Talk:List of cities in Australia

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The list should use the full names of the Australian states, rather than abbreviations. -- Mic

Would it be too much to ask to put a list of cities here, rather than a list of cities, towns and suburbs? -- Tim Starling 01:19, Feb 2, 2004 (UTC)

  • I think cities only, as the title suggests, is fair. Do we list city councils or major metropolitan areas? My suggestion is the latter. --Chuq 01:41, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • I think the way to go would be to list major cities only, with side articles like List of localities (Victoria) (or similar to List of Sydney suburbs) to go into more depth about suburbs / smaller cities. Otherwise, if we list every suburb and city, imagine how large this list is bound to grow - AJ.


Is there a reason that Warrnambool is not listed as a city in Victoria?

In fact, there is a category Victorian cities that has quite a few more places than this page.

Newcastle / Gold Coast[edit]

I posted a link to this page on a forum to sort out a discussion about the relative populations of Newcastle and the Gold Coast. I received a reply from someone who checked out the articles on the cities themselves, and found conflicting information. What official source should we use for populations (ABS census stats, ABS estimates..?) We should try to update all related population figures each time new figures come out. -- Chuq 04:12, 3 September 2005 (UTC)

Number of inhabitants[edit]

Surely, a place with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants can scarcely be called a city.preceding unsigned comment by (talk • contribs) 03:23, 15 December 2005 (UTC+11 hours )

Population of Sydney[edit]

Although the listed population of Sydney does not match that given as the headline figure for the Sydney metropolitan area by the ABS source, that headline figure includes the population of the Central Coast (which is listed as a separate city on the list). Realistically this population should not be counted twice. If you check, the metropolitan area total minus the Central Coast total gives the figure listed in the table. 10:06, 20 December 2005 (UTC)

Latrobe valley?[edit]

why is the latrobe valley on this list, it is a council with 3 seperate major towns; Morwell, Traralgon and Moe.

Deletion of Logan[edit]

The other night I added Logan to the list of cities. In terms of population, it is the twelfth largest and should be input between Hobart and Geelong. See Special Case LGA Codes at the bottom of DB 11:46, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

This is a list of city populations as defined by the ABS, not populations of Local Government Areas. Logan LGA is part of the Brisbane Statistical Division, the population of which is given as a whole. Similarly, the list does not give the populations of Blacktown in Sydney (~200,000) or Lake Macquarie (~160,000), counted as part of Newcastle, for example. - Randwicked Alex B 12:42, 30 January 2006 (UTC)
If it is the case that a "city" is defined by the statistical division, why is it that Tweed is connected to Gold Coast. This is clearly incorrect as Tweed is part of the Richmond-Tweed Statisitcal division. 10:22, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
Because at some point this was a list of urban areas, which counts the contiguous Gold Coast and Tweed Heads as one urban area. The list eventually got replaced with figures for the SDs and SLAs, but no-one bothered to change the names. - Randwicked Alex B 10:43, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
That is ridiculous reasoning. Tweed is situated in an entirely separate state jurisdiction. Can you please quote your ABS sources. 11:09, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Excuse me? 'Ridiculous reasoning'? It's God's own truth of what happened. But here's your link seeing you asked so nicely: Gold Coast-Tweed Heads, regarded as a single Urban Centre/Locality. - Randwicked Alex B 11:50, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes ridiculous reasoning. That data is dated 2001. It is out of date. This article is a joke. 11:20, 3 February 2006 (UTC)
A joke? How so? - Randwicked Alex B 06:59, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
  • We have the same problem with Albury-Wodonga - it is a concept but made up of two cities separated by a state border and goverened separattely. Perhaps we need ot agree what is a city and then work onwards. Nobody I believe would say Albury-Wodonga is an Australian city but perhaps I am wrong.--A Y Arktos 07:59, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
  • The data on this list needs to be clearly defined and altered to reflect the data is is presenting. For example, if this is a list of top level statistical district populations, then Central Coast should be included in Sydney, but from some odd reason it is listed on its own.--nixie 03:59, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
  • The problem also occured with Canberra-Queanbeyan. Someone deleted Queanbeyan and thankfully subtracted it's population from Canberra but was not thoughtful enough to place Queanbeyan on the list seperately- it's 41st.

List by population[edit]

The ABS presents three separate figures for most cities: The LGA population, the urban area population and the statistical division/district population (which is basically the metropolitan area figure). We only have one list at the moment, and as we haven't defined which figures we are using, it appears to have collected examples of all three. I propose the best solution is to have three lists, of the twenty biggest LGAs, urban areas and SDs respectively, with proper definitions according to the ABS given. - Randwicked Alex B 09:40, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

I will start with a list of the 50 biggest Urban Centres then (a nice round number), the latest figures for which are from the 2001 census. - Randwicked Alex B 13:09, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
I've completed two of the three lists; the LGA list will have to wait until tomorrow. If anyone has any questions about the definitions feel free to contact me. - Randwicked Alex B 15:50, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
  • You are doing a great job - thanks :-)A Y Arktos 18:57, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
  • The section purported to represent 2005 estimate doesn't match the data on the ABS web site. Are numbers still pending revision? Garglebutt / (talk) 00:24, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Looking at the PDF I used, it is from February 2005. It's possible they have released revised figures, I just used a copy already on my HD. I will take a look at the new figures. - Randwicked Alex B 02:51, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
I checked, the figures for SDs match those in the relevant pdf [1]. Are you looking at the LGA figures instead? - Randwicked Alex B 02:57, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
The link on the first table goes here[2] which appears to be 2005 LGA data. Garglebutt / (talk) 03:19, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
That's the top page for the data set. The full pdf is available under the second tab. Maybe it should link straight to that tab (but not to the PDF itself...I hate that). - Randwicked Alex B 03:41, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Ah ok, so the last table hasn't been revised to 2005 yet which is where I got a bit lost. Garglebutt / (talk) 04:01, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Glad you like it. Now that the list is complete, perhaps it can be split off into a separate article List of cities in Australia by population as is done for other countries. This would de-clutter this page and allow us to concentrate on solving the problem of definition for this list and tidy up the rest of it. - Randwicked Alex B 16:52, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Moved the list to List of cities in Australia by population. - Randwicked Alex B 07:43, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

What is included on this list?[edit]

How is a city defined on this list? GSTQ took out some satellite LGAs which are cities in their own right, and removed some other LGAs which are also cities, yet left in some places, like Nowra in NSW, which is not a city in its own right but is the main centre of an LGA city, Shoalhaven. I propose we include all LGA cities in here that are not in the capital city, or else someone propose some verifiable and attributable way of including a city as defined in Australia. JRG 13:03, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

