish and county probably listed? This is as I saw on my Mother's home title deeds.

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  15. Interesting post.
    Our postcode begins with 72 and two other numbers and it denotes the area in which we live including the city.

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    1. Yep Margaret. I know your state's capital will be 7000. I just checked our friend in your town's address and it begins with 72. I wonder who got 7100?

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  16. In the USA, the first two digits are the state, then the next three denote the local post office, then there is a plus four digits, that has never really caught on except for commercial mailers, that specify the delivery route or box number.

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    1. Thanks Travel. I aside from the first numeral, I don't really know what the next three numbers of our postcodes tell us.

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  17. In WA the postcode begins with 60, Perth City is 6000, which means that if the suburbs keep spreading out as they are, my postcode will probably be considered inner city 😉

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    1. Grace, it is interesting how what were once middle suburbs are now considered inner suburbs and once rural areas are now suburbs.

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  18. My Zip Code is specific to my town, with a -**** for my Post Office Box. Quite splendid system really.

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    1. Ok Maribeth. So the last digits are your actual post box number?

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  19. Saw this post just the other day, and since it's right up my proverbial alley (I don't work for the postal service, I'm just an abyss of trivia) I thought I'd comment tardily. Hate to contradict my adorable husband TravelPenguin (above) but he didn't get it quite right. First, the Zipcodes are actually routing codes for post offices; they seldom refer to a specific delivery address. The US is divided into 10 large regions, designated by the first digit, 0-9. The next 2 digits refer to the regional sorting center within that region, of which there can be up to 100, 00-99. The next 2 digits refer to a specific local post office within that region, of which there can be up to 100, 00-99. The local PO then delivers according to the street address, which is not part of the Zipcode. So 1-large region > 14-sorting center > 57-local post office = 11457. There can be an additional 4-letter suffix, which is required for bulk mail and packages. These can refer to a specific delivery route of the local post office, a large office building or place that handles very large amounts of mail, or a PO box at the local post office, and the numbers in the suffix indicate what type of destination that is. This, quite likely, much more than anyone ever wanted to know.

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    1. Thanks WH. You made it clearer and while not as specific as English postcodes, yours inform much better than our own.

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  20. My pleasure, I assure you!

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