Postcodes of affected bushfire areas in the Victoria bushfires

February 12, 2009

(This is also a geek call-to-arms – if you have anything to do with customer databases, please take action!)

A client of mine has a direct mail campaign underway. Across Australia. Mostly rural addresses.

Fortunately they (and by they I mean my father, whose business it is) recognised the need to remove a few mailers from the campaign.

Specifically those in the Kinglake and Marysville areas which pretty much don’t exist any more.

This line of inquiry lead me to ask on Twitter, with these responses:

@aDB : Is there a postcode summary of affected #bushfire areas? Need to create a blocklist for snail direct mail marketing.

@lelak : @aDB: Can you derive it from CFA incident reports?

@WillHughes : @aDB If you know anyone at Telstra, they should be able to dig it up from the Red Zone info that the workforce managers use.

Also on FaceBook I was given a link to an SBS page :,-town-by-town

So is there a better way? Surely we could manage a listing of postcodes to avoid or give special treatment to, according to the business you are in. Perhaps Australia Post have something?

Well, kinda. Mail deliveries to bushfire areas does list areas having trouble with mail. There are descriptions of the ways Australia Post will be helping manage mail in those areas. What about a postcode list for direct marketers?

Community to the rescue! Shortly after all this I discovered an eBay Australia forum that was keeping track of the postcodes. Of course! eBay sellers and buyers who have one or other party of a transaction in these areas are likely to have slow communication for a while.

So that is where we are up to. I urge all of you who have databases with postcodes listed take the time to flag the affected codes, at least for a week or two, and make this flag known to your business people. At least we can avoid hassling customers for non-contact or selling them stuff they don’t need in this terrible time.

As of this writing, that eBay list shows the following areas in trouble:

3099 Arthurs Creek, Strathewen
3315 Coleraine
3400 Horsham
3444 Redesdale
3550 Bendigo/Long Gully
3551 Maiden Gully
3556 Eaglehawk/California Gully
3658 Strath Creek/Hazeldene/Reedy Creek
3691 Dederang
3711 Buxton
3712 Rubicon
3713 Eildon
3714 Alexandra/Taggerty
3717 Yea/Flowerdale/Glenburn/Murrindindi
3719 Yarck
3737 Mudgegonga
3747 Beechworth/Stanley
3749 Bruarong
3751 Woodstock
3757 Whittlesea/Humevale/Kinglake Central/Kinglake West
3758 Wandong
3761 St Andrews
3763 Kinglake
3764 Kilmore, Kilmore East
3775 Yarra Glen/Steels Creek
3777 Healesville/Toolangi
3778 Narbethong
3779 Marysville
3783 Gembrook
3804 Narre Warren
3814 Garfield North
3815 Bunyip
3815 Tonimbuk
3816 Labertouche
3818 Drouin West/Jindivick
3832 Neerim Junction
3833 Noojee
3840 Hazelwood/Jeeralang
3841 Morwell/Gippsland Mail Centre
3842 Churchhill
3844 Traralgon/Traralgon Sough/Callignee/Koornalla
3862 Dargo
3870 Boolarra
3874 Woodside
3895 rural delivery area
3971 Alberton/Alberton West/Balook/Calrossie/Devon North/Gelliondale/Hiawatha/Hunterston/Jack River/Langsborough/Macks Creek/Madalya/Manns Beach/Port Albert/Robertsons Beach/Staceys Bridge/Tarra Valley/Tarraville/Won Wron/Yarram

Do augmented social skills make me worse than a politician?

February 10, 2009

[Note I wrote this draft at 2:30am from bed on my iPhone, I had intended to edit but I think it is more interesting as is]

How will you feel when, next we meet, I ask how you enjoyed the last movie you saw, referring to it by name? About your partner? Your kids? Pets?

Does that depend on our relationship? If we aren’t close, but I have good ‘people skills’ (read an exellent memory for personal details) is it creepy or does it engender perhaps a closer bond than before?

Now if my recall is augmented by notes in my address book swotted before we meet, is that different?

What about a politician’s handlers prompting these tidbits?

What if these details writhe ghostly about your person when I see, or even hear you? Only to me of course, apparitions conjoured inside my glasses by my digital djinn. Divining your recent personal history by re-tracing your digital footprints upon need. My very own internet 6th sense, a social prosthesis if you will.

This is the world being summoned right now by the technomancers, the wunderkind, the hackers of our futures.

There are many philosophical questions to be answered, let alone new social customs to be discovered. Or perhaps merely unearthed? Restored from a time not so long ago when social graces really did make the world go around.


  1. Mark Pesce: This, That, and The Other
  2. Wired: TED: MIT Students Turn Internet Into a Sixth Human Sense