JRG is quite right that since the relatively recent LGA reorganizations in N.S.W. & Victoria there has been a problem dictating what makes a city in these two states. I have reverted the list to my latest edition because JRG's edition left the N.S.W. list inconsistent with Victoria's. I disagree with JRG's assertion that Nowra is not a city in its own right. Nowra had a city council before the amalgamations: therefore it has been gazetted as a city. Whether the establishment of Shoalhaven Council implicitly revokes Nowra's city status is rather conjectural and would probably be original research if we tried to come to a conclusion on Wikipedia. But one thing is clear: throughout Wikipedia, lists of cities are predicated not on areas presided over by councils, but by localities. "Shoalhaven" has no postcode or recognizable centre. It is a deliberately vague name chosen for political reasons. The article on Shoalhaven is analogous to the Rural City of Wangaratta, City of Bunbury or Port Pirie Regional Council articles, rather than the Wangaratta, Bunbury and Port Pirie articles (just to give a few examples), which it should be if it were to be consistent with the rest of the list. City status may depend upon a local council having been given the name "city" in the past. But the city consists of the locality, not the council.GSTQ 03:53, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Why don't we just include the LGAs where they are not a city already in their own right? JRG 06:17, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't really understand what you're saying. Use an example. But if you're saying let's include Shoalhaven because Nowra is not a city in its own right, then you're ignoring the locality basis for cities and also ignoring the fact that Nowra is a city in its own right. If we're going to say Nowra is not a city any more now it hasn't got its own city council then we'd better remove Armidale, Bathurst, Goulburn, Grafton and Tamworth from the list too, which seems absurd.GSTQ 21:51, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Let's include both - the Council cities and the locality cities. Nowra is part of the City of Shoalhaven now and should be listed under that. Grafton, and the others are all cities in their own right. If we don't include all of these, then the list becomes an arbitrary definition of what is and isn't a city. JRG 00:35, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't quite understand your comparison. Nowra is a city in the geographical sense, that is part of the LGA called the City of Shoalhaven. Grafton is a city in the same geographical sense, and is part of the LGA called Clarence Valley. In both cases the LGA is much larger than the city, but one LGA has a name including the word "city" and the other doesn't (probably due to the proportion of the area that is urban). Yes, there are (at least) two notions of city here. One is the notion that the GNB uses, which is a town or centre of population rather than a LGA, although legal status is taken into account. Following the GNB's classification could hardly be described as arbitrary. The other notion is that of an LGA with "city" in the name. These days, the use of "city" in LGA names is becoming less and less related to the actual nature of the LGA, let alone the geographical notion of a city, but even if it were still relevant, there would be nothing wrong with restricting this list to GNB's notion of city, especially since LGAs are listed elsewhere anyway. JPD (talk) 13:03, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with JPD. This is meant to be a list of cities, not L.G.A's called cities. The peculiar New South Welsh government's use of the word "city" for certain councils reflects neither the use of the word by any New South Welshmen nor the use of the word elsewhere in the world, or elsewhere in Wikipedia. Perhaps some disambiguation is warranted, but surely not an inclusion of all L.G.A's called cities in this particular list. As for the Blue Mountains being included in New South Wales' list, there may very well be an L.G.A. called City of Blue Mountains, but the Blue Mountains article starts off as follows: "The Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, are situated approximately 100 kilometres west of Sydney. They are a range of sandstone geological structures that reach to at least 1190 metres AHD (in the Lithgow area). The Blue Mountains are not as the name suggests a range of mountains but rather a series of cliffs surrounding a plateau with rugged eroded gorges of up to 760 metres depth..." No mention of their being a locality there, let alone a city. Yes, it does mention the municipality further down, but that's not what the article is about.GSTQ 23:44, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
I have removed the LGA list, for reasons I describe above. LGAs are listed elsewhere, and not only is there no reason not to restrict this list to the geographical sense, it is what has been done with the other states. If this isn't clear enough, some explanatory text should be added to the top of the list (not just the top of the NSW section). JPD (talk) 13:49, 25 April 2007 (UTC)
I didn't agree with you, JPD, so I did a bit of searching - turns out that the legal classification of a city in New South Wales has been defined (since 1993) by Local Government Areas only - you can't have towns declared as cities in NSW anymore. As the Geographical Names Board still recognises those cities declared before the change took place, NSW essentially has two lists, and both of them are useful. For this reason, we should keep both of them there. I've added a bit of info at the beginning defining why we have both lists there. I hope that is sufficient. JRG 06:27, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I think we all agree that there are two lists of "cities", both of which are useful. The question is whether it is useful and sensible to have both lists on this page. My claim is that this list is intended to cover the geographical idea of a city. LGAs are covered in separate lists, and to include them here for NSW but not other states where a similar dichotomy exists is just silly.

Why should LGA cities be included as well as geographical cities? They are quite different things. The best argument for their inclusion is the claim you included in the article that "only Local Government Areas in New South Wales can be declared as "cities" by the Government, under the Local Government Act 1993". Unfortunately, while this was stated by the minister in 1993, it is not strictly true. The Local Government Act 1993 only allows LGAs to be proclaimed as cities, because it doesn't say anything at all about anything that is not a LGA. It may be true that there are now no other legislative provisions for declarations that something is a city, but even then it is not clear that it is relevant to this issue.

I am not sure what the other references are meant to prove. The Shellharbour one shows that a member of parliament argued that similar criteria for a city be used, not that subsequent proclamations recognised the old guidleines. The Hastings reference shows that a minister was still using the old guidelines even when they were no longer in the act. The GNB extract allows us to observe that all the cities proclaimed pre 1993 are still listed as such by the GNB, not that they have such a policy. If we are to consider the usefulness of the GNB classification, maybe we should look at their definitions, not just observe the results. They say a city is

A centre of population, commerce, and culture with all essential services; a town of significant size and importance, generally accorded the legal right to call itself a city under, either, the Local Government Act, the Crown Lands Act or other instruments put in place by Government.

Notice that the legal right to call itself a city is not strictly necessary, anyway, so the ability of the government to proclaim cities is irrelevant. So, what do we lose by restricting this to geographical, rather than legal, cities (as originally intended), and stating at the top of the page (so as to include SA, Vic, for example) that this is what the list covers, that "city" in Australia can aso be used to refer to LGAs which may or may not correspond to a geographical city, and are listed elsewhere? JPD (talk) 10:04, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree with JPD and GSTQ here. JRG seems to be confusing notions of 'city'.--cj | talk 13:50, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
How am I confusing notions of city? The only true definition is the legislative one, not some vague notion that we've made up. City status is different everywhere in the world. NSW's may be in a mess, but that isn't my fault - we should stick to what is accurate. If I'm wrong, find a source and prove it and I'll relent, but this is what we have. JRG 13:54, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
JPD, I don't want to because it would be inaccurate: NSW has had several cities proclaimed since the passing of that legislation, and had that Act not been passed we would have had a lot more "urban cities" as such. There is no criteria for geographical cities in NSW any more, and to make one up apart from those already proclaimed as such isn't very good - we're defining ourselves by a non-existent criteria. If I'm wrong on the LGA thing I'm happy to change it back, but cities are normally proclaimed by the Crown, and there's no provision in legislation to do so in NSW apart from the LGA. (Yes, the Governor or the Queen could do it off her own back, but that would be very unlikely.) You might like to find the explanatory memoranda for previous versions of the LGA - that should tell you when and why it was changed. I have definitely heard or read the sort of thing I was researching on the article page before, but they are the best sources I can find at present. JRG 13:54, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
It is not inaccurate if the definitions used are spelt out at the beginning of the list, as they really should be in any Wikipedia list anyway. At any rate, the only true definition is not the legislative one. The Macquarie Dictionary lists several definitions, some of which include LGAs such as Parramatta and Nunawading (we can't include one without the other, as you have done!), and some of which specify that it refers to a town or urban area. You may have a point that the 93 legislation stopped the proclamation of more cities, but I don't think it is that simple, as the distinction between LGAs designated cities and towns recognised as cities by the GNB seems to date from before then (e.g. Greater Taree formed in 1981). Whether that is correct or not, we would definitely not be making up the notion or using non-existant criteria if we used the simply criterion "something recognised by the GNB as a city". They (the geographical authority in NSW) do still have criteria for "geographical cities", which I quoted above, and which do not strictly depend on proclamation and legal right, so the comments about proclamation are not relevant. We may be able to pick flaws in their approach, but it is not our job to clean up the mess. Using their classification is the most appropriate way to go. JPD (talk) 15:18, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


Ok - here's what we could do... how about removing my LGAs list from the page, but putting that into a new article on City status in Australia (like the UK one), with a list on all the different states and how it works (Tasmania, I know, has criteria for a city, for example, determined by legislation.) The urban list can stay, but with the acknowledgement above the list that city status is not determined by geographical area, but the urban city list is acknowledged by the GNB. Suggestions, comments? JRG 14:04, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

A city status article might be appropriate, whether it contains lists or not. I am not sure what you mean by determined by geographical area, but yes, the list here should definitely state what it is based on. JPD (talk) 15:18, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

How about more compact 'Cities of State' footer templates?[edit]

I think they would look more balanced and waste less space if they were more like (code probably could use some tidying--not one of my strengths):

Same four cells, but all side-by-side

Flag of Queensland Cities of Queensland



Bundaberg | Cairns | Caloundra | Charters Towers | Gladstone | Gold Coast | Hervey Bay | Ipswich
Logan | Mackay | Maryborough | Mount Isa | Rockhampton | Thuringowa | Toowoomba | Townsville


Same as above except the first two cells are merged into one

Flag of Queensland Cities of Queensland



Bundaberg | Cairns | Caloundra | Charters Towers | Gladstone | Gold Coast | Hervey Bay | Ipswich
Logan | Mackay | Maryborough | Mount Isa | Rockhampton | Thuringowa | Toowoomba | Townsville


Same as above except the right two cells are merged into one, and text is flush-left

Flag of Queensland Cities of Queensland


Cities: Bundaberg | Cairns | Caloundra | Charters Towers | Gladstone | Gold Coast | Hervey Bay | Ipswich

Logan | Mackay | Maryborough | Mount Isa | Rockhampton | Thuringowa | Toowoomba | Townsville

Instead of:

