Eastern states of Australia

The eastern states of Australia are the states adjoining the east continental coastline of Australia. These are the mainland states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, and the island state of Tasmania. The Australian Capital Territory and Jervis Bay Territory, while not states, are also included. On some occasions, the southern state of South Australia is also included in this grouping due to its economic ties with the eastern states.

The eastern Australian states. States in red are always defined as eastern. The term can sometimes be applied to the states in orange

Regardless of which definition is used, the eastern states include the great majority of the Australian population.[1] They contain the federal capital Canberra and Australia's three largest cities Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (all capitals of the respective east coast states), as well as the three largest non-capital cities in the country: Gold Coast, Queensland; Newcastle, New South Wales; and Wollongong, New South Wales. In terms of climate, the area is dominated by a humid subtropical zone, with some tropical (Queensland) and oceanic climate (Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, New South Wales) zones. In most situations, the eastern states are defined as those who use Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), and that is the definition that this article will adhere to, unless noted.

Divisions between the east and west

There is only one major railway line linking the eastern states to Western Australia, the Trans-Australian Railway, which opened in 1917.

There is only one major highway linking the eastern states to Western Australia, the Eyre Highway which opened in 1942.

Since the 1980s, various governments have proposed building a high-speed rail in Australia. However, this rail would only connect the eastern states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.[2][3] Adelaide has often been included in the proposal and former Greens leader Bob Brown once said that a high speed rail connecting Perth was inevitable.[4]

In 2015 international visitors in Australia spent $24.1 billion. The eastern states and territory made $20.5 billion of that total, or 85%.[5][6] Likewise, the eastern states collected 8,588,000 (85%) individual visits to a state over that year, out of a possible 10,133,000.[5]


The combined population of Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania is 19,484,100, or 81% of Australia's population.[7] These five states and territory cover 2,829,463 km², or 37% of Australia's total land area.[8]


Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA) or Significant Urban Areas (SUA), with a population of over 30,000, from north to south:

City[9]State/territoryPopulationPercentage of national population
Cairns Queensland 178,649 0.80%
Townsville Queensland 162,292[10] 0.73%
Mackay Queensland 85,040 0.36%
Rockhampton Queensland 80,345 0.38%
Gladstone Queensland 32,073 0.14%
Bundaberg Queensland 70,540 0.32%
Hervey Bay Queensland 48,680 0.22%
Sunshine Coast Queensland 297,380 1.33%
Brisbane Queensland 2,274,560 10.18%
Toowoomba Queensland 113,625 0.51%
Gold Coast-Tweed Heads Queensland/New South Wales 614,379 2.75%
Coffs Harbour New South Wales 68,052 0.29%
Tamworth New South Wales 41,810 0.18%
Port Macquarie New South Wales 44,875 0.19%
Dubbo New South Wales 36,622 0.16%
Newcastle-Maitland New South Wales 430,755 1.83%
Orange New South Wales 39,766 0.17%
Central Coast (Gosford) New South Wales 304,753 1.36%
Bathurst New South Wales 35,391 0.15%
Sydney New South Wales 4,840,628 20.61%
Wollongong New South Wales 289,236 1.23%
Bowral-Mittagong New South Wales 37,495 0.16%
Nowra-Bomaderry New South Wales 35,383 0.15%
Mildura-Wentworth Victora/New South Wales 49,836 0.21%
Wagga Wagga New South Wales 55,364 0.24%
Canberra-Queanbeyan Australian Capital Territory/New South Wales 422,510 1.80%
Albury-Wodonga New South Wales/Victoria 87,890 0.37%
Shepparton-Mooroopna Victoria 49,079 0.21%
Bendigo Victoria 91,692 0.39%
Ballarat Victoria 98,543 0.42%
Melbourne Victoria 4,440,328 18.90%
Warragul-Drouin Victoria 32,698 0.14%
Geelong Victoria 184,182 0.78%
Traralgon-Morwell Victoria 40,851 0.17%
Warrnambool Victoria 33,856 0.14%
Devonport Tasmania 30,445 0.13%
Launceston Tasmania 86,393 0.37%
Hobart Tasmania 219,243 0.93%

See also


  1. Harvey, Nick; Caton, Brian (2010). "Human Impact on the Australian Coast.". Coastal Management in Australia. University of Adelaide Press. pp. 126–193. JSTOR 10.20851/j.ctt1sq5x5j.10.
  2. "Turnbull plan to put Australia back on the slow road towards high-speed rail". The Age. 11 April 2016.
  3. "Greens to push $40bn fast-rail link to Sydney". The Age. 22 April 2010. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012.
  4. "Study on the impact of a high-speed rail line on Sydney Airport". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 October 2010. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012.
  5. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. "International Visitors In Australia: Year Ending December 2015" (PDF). Tourism Research Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 March 2016.
  7. "Australian Demographic Statistics, Mar 2016". abs.gov.au. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  8. "Area of Australia – States and Territories". ga.gov.au. Geoscience Australia. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  9. "Census of Population and Housing". 28 June 2022.
  10. "2011 Census QuickStats: Townsville".

Further reading

  • Doenges, Debra and Andrew Teakle.(2008) Australian journey : east coast Sydney : New Holland Publishers Australia. ISBN 978-1-74110-628-2

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