Flag of Queensland

Cities of Queensland




Bundaberg | Cairns | Caloundra | Charters Towers | Gladstone | Gold Coast | Hervey Bay | Ipswich
Logan | Mackay | Maryborough | Mount Isa | Rockhampton | Thuringowa | Toowoomba | Townsville

Any thots? Preferences between the three suggested alternatives? Seattlenow 23:32, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I like the first option as it meets your intention of a more compact table while keeping Capital: and Brisbane together – options #2 and #3 look 'awkward' and too separated due to line spacing. Also while I'm here... I have added Redcliffe City to the Cities of Queensland template. Redcliffe was proclaimed a city in 1959 when Princess Alexandra visited with a royal charter from The Queen. There is a photo of her "on tour" in Redcliffe here (I did try to find a better citation but couldn't find much quickly, and I am referencing a letter to the August 1, 2007 Redcliffe and Bayside Herald by Peter Russell of Woody Point)... Seo75 02:03, 3 August 2007 (UTC)


Is there a reason why Nowra is included as an urban city? According to the ABS it is a "State Suburb".[3] The Geographical Name Board defines it as a town in the Shoalhaven LGA. [4] I don't see how it could be regarded as a city. --AussieLegend 12:30, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

LGAs are not cities, LGAs are administrative divisions and are treated under the "Local Government Areas of..." templates and articles. The definition of city which was hammered out above acknowledges this situation. Otherwise Perth would have something like 20 "cities", and one would have to call Geraldton "Geraldton-Greenough". The ABS calls *everything* state suburbs under the 2006 revision, so this isn't really much of a guide. I'm assured the UCL data will come out in February. Orderinchaos 16:01, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
There are two problems here: Firstly, that JRG has resisted any attempt to apply this logic to the NSW section, instead wrongly implying that the situation there is vastly different to the rest of the country. Secondly, that it is not clear that Nowra should be included in the list by any criteria, unless at some point is was an LGA "city". It would be much easier to simply list the GNB city records, mentioning the fact that in many states, LGAs are often called "City of...", even when they do not resemble a city in the normal sense of the word. JPD (talk) 16:12, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
LGA's not being cities isn't really the issue. My point was that it's listed in an official register as being a town although I should point out that under NSW legislation Nowra can't be a city and really, you can't ignore the law just because you disagree with it. That point aside, I can't find anything that shows Nowra to be a city, now or in the past. There are a lot of references to it being a town but nothing more. One would think that population has a fair bit to do with it but from what I can determine Nowra (including suburbs) has a population of around 25,000 which really doesn't put it in the city class. That's really just a large town in my opinion.
Regarding Perth, I don't see why it can't be made of separate cities. That's what has happened to Sydney and a lot of other large cities. They start out as a series of unrelated villages which build to a point where they reach city status. Eventually they build so large that they merge into one large city. You can see it happening now with Newcastle. Newcastle is often referred to as Australia's sixth or seventh largest city but in fact the Newcastle that is being talked about is actually the whole Lower Hunter comprising of five separate LGAs, three of which are cities in their own right. Newcastle and Lake Macquarie grew separately and eventually merged and Maitland and Newcastle are getting closer and may eventually join.
Re Perth - the cities of Stirling, Wanneroo, Joondalup, Bayswater, Subiaco, Nedlands, South Perth and Canning were not separate from Perth itself - they were simply divided out from Perth's core as Perth expanded and its own pair of local councils (Perth Road Board and Perth Municipality) could no longer look after them. Orderinchaos 18:32, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
That's different to what has happened in places like Sydney and the Lower Hunter. --AussieLegend 03:11, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I doubt it. Places like Woollahra and Leichhardt and North Sydney would probably have been very similar to the above described situation. Orderinchaos 10:56, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I think we might be on two different tracks here. I was saying that cities often grow up and then merge into one larger city. You said that several cities in Perth were split out from Perth which is different to what I was talking about. --AussieLegend 12:22, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
"The ABS calls *everything* state suburbs under the 2006 revision"
That's not actually true, is it? The ABS defines a lot of cities. That's what the "(C)" means. eg [5][6][7][8][9] There's no (C) for Nowra though.
(That's an LGA called a city - see the LGAxxxxx codes in those links, according to that, the LGA I live in is a city too - but we all know it's part of Perth. We've had this discussion before, several times, in fact. Even Sydney is a "state suburb" on the ABS website. [10]) (fixed link) Orderinchaos 18:16, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
Nowra is not an LGA. The LGA is Shoalhaven. Nowra is simply a "suburb" of it. As for where you live, or where anyone else lives for that matter, even if it's part of a larger city an LGA can be a city in its own right, as has happened in NSW. Just because cities grow together at some stage, that doesn't mean that the smaller cities lose their city status. Regarding Sydney being a state suburb, you probably shouldn't be referring to the 2001 census data now that the 2006 data is available since it's far more current. If you look at the current map of what the ABS calls the state suburb of Sydney[11] you'll see that it actually is just the suburb of Sydney which is a suburb of the Sydney LGA. It's the LGA that is the city.[12] The Sydney LGA is then a "suburb" of the larger city that we call Sydney. --AussieLegend 03:11, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
The link I provided for Sydney is 2006 - and the 2006 data is not in its purest sense "available", the 2001 data will not be redundant for another 4 months yet. If you don't believe me, try finding employment stats *anywhere* in the 2006 data. Also, I hope you're not suggesting that Sydney has a population of 156,000. Orderinchaos 10:56, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I suggest you check again. This link that you provided goes to 2001 Census QuickStats : Sydney (State Suburb).
Fixed - I have two links bookmarked, one for 2001 and one for 2006, and I accidentally highlighted the wrong one. The point I was making was not in any way neutralised by my error, anyway. Orderinchaos 04:03, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
Employment stats for 2006 may not be available but the population data is and yes, the population of the Sydney LGA is 156,000. The population of the entire Sydney metropolis is somewhat different to the LGA population. --AussieLegend 12:22, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
The pegs in the ground placed by bureaucrats have nothing to do with the concept of city. And in the last point, I totally agree - this has been my point all along. Cities are not LGAs, cities are metropolitan areas. Orderinchaos 12:42, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
The pegs you speak of aren't randomly placed. They're placed after quite a deal of investigation so there is a valid basis for their positioning and they do, at least in NSW - I can't speak for other states, reflect the layout of the city. Just as cities aren't LGAs, they're not necessarily metropolitan areas either. For example, we've agreed that the Newcastle metropolitan area covers the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie LGAs but the actual city of Newcastle more closely follows the Newcastle LGA boundary. In fact the LGA boundary was based on the city boundaries. That's why somewhere like Tarro or Beresfield is part of Newcastle rather than Maitland, which is a lot closer. --AussieLegend 14:54, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Actually, they often have far more to do with politics and long-dead-and-buried land grants, if one reads the history. They can't change now to reflect demography because it'd end up years in court with each LGA on both sides of the proposed boundary fighting to the death. Why else would suburbs be sliced in two by LGA boundaries? Orderinchaos 15:12, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Again, I can't really speak about other LGAs but I do know that the Newcastle/Lake Macquarie boundaries are more to do with minimising confusion as much as possible. For the most part the boundary lines are straight, travelling alongside major properties such as Gretley Colliery or along the middle of roads. Some suburbs are cut in two because a silly desire for straight lines. Rankin Park, Kotara South and Adamstown Heights are great examples of that. Still, the split was achieved without causing too much confusion. Between Port Stephens and Maitland we have Woodville split in two simply because the river seemed like a good place for the boundary. --AussieLegend 15:57, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
As for the definition of city that was hammered out, I'm having trouble seeing exactly what was hammered out. Maybe we need the definition in black and white in a big box somewhere.
I should point out that the reason I got here was because somebody had listed Port Stephens Council (my LGA) under Category:Cities in New South Wales and I could not see how that category had been selected. After looking at various articles and sources, including this one, I became confused, especially after seeing Nowra as a city, because Port Stephens seemed to satisfy a lot of the criteria and yet I know it's not a city. Of course, I may be wrong.--AussieLegend 18:12, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Once again, I will point out that the claim (made in the article, as well as here) that under NSW legislation Nowra can't be a city is just plain wrong. The law states that LGAs may be proclaimed cities, but says absolutely nothing about whether anything other than an LGA may be a city in any sense. A more accurate statement would be that there is no legislation regarding city status for anything other than an LGA.

There we get to the point that LGAs are not the cities in the sense intended by this list, and so legal definitions do not really help. The fact is that the normal sense of the word "city" does correspond even vaguely to any current legal definition. The ABS is a bit of a sidetrack in this respect, as whatever their exact criteria are, they also are only labelling LGAs. Anything not incorporated as an LGA is called a state suburb or similar. You make a fair point that Sydney includes places that could be considered cities in their own right, but that is hardly true of every LGA that has the name "city", especially when compared with other LGAs that don't.

There may be an argument that a list of LGA Cities is actually one of the best possible lists of cities, given that all official criteria are a bit of a mess. (This is true even of LGAs, as in practice the government is no longer proclaiming areas other than newly formed areas as cities.) However, this is already dealt with by the LGA lists, so it is worth having this list focus on the more geographic notion. You are probably right that Nowra should not be there, and definitely right about Port Stephens, but it is a mistake to go down the "three of these LGA are cities" route. JPD (talk) 08:54, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Claiming that the claim that under NSW legislation Nowra can't be a city is just plain wrong is wrong itself at least according to the NSW DLG who I spoke to today assuming that they've done their homework on this matter. I was told that the Act provides the authority for various things including proclaiming what becomnes a city. Because there is no legislation providing for proclamation of anything else as a city there is no authority and without authority nothing other than LGAs can be proclaimed a city. I even specifically asked whether, for example, Raymond Terrace could be declared a city if it was large enough and was told "No, the whole LGA would have to be declared a city". I admit it's a stupid situation but that's how it stands at the moment according to the experts.
Now that's out of the way I must say I agree that the geographical definitions seems a more correct way of identifying cities. You might note that I didn't include the City of Cessnock when I earlier mentioned that three of the LGAs in the Lower Hunter were cities in their own right. Cessnock itself has somewhere between <11000 and 15000 people (the ABS data is confusing). It's really only a country town by any standard but has achieved city status. There is obvious inconsistency in declaring LGAs as cities. For example, the Port Stephens LGA is less than half the size of Cessnock and has a much higher population but is still, justifiably IMO, not a city. Of course, if we accept the notion that the geographical definition is appropriate, how does one explain the mix of cities in Template:New South Wales cities? I argue, for example, that neither Cessnock or Nowra should be included but that Campbelltown, Parramatta, Penrith and Lake Macquarie should be. --AussieLegend 12:26, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I was quite careful in what I said. The information you received from the DLG said simply that there is no authority to proclaim anything other than an LGA a city, which is exactly what I said. It may indeed follow that nothing else can be proclaimed as a city, but this simply reflects the fact that in Australia, official city status has always been an attribute of a local government, not a geographical area. This means that now, legislation does not give any authority to call Goulburn a city, but it doesn't mean that we cannot call Goulburn a city. There is no legislation saying what is and isn't a city, just legislation allowing local governments to be given official city status.
More practically, I would argue that the best available option would be to list the current GNB records with status "city". including Cessnock but not Lake Macquarie. This list has its own problems, as it relies mainly on the pre-1993 official government status. However, any alternative involves coming up with our own criteria (original research), or finding some published list or criteria from a geographical source which is widely recognised. I am not aware that such a thing exists. JPD (talk) 13:57, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
Just to throw a spanner in the works, Lake Macquarie was proclaimed a city in 1984, well before 1993. Lake Macquarie isn't in the GNB list because there's no actual place, other than the lake itself, that is called Lake Macquarie and it's a bit hard to call a body of water a city. If you limit the list to the places in the GNB register you'd have to exclude Coffs Harbour [13], Gosford [14], Griffith [15], Lismore [16], Maitland [17] and Nowra [18]. Lismore and Maitland are tricky ones though. Despite their designations as a locality and a suburb respectively, their descriptions call them cities. Unfortunately I don't think we can restrict the definition that way. I really think we have to stick with official designators in order to avoid breaching WP:OR unless we want to cite WP:IGNORE. --AussieLegend 14:49, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, while the pre-1993 official designations do feature heavily in the criteria the GNB in practice use, it is not their only consideration (see their definition in an earlier section). I see no problem with accepting their decision not to list Lake Macquarie as a city, for the reasons you give. (Although it is worth noting that the GNB appears to have judged that the same logic does not apply to the Blue Mountains.) Similarly, I don't see a problem with exluding Coffs, Gosford, Griffith and Nowra, all explicitly described by the GNB as towns as recently as the 90s. Lismore and Maitland could be included if the criterion is that the GNB has described the place as a city in one way or another, creating a list that isn't prefect, but in my opinion is more suitable than a list of LGAs. When it comes down to it, the list should convey information. LGAs are covered elsewhere and do not match the general meaning of the word city anyway. Listing settlements by size could be done elsewhere without using the word "city", which has not historically referred simply to size anyway. The criterion used by the GNB is reasonable, and so it makes sense for this list to convey the information "places considered cities by the GNB". If some other appropriate source is found, it could be used instead or together with this.JPD (talk) 15:55, 3 October 2007 (UTC)
The comparison between Blue Mountains and Lake Macquarie is an interesting one, especially given that Lake Macquarie seems to fit the GNB's own definition of a city. There really should be an entry for Lake Macquarie similar to the one for Blue Mountains[19].--AussieLegend 08:01, 4 October 2007 (UTC)
What about Campbelltown, Penrith and all the Sydney ones? The problem here is that first of all original research is being used (and possibly required no matter what way we go) to derive this information and decide which should or shouldn't be here, and secondly the definitions which apply to NSW don't work anywhere else in Australia and so a level of imbalance is imported into this article which is, after all, not called "List of cities in New South Wales" - and note, too, that 70% of the Australian population live elsewhere, and an international visitor to a page entitled "List of cities in Australia" does not need a treatise on some curious piece of red tape by a state government department in one state that ignores reality (as the Lake Macquarie and Blue Mountains examples, as well as the Cessnock one explained above by AussieLegend, demonstrate). I'm half tempted to suggest removing all NSW cities from this list entirely and having a separate article about it with a link from this one, as one would not be able to compare a city in WA/SA/Qld/VIC/TAS and one in NSW on this basis. Orderinchaos 18:09, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
The lists for each state on this page already use different criteria, don't they? That is, where the criteria are spelt out at all (I suspect most of them involve OR). I agree that the current NSW section needs to be massively simplified, but I think there are really similar problems in Vic, and we will not be able to compare cities in different states unless we discover some new definition somewhere anyway. JPD (talk) 20:54, 6 October 2007 (UTC)
There's no original research with Campbelltown and Penrith. They're both listed by the GNB as being cities. Whether the definitions applied in NSW don't work in other states is really irrelevant because there seems to be no common definition as to what a city is officially. I'll admit, NSW does seem to be a little loose in its definition (eg Cessnock) but OIC has admitted that parts of Perth were split off to become cities so the inconsistencies certainly aren't limited to NSW. I still think we need to specify the criteria for definition of a city, as it applies to this article, at the very top of the article. Different definitions for different states just complicates the aticle and confuses the reader.
But yet both are part of Sydney, and that is not original research either - comes straight from the NSW Government and from the ABS. I did not "admit" anything of the sort - those LGAs are purely administrative entities which happen to have the required minimum number of people, they're well and truly part of Perth (in fact, they're *inner* suburban Perth - there's ones way further out which are still part of the Metropolitan Region Scheme area which everyone seems to agree is Perth). Orderinchaos 11:01, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I didn't say that Campbelltown and Penrith weren't part of Sydney. They are part of the Sydney metropolis but they are also cities in their own right. --AussieLegend 12:22, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
Failure to clearly define the subject of the article is what causes problems with the Newcastle article where most editors seem to treat it as being specifically related to the Newcastle LGA while we've agreed that it refers to the Newcastle metropolitan area and despite that, there are still people incorrectly applying the population figure for the Greater Newcastle area to the article. Lack of a specific definition for a city is also why you get the silly situation of suburbs of the City of Lake Macquarie having the city in their infoboxes specified as being Newcastle when Lake Macquarie is not only a city in its own right but actually has a larger population than Newcastle. If we don't clearly define a city it's only going to get worse. --AussieLegend 04:03, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I only put the section about the legal definition in to stop OR additions to the list - it may be over the top but it (at least in one way) provides some clarity for the situation in one way. If there are other definitions of cities, then we should put them in too, but to this point in time we simply don't have any reliable sources to show what is and what is a city besides what I already have, both of which are government sources and which may seem somewhat inconsistent with one another. I agree wholeheartedly that the other states need updating. I think Tasmania has some straightforward definitions based on population and activities in the centre (I remember reading the Act of Parliament that deals with that sort of thing) but I haven't seen any definitions from other states - I'm willing to be proved wrong on that. What does everyone think is the best way forward on this article? JRG 06:59, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
This isn't a great source, I know, but by comparison I found this page interesting: see here. JRG 07:08, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
This is a helpful source on Tasmania. Note it says "municipal area or part of a municipal area" - so it is different to NSW. JRG 07:40, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
WA is also different - I can't find the act offhand, but our cities (which were defined in or around 1983) are Perth, Mandurah, Bunbury, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie and Albany, and in each case have boundaries differing from any LGA (Bunbury for example contains bits of three neighbouring ones, and Geraldton formerly included bits of one other, but since they merged, it and Albany are both subsets of an LGA). The ABS have followed on directly from our official usage with their statistical local areas and subdivisions. It seems most other states haven't got their act together to quite the same extent. Orderinchaos 10:54, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I think the NSW idea is far more logical than what seems to be the case in WA. It would make no sense for Hexham to be in the Newcastle LGA but be part of the City of Maitland. In NSW we try to minimise border confusion which may not be an issue in WA with a much smaller population spread over a much larger area but in NSW it's critical. --AussieLegend 12:36, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
What about Wyee, then? That's hardly the hallmark of a logical system. Minimising border confusion would mean redrawing the boundaries, but of course there's a lot of politics in that - City of Stirling is perpetually fighting moves by smaller councils at its edges to take bits of its land and population for example. WA's system acknowledges a centre of activity and a metropolitan area which includes a balance of commercial, residential and industrial and has an identity and a consistent planning mechanism (e.g. Bunbury 2000, Metropolitan Region Scheme, etc). This way one doesn't have oodles of red tape or major disagreements every time one wants to get a new idea off the ground - a perfect model for a fast-growing state with a development mentality and an economic growth rate of around 10% per year. In researching and cleaning up the articles over there I noticed this was a big problem in NSW, except in Gosford-Wyong where the two councils seem to cooperate on almost everything. With WA we started with the benefit of hindsight to some extent, as our planning processes really started taking off just before the State did in about 1955-1960, when Perth had a population of about 350,000-400,000. It now has 1.6 million, and the original plan has largely done us quite well. Bunbury started getting its planning in the late 1970s and has all of the four LGAs on board, even though it enters only the tiniest bit of those LGAs' areas (but especially in Harvey's case, probably a majority of its population). Orderinchaos 12:50, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
What's the issue with Wyee? --AussieLegend 14:54, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
It's closer to Wyong than the suburban area extending southwards from Newcastle, yet is not in one of the Central Coast LGAs. Orderinchaos 15:10, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
It may be closer but there's really no other logical route that I can see for the boundary line between the Lake Macqaurie City and Wyong Shire LGAs that wouldn't result in Wyee being split in two. --AussieLegend 15:57, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

City - definition as it applies to this article[edit]

Wikipedia:WikiProject_Australian_places#Place_term_definitions states:

City, Regional city — in common understanding, a metropolis in Australia (eg. Sydney); see City#Australia and New Zealand for official definition

City#Australia_and_New_Zealand states:

In Australia and New Zealand, city is used to refer both to units of local government, and as a synonym for urban area. For instance the City of South Perth[1] is part of the urban area known as Perth, commonly described as a city. On the other hand, Gisborne is known as the first city to see the sun, despite being administered by a district council, not a city council.

The City article defines a city as follows:

A city is an urban settlement with a particularly important status which differentiates it from a town.

City is primarily used to designate an urban settlement with a large population. However, city may also indicate a special administrative, legal, or historical status.

The definition at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Australian_places#Place_term_definitions seems flawed because a metropolis is defined on Wikipedia as:

a big city,[1] in most cases with over half a million inhabitants in the city proper, and with a population of at least one million living in its urban agglomeration.

Obviously, if we were to follow that definition Hobart, Darwin and Canberra wouldn't be classed as cities.

The Metropolis article does point to the following UN definitions:

  • Big City - 500,000 or more inhabitants
  • City - 100,000 or more inhabitants
  • Urban Locality - 20,000 or more inhabitants
  • Rural Locality - <20,000 inhabitants

These definitions don't seem to be in use any more with the current UN definition of city being simply "A large locality of a country. See also urban agglomeration."[20] An urban agglomeration is defined as "Comprises a city or town proper and also the suburban fringe or thickly settled territory lying outside, but adjacent to, its boundaries. A single large urban agglomeration may comprise several cities or towns and their suburban fringes. See also city."[21]

From all of the above it would seem that a major aspect of a city is that it is has a large urban centre. Urban is easily defined but what is "large"? I think determining this is our largest problem and we are forced to resort to original research in order to determine what large is because it isn't defined anywhere.

JRG has referenced both an earlier version of the NSW Local Government Act that stipulates 25,000 as a minimum population required for city status as well as Tasmanian legislation that provides for city status with a minimum population of 20,000. These populations both seem to be outside the common view of a city. Darwin (66,291)[22] and Maitland (61,880)[23] both seem more in the realm of what a small city would be in the common view so a lower limit of 50,000 would seem more appropriate for this list.

I should add that I see no problems with including LGAs that have been declared cities as long as they include "a large urban centre". LGAs like the City of Cessnock, which is primarily rural, would fail this criteria.

Comments? --AussieLegend 08:15, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

In WA it's 20,000 - several of our smaller cities are at or close to 30,000, and are definitely smaller cities rather than towns (in many cases they're providing infrastructure to fit a huge area of the state and in economic terms they're vital). Same is true in SA as far as I'm aware, especially with Mount Gambier and Whyalla. Orderinchaos 12:21, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
AussieLegend - Those definitions you have quoted are primarily original research - I've already tagged them as needing references; this would be OR also if we made up your own definition, as you seem to want to propose. The UN figures are optimistic and not designed for every country. Most countries in the world would have no cities under that sort of definition - and Australia would only have 5 cities, essentially - the Gold Coast just passing the mark. I suggest we find valid criteria for each state, write up the article properly and stick to that. Unless JPD has better ideas. JRG 13:44, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
As far as I can see you've only tagged one of the references and I'm not sure that it's valid. There is no doubt that city does refer to units of local government. That certainly happens in NSW, as does defining urban cities. This has already been discussed and it's at the top of the article, with citations. The only thing I see wrong is the wording, ie "a synonym for urban area". I agree with you regarding the UN figures, which is why I looked at the population of our smallest capital city which is not a city according to the UN figures. The problem we have with this article is that without clearly defining what a city is the list becomes meaningless. If we stick to the definitions that are valid in each state then places like Cessnock, which is really not a city by any conventional definition, would be listed alongside places like Sydney. Including populations would may eliminate some confusion but how would you list Newcastle which has 3 (or is that 4?) official population figures? --AussieLegend 15:21, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree entirely with this contention btw, with one exception (related to your second sentence above). Note it says urban settlement, not lines in the ground arbitrarily separating two contiguous parts of an urban area which determine who gets to charge rates. That's the main argument I have against regarding an LGA as a city. It makes it difficult that Australia doesn't have incorporated cities like the US (WA comes the closest to the concept of any state with the planning documents, and QLD isn't too far off) but we can still come to a definition that respects common sense - either that, or acknowledge that no argument is possible which does not involve OR and considerable interpretation, and zap the article, or make it a disambig to lists under each state. And FTR, I do agree that Nowra and Cessnock in any clear sense are not cities - one could use the 20,000 barrier and UCL stats to determine this. Orderinchaos 16:53, 7 October 2007 (UTC)
I do agree with what you're saying about LGAs but the simple reality is that in NSW some LGAs have been proclaimed cities so in the article in question the statement that city is used to refer to units of local government is correct. Should we use that definition here? The consensus seems to be "no". I have no real problems with that. --AussieLegend 11:47, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I agree with OIC here. City doesn't always refer to units of local government in the Australian context, even if there has been a historical connection. The Macquarie Dictionary definitions make this quite clear:
1. a. a large or important town; a town so nominated.
b. an area within a large and extended city which has been nominated as a city even though it is essentially suburban as the City of Parramatta within Greater Sydney or the City of Nunawading within Greater Melbourne.
2. an urban area the extent of which is subject at all times to redefinition but which
a. (in the cases of Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth between 1839 and 1842) was originally so nominated by royal charter.
b. in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania (by special Act), and Western Australia, was originally so nominated by a Colonial or subsequently a State Government on the basis of its population, its annual revenue, the presence of a cathedral, etc.
Our problem is that virtually all "official" definitions are linked to local government areas, but it is sensible for this page to follow more common usage, for which the definitions are harder to pin down. Note that definition 1a is extremely vague. Quoting the definition is not OR at all, but trying to apply it probably would be. 1b is the definition of LGAs in Perth which OIC wished to exclude, although it is complicated by the fact that place such as Parramatta could be argued to satisfy definition 2 as well. Definition 2 is the one which in my opinion is most appropriate to use in this list. However, I would argue that it does include Cessnock, as history is important, not just size. It does, however specify that the "city" in question is an urban area, not an urban area government unit, thereby only including cities that were designated as such when the government units were in correspondence with the urban areas. JPD (talk) 09:07, 8 October 2007 (UTC)
This is making more sense. JPD, do you think if we take this sort of definition as our starting point and find the nominated "cities" under the general definition, that it also might be helpful to have an article covering the LGAs as cities, in the vein of City status in the United Kingdom? JRG 07:18, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
I think LGAs are "covered" in the sense that urban areas are covered by this list, by the lists of LGAs. However, a general article covering city status in general, covering all the definitions above and comparing the situation through history and in different states could definitely be a good idea. It wouldn't be the easiest article to write, though! JPD (talk) 13:22, 9 October 2007 (UTC)


  1. ^ "City of South Perth". Retrieved 2007-06-03. 

NSW - urban cities[edit]

This edit today by JRG reverted several valid edits made by various editors over a 10 week period back to his 11 June version.[24] Many of the edits reverted were purely administrative, including one vandalism reversion. There is no justification for the reversion of these edits; the action was blatant vandalism that normally would require no more than a rollback of the vandalism and adding a warning to the user's page, which I've done. However, this is not the first time there has been a conflict with this section and since today's vandalism involves an experienced editor it would now seem prudent to address the issue here.

The article defines two types of cities in NSW:

  1. Urban cities proclaimed before 1993, which are still acknowledged on the register of the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales, and
  2. all Local Government Areas which have been proclaimed as cities.

Since one of the criteria of an urban city is that is acknowledged on NSW's Geographical Names Register (GNR) I examined the register and identified all cities listed on that register. Some of the cities currently listed as urban cities are not on the register and should be deleted. However, JRG asserts that "Parramatta, Liverpool and Campbelltown are part of Sydney, even though they are cities in their own right"[25] and, for that reason, they shouldn't be included. While they may be part of Greater Sydney, exclusion because of that does not seem valid. If we exclude those three then City of Blue Mountains and Cessnock should probably be excluded because they're not urban and there are similar reasons why several other cities listed should not be included for various reasons that can be made up. Quite simply, if cities fit the urban city criteria they should be listed appropriately. On the other hand, if they don't fit the criteria they should not be listed as an urban city.

That said, I don't think the title "urban cities" is appropriate. Clearly cities like Blue Mountains and Cessnock are not urban in nature despite being listed on the GNR. Since a major criteria of these cities is that they be listed on the GNR it seems more appropriate to title this section "Cities acknowledged on the Geographical Names Register".

A related issue is that NSW legislation now allows only LGAs to be proclaimed cities. As a result, the cities on the GNR have expanded or contracted as necessary to include all parts of the LGA in which the cities are located. Cessnock is a good example of this. The currently titled "Urban cities" section is therefore actually a subset of the section titled "Local Government Areas Declared as Cities" and could, in theory, be deleted as redundant. I don't propose that this happens as there seems to be some signifcance in the fact that there are a number of cities proclaimed before the 1993 legislation that do not appear on the GNR apparently because they're LGAs. (eg Lake Macquarie) It seems more sensible to keep the two sections separate and exclude "urban cities" from "Local Government Areas Declared as Cities" and vice versa. --AussieLegend (talk) 08:07, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

List of WA LGA's[edit]

Forgot to describe my edit. I see an anonymous IP address removed the WA LGA list from the page before I did, but it was reverted due to "Unexplained removal".

All the other states (bar NSW) have "See also" links to dedicated LGA articles, so I don't see why WA should be any different in this case. Outrune (talk) 17:49, 8 September 2011 (UTC)

The sections have "See also" links but LGAs declared as cities are still included in the article, which lists all cities, not just some of them. --AussieLegend (talk) 06:29, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
LGA cities aren't included on the list for any other states (except NSW for obvious reasons). How is the WA list different? Outrune (talk) 10:27, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Based on what you've written, I don't know what you mean by "for obvious reasons". The obvious reasons to me are that this is a list of cities in Australia and, as I indicated in my last post, all cities should be included. If we don't list all of the cities that defeats the point of the list. It doesn't matter that the LGAs are also listed in another article. Local government areas of Western Australia lists all LGAs including non-cities, so it has a different purpose to this article and we shouldn't rely on it to list the cities. That's the purpose of this article, and why it's called "List of cities in Australia", not "List of some cities in Australia". If the other states' LGA articles include cities that aren't listed here, they should be included here. Note that the Queensland section goes so far as to list "other towns or suburban areas whose local government was accorded City status". --AussieLegend (talk) 10:47, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with AussieLegend. In Western Australia the provisions relating to changes for Cities and Towns are contained within clause 2.4 of the Local Government Act, 1995 (as amended) which essentially state the Governor can make the following desingations for a locality:
  • a locality can be designated a City (in the metro areas) where it has a population of more than 30,000 residents & more than half live in a urban area (rural areas) has a population over 20,000 & more than half live in an urban area
  • a locality where more than half its population resides in an urban area can be designated a Town
  • anything is designated a Shire
Its worth noting that even if there is any subsequent change to the population (ie it decreases below those thresholds) its designation continues to apply until the Governor makes an order for it to be changed (which I guess is why Cities like the City of Nedlands exists with a population of only 20,000).Dan arndt (talk) 01:52, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
This should probably be in the article, as has been done for NSW. --AussieLegend (talk) 03:28, 14 September 2011 (UTC)


both this and List of cities in Australia by population cover the same information: for example, the tables could be moved to this article while the bulk of this article can be moved down, below the tables. the statistical information is included in the other article while little quantitative information is included here relative to the other one. (talk) 19:53, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

That is an incorrect assumption. This article lists actual cities. The other article lists populated areas by size based on data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The populated areas defined by the ABS do not coincide with the actual cities, even though they have the same or similar names and are determined by the ABS to be cities. In short, the two articles cover different, although related, subjects and should therefore not be merged. --AussieLegend () 20:20, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
What AussieLegend wrote. There is no valid reason to merge these. I removed the tag. ···日本穣 · 投稿 · Talk to Nihonjoe · Join WP Japan! 21:20, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

What do we mean by a city?[edit]

There are a number of templates such as [[Template:South East Queensland]] and [[Template:List of cities in Queensland]] which include random places under the heading "city". Ditto the Queensland section of this article.

Once upon a time in Queensland, there was a process whereby if a place were populous enough, it became a town. If it became even more populous, it became a city. But none of that is relevant today. It is all about local government areas, which in SE-Qld are somewhat arbitrary lines across an urban landscape stretching from the NSW border to Noosa. We have some LGAs called Cities and some called Regions and some called Shires. While the Shires do tend to be predominantly rural centred around a modest-sized town and are probably not "cities" by any definition, the Regions mostly contain a large town which in some cases might qualify for City. For example, Mackay Region contains the former City of Mackay and a load of rural localities and other small towns. Whereas Blackall-Tambo Region doesn't really contain anything truly city-like. In Qld, we no longer have any gazetting that distingishes townships/towns/cities, we have "population centres" which are points on a map indicating a centre point (without boundaries). It is LGAs and suburb/localities that have boundaries. Gazetted population centres range from Brisbane (over 1 million people) to Betoota (ghost town), so there is nothing in the current gazettal of places in Queensland that gives us any criteria to declare something a city. It's a non-concept.

As explained in this article, the concept of a city is far from clear in NSW too.

If we want to persist with the concept of city (in the "common use" sense of a large population place), can we put some criteria in place such as something that the census recognises, so there is a clear "yes"/"no" criteria rather than some random editor thinking "yeah, I think that's a city". Looking at the ABS's structures, it seems there are Significant Urban Areas (populations over 10,000) and then a bit of a jump to the Greater Capital Cities (which rules out anything that isn't a capital city) with nothing in between. SAs (at any level) don't work because they are "covers" of the whole of Australia, which isn't the purpose here. So if we are to have any definition of city, I think it has to be a place which qualifies as a Significant Urban Area but with a higher threshold on population than 10,000.

I note that in List of cities in Australia by population there is a criteria for the first table, which is "The following ranks GCSSAs and SUAs which are not included within the GCCSAs with populations of over 30,000". Is this an acceptable definition of a "city"? Kerry (talk) 01:18, 31 October 2017 (UTC)

All of this has been hashed out before (I think from memory...) at the very quiet now - - Australian Places project - perhaps it is worth re-visiting? JarrahTree 01:49, 31 October 2017 (UTC)

As you say, the project has been dormant for a while. Its advice is to use cities as in Cities#Australia and New Zealand, a section that no longer exists. However, I have located the last version of the article that had that version so let's go back and see what it said in 2010 and it seems that a city is "any town that is large enough" (ok, size matters) and then, perhaps most usefully says, "A "provincial city" is any urban area (other than the capital city) that is a combination of multiple suburbs". OK, that tells me Mackay is a city and Goondiwindi isn't. However, it doesn't address the peri-urban problem. Look at South-East Queensland's continguous urban area. Is that all the one city of Brisbane or are there distinct cities within it, say, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich (which are all City LGAs) and have distinct histories of growth that eventually collided. But what about Logan City? Is it any different to Moreton Bay Region? Aren't both of them just the southern and northern urban sprawl of Brisbane's suburbs? Kerry (talk) 02:56, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
The problem is we have a conflagration of two different subjects both using the term city, there are cities(City of Fremantle) in the Local Government(LGA) context, which have small identifiers of shire(generally rural, Shire of Toodyay)) and town(generally urbanTown of Bassendean). We also have Urban centres which are also known as cities these can either be contained within one LGA (Bunbury) or they can overlap multiple LGAs(Perth). Each of these definitions do rely on population size Kalgoorlie urban area is a city, as is the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder LGA but its Urban is only a small portion of the LGA's total area. Because we dont have enough confusion we also central business districts which are themselves more commonly called "the city" as well. Gnangarra 04:49, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
What constitutes a city has been asked more than once on this page. JRG did so in #What is included on this list?, it was addressed in #Nowra, I asked specifically in #City - definition as it applies to this article, aspects were addressed in #NSW - urban cities and yet we still don't have a clear definition after 10 years. Here in NSW, LGA boundaries officially define the city boundaries and, with the exception of Sydney, each city has a single LGA in it. This does create some rather weird situations. For example Cessnock, which is really only a large country town, is officially a city and because the legislation says that LGA boundaries define the city boundaries, there is at least one group of 4 houses in a very rural area far southwest of Cessnock that are officially in the city of Cessnock. Dubbo is officially a city but, due to the abandoned LGA mergers, the City of Dubbo LGA no longer exists. I've asked and nobody from the NSW government can show me the Dubbo city boundaries. Technically the borders of Dubbo Regional Council should be the city boundaries now but I've been assured that's not the case and that is at odds with the legislation. To make matters worse, NSW has a group of cities that are listed on the Geographical Names Register and another group that aren't. I'd be interested to see legal definitions from other states as each seems to have a different definition but the simple answer to the question posed in the title of this section is really, "It depends on where you are". --AussieLegend () 05:24, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
Surely if we define city here it should mean the same thing across wikipedia, and I can never see that happening for two reasons, every country is different and most states within countries are often different, and editors will all have their own ideas. Maybe we fall back on the principles of wikipedia, that is what do the reliable sources state for a populated area, that is what does the populated area call itself, village, town, city, etc. For us to map population sizes, or geographical sizes, on to our definition I suggest is actually original research. Along side the lists of (places calling themselves)(self defining) cities, towns, LGAs, etc we also have lists by size, for example lists of populated places (as defined by the ABS for example) over 106, 105, 104, 103, etc. (If we define a city as being over 105 and a big city as being over 106, then what does that make Shanghai or Beijing, a country - they are about the same size as the whole of Australia by population?) Food for thought. Aoziwe (talk) 12:08, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
This seems sensible enough, except that often the official definition of what is a "city" is different from a common understanding of what a city is. Few people on the street would refer to the City of Hawkesbury for instance, as a "city', even though you'll find plenty of sources that use that as an official term. We could fall back on "what do the sources say", but the sources give us an impenetrable porridge of conflicting definitions. Lankiveil (speak to me) 12:23, 31 October 2017 (UTC).
But is not that a key part of the problem, ie, what is the "common understanding", it is different for most people other than "somehow a city is bigger than a town is some how bigger than a village". If reliable sources refer to the ie populated area variously as both a town and a city it gets listed in both places. What do we put in the main article lead for these places, ie "<place> is <what> in the state of . ." how is the what determined now? So the problem is not just about lists but also the main articles. And as Kerry says above, some states now no longer have an official definition of "city" at all. We could just have "List of populated places in NSW", etc., which is what is done for some other countries? Aoziwe (talk) 13:34, 31 October 2017 (UTC)
I know it's not a totally satisfactory answer, but I don't think we're going to come up with a solid and consistent definition that everyone can agree with. If I were employed by the planning department and asked to come up with a definition myself, I could do a lot worse than what Kerry has suggested above, but seeing as I'm just a guy trying to write an encyclopædia I'm not sure that's a good way to go. In a perfect world, I'd just junk the term "city" altogether in the SEQ navbox and go with "capital" and "major population centres", but I know that's probably not a workable solution for political reasons. Lankiveil (speak to me) 11:51, 2 November 2017 (UTC).
These would be enormously long lists (even if we limited to places with articles). Far too long to put in navboxes which are currently titled "Cities of Wherever" or sections within navboxes titled "Cities". And I think we all have an informal understanding that some places are obviously cities (e.g. Newcastle) but other towns are obviously not cities (e.g. Nyngan). It's drawing a line in-between that's hard, but it's a line we need to grapple with if we want to have lists in navboxes etc. Kerry (talk) 23:13, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
Concerned we simply have a few of the usual suspects turn up and nothing that looks like a coherent over-view of what the city issue has been resolved as yet. Navboxes, or size of lists are relatively pointless issues if we have no specific guideline or policy that more than a few eds can agree to - somewhere - not necessarily set in stone - but something like a guideline that there is something that most who view it are able to accept without having issues with some point.
This is an online encyclopedia not a ... (choose your epithet) - as a coherent working towards something - we need something that editors who rarely ever venture onto the national noticeboard can look at and think that looks good I can accept that - and they can also agree enough not to go off and create oddball variations for their state... rather than going into long explanations of state variations of 'common understanding' and 'official definition'.
My suggestion is it goes to the national noticeboard, with specific cases stated and patience (some eds dont always get there yesterday like some of us) to actually have more than two or three editors claim the agenda... JarrahTree 00:07, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
I do not think there is any elegant axiomatic heuristic or definitive qualitative way to define a city. Perhaps we use a self learning neural net approach instead. What we do is one or two of us grab a list of say 100 Australian populated areas, say 50 which are probably going to be categorised as cities and another 50 which are probably not going to classified as cities, randomise the list, then invite all and sundry to each categorise them with a one word reason why for each of them, and then run an analysis over it and see what comes out, possibly then simplify it a bit then that is the basis for further categorisation ? Aoziwe (talk) 11:52, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
That sounds like it would be an interesting exercise, but it would still be WP:OR. Lankiveil (speak to me) 23:30, 2 November 2017 (UTC).
Yes exactly but it would be the only(?) way to get the best we could to a "common understanding". As per above the only WP way to do it I think is to go by what the RSs state. Aoziwe (talk) 11:14, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
It might be OR to define cities. It's not OR for us to decide that, for the purposes of Wikipedia list articles and navboxes and portals etc, what will or won't be included. Kerry (talk) 06:14, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
If reliable sources say that a location is a city and we say that it isn't, WP:V overrules that and, by deciding what constitutes a city for the purposes of navboxes, list articles etc, we are defining cities. --AussieLegend () 07:07, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
I'm saying something subtly different (or so I think). We decide what we include as article topics through notability rules. We decide whether List of pubs in Australia will contain all pubs or just those that are notable. We decide what's in/out of categories. We make and apply such consensus decisions about what we will include in Wikipedia and how we include it every single day. I'm not seeing this as anything other than that. I don't see the problem with documenting in a list article/template/category what criteria we use for *inclusion* of cities in this template/list/category. As Gnangarra points out below, there is no definition of city in WA. I've searched in Qld and I can't find any definition of city in Qld, and in my copy of the official database of Qld place names, the only term they use now for anything you might think of as a township/town/city is now "Populated place" of which we have 642 in Queensland ranging from Brisbane to Betoota in terms of population. WP:V comes into it only to the extent of providing the basic information to which we apply the criteria. I think we should decide a criteria, either for Australia as a whole or state-by-state (I can see the argument that populations in NT are a lot lower than NSW so maybe different thresholds should apply). I think we are making rules about the presentation of information within Wikipedia; we are not engaging in Original Research. WP:V is a requirement for inclusion in Wikipedia; it is not an obligation to include something in Wikipedia nor to present it in a particular way in Wikipedia. Kerry (talk) 03:03, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I understand what you're saying but, if we were to define a city for the purposes of lists etc, and even if we called it a "populated place" or something like that, we'd still have the OR issue because the definition would likely exclude places that would verifiably meet the criteria. For example, if we were to say that LGAs do not define cities we'd immediately have an issue in NSW because LGA boundaries are legally the boundaries of a city, even in Sydney where multiple LGAs are incorporated in the Greater Sydney area. Aoziwe's proposal would likely result in a quite reasonable definition but to demonstrate the problem, let's apply it to the Hunter Region. Here we have several legally defined cities but, under a reasonable definition I don't think we'd call all of them a city:
  • Newcastle - Urban city
  • City of Newcastle - LGA defines the area covered by Newcastle city
  • City of Lake Macquarie - Urban/suburban city with some rural areas on the outskirts built around Australia's largest coastal salt water lagoon (110km2) that has a 174km long shoreline - Despite being significantly larger physically than Newcastle (648km2 vs 261.8km2), with a greater population (nearly 42,000 more people),some have argued this is not a city because it doesn't have a centralised CBD.
  • Maitland - Urban/suburban city
  • City of Maitland - Beyond the actual city, much of the area is low density suburban and rural so I would not call this a city.
  • Cessnock - Population about 22,000. Right on the border between large country town and city but lacking some of the features we'd expect from a city.
  • City of Cessnock - Primarily rural. Population about 55,000 with an area of 1,966km2. Not a city by any reasonable definition.
To make matters worse, only Newcastle's LGA border actually represents the city proper. Lake Macquarie is close; the city proper extends almost to the M1 motorway to the west but there are some rural areas west of that included in the LGA. Maitland and Cessnock don't have any well defined borders for the actual cities.
WP:V is a requirement for inclusion in Wikipedia; it is not an obligation to include something in Wikipedia nor to present it in a particular way in Wikipedia. - If we were to create a list of cities and exclude, say, City of Cessnock because it doesn't meet the criteria, we'd still have the OR problem because City of Cessnock is legally and verifiably a city. Any definition would have to be extremely detailed and presented in each article to get around one of Wikipedia's core policies. --AussieLegend () 04:36, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Cities - a specific proposal[edit]

OK, I propose that, for purposes of drawing a line in the sand for listing cities in Australian articles where it is necessary to make some criteria of city-ness for Wikipedia purposes, that we adopt the list (and its criteria) in List of cities in Australia by population#Greater Capital City Statistical Areas/Significant Urban Areas by population which gives us 50 *distinct* cities with populations over 30,000 people (and leaves out those subsumed by bigger cities, e.g. Logan is subsumed by Brisbane). Kerry (talk) 06:33, 3 November 2017 (UTC)

There is an immediate problem with that in the GCCSA/SUA are defined by the ABS which says that it doesn't deal in geographical locations. Its definitions are for statistical purposes only and include projections of what the ABS thinks an area will be like in 50 years. That's why Glen Alice, which is 128km as the crow flies and 223km by road from the Sydney CBD, is included in the ABS definition of Sydney. Using ABS data you can argue that the distance between Sydney and Newcastle is 0km. Regarding Logan, ABS Quickstats show that as a city.[26] That's what the "(C)" after the name denotes. We can't really say "let's follow this ABS definition but ignore that one". We shouldn't be using statistical definitions to define geographical locations. --AussieLegend () 07:19, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
But we have Cities in a political sense ie City of Perth, we have Urban areas known as Cities ie Perth. we first need to clear about what we are talking about this differs between states. We need first to identify how eaxh State defines a City both in a political sense and in the physical sense. Gnangarra 11:32, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
I said adopt the list List of cities in Australia by population#Greater Capital City Statistical Areas/Significant Urban Areas by population and its criteria, which I will spell out:

Each capital city forms its own Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA), which according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) represents a broad socioeconomic definition of each of the eight state and territory capital cities. These correspond to the more common and international usage of metropolitan areas. Significant Urban Areas are similarly defined but include population centres which are not capital cities. In Australia the population of the GCCSA/SUA is the most-often quoted figure for that city's population. The following ranks GCSSAs and SUAs which are not included within the GCCSAs with populations of over 30,000.

This means Logan City isn't included in that list because it falls within the Brisbane's GCCSA, but it does appear further along in that article in the list of most populous LGAs (where it is #7). That article also has a list of the largest urban centres, which is cut off at 50 entries. Why 50? Why not 5? or 500? This is why I say, we make these decisions in Wikipedia all the time without it being OR. I think we do have to use ABS constructs to some extent in our criteria if only because it's our source of population data.
I guess my question is "what's the alternative?". Get rid of the navboxes, allow navboxes to fill 10 screens, allow anyone to put anything into a navbox if they can find anything that satisfies them as to verifiability? My intention with the navbox for South-East Queensland (which triggered my original question) is to have two lists, one for LGAs and one for cities. I could just put in the LGAs and omit the cities, but the LGA articles get a lot fewer hits per day than their "main city" article does, so I think the reader really does want to see the links of our "cities" in these navboxes. Or should I just do my own thing in that navbox, with any consensus on it being purely local to that navbox? I'm not feeling consensus forming here. Kerry (talk) 03:23, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't think it makes sense to base this on LGA, because as we know, the way that the word "city" and indeed what an LGA is differ considerably from state to state and region to region. Can I offer a refinement of sorts to this which is to deprecate the word "city" in the navbox, and replace it with the phrase "urban centre"? The list here, at least for Queensland, seems to be pretty much on the money for what I'd expect to see on a list of major cities, anyway. Lankiveil (speak to me) 03:43, 4 November 2017 (UTC).
I agree with Lankiveil, we should be referring to urban centres as urban centres not as cities because cites have a very specific and inconsistent meaning across Australia, it also doesnt correspond with the UK nor the US definitions of a city either. What you are referring are Metropolitan areas , the ABS data has a lot of inconsistencies when it comes to boundaries. Our problem lies not just in the terms being used but in the one size must fit all approach to data we should be celebrating and sharing those differences not trying to make anyone above all else. Gnangarra 12:57, 4 November 2017 (UTC)
We need first to identify how eaxh State defines a City both in a political sense and in the physical sense. - In NSW that's easy. Cities are defined by their LGA boundaries both political and physically. That's clearly not an ideal situation though, as shown in my example above.
That article also has a list of the largest urban centres, which is cut off at 50 entries. Why 50? Why not 5? or 500? - Deciding to limit a list for brevity is far different to excluding content based on criteria that may contradict WP:V.
My intention with the navbox for South-East Queensland (which triggered my original question) is to have two lists, one for LGAs and one for cities. - That might actually work for QLD if cities are not defined by LGA borders as they are in NSW.
Can I offer a refinement of sorts to this which is to deprecate the word "city" in the navbox, and replace it with the phrase "urban centre"? - I don't see a big issue with that in the navbox. {{Largest cities of Australia}} has been a problem since it was converted to a template in 2013 because it changed the header from "Largest populated areas in Australia" to "Largest cities of Australia", which was incorrect. --AussieLegend () 05:01, 5 November 2017 (UTC)

Western Australia[edit]

Under the WA Local Government Act 1995 Division 1

  • section 2.4.3.a says the district is in the metropolitan area and has more than 30 000 inhabitants more than half of whom live in an urban area; or
  • section 2.4.3.b the district, if it is not in the metropolitan area, has more than 20 000 inhabitants more than half of whom live in an urban area.
  • section 2.4.4 A district can only be designated a town if more than half of its inhabitants live in an urban area.
  • section 2.4.5 other districts are called shires

That answers the definition for a City in the political(LGA) sense in WA Gnangarra 11:43, 3 November 2017 (UTC)

Under the Land Administration Act 1997 Division 3 schedule 26.1 only a townsite is defined, there is no official definition of what constitutes a city in the Urban sense. Gnangarra 13:18, 3 November 2017 (UTC)