Australian Semi-Practical Exclave

On April 19, 2012 · 4 Comments

I had an interesting exchange of email messages with reader "New Taste" recently about a corner of Australia where Queensland and New South Wales hit the Coral Sea. The discussion had been triggered by one of my earlier articles I called "What Crosses an Airport Runway?." A surprising number of unexpected things cross an airport runway I should note as I did back in May 2010, but the single item of interest for this purpose happened to be the Gold Coast Airport. The Queensland – New South Wales border bisects a runway there.

Our reader drew my attention to a spot a little farther along the border, just outside of the airport grounds to the east, and was kind enough to create a map:

View The Grove and Ocean Breeze in a larger map

These are two small gated communities, The Grove and Ocean Breeze. By now some readers might be saying "so what" but savvy long-time followers of the Twelve Mile Circle are no doubt exclaiming, "Wow! — practical exclaves!" A practical exlave isn’t truly an exclave because it’s physically connected to the rest of its associated geographic unit. However, as a general rule, a visitor wouldn’t access a practical exclave from within the unit. I discussed some examples in Andorra recently that might help explain this better.

In this instance, both gated communities are part of Tweed Heads, NSW. However, they can be accessed only from Coolangatta, QLD. Certainly someone with enough determination could drive down Ourimbah Road and hop the fence on the backside of the communities and never leave New South Wales. But is that a practical thing to do? Would security guards employed by these gated communities take issue with that? That’s what I mean by a practical exclave. It’s not really an exclave but it behaves like one in ordinary circumstances. If you were lucky enough to live within the geo-oddities communities of The Grove and Ocean Breeze, the only way you could access your home or exit to the rest of the world in a legal manner would be through Queensland, even though you happened to a resident of New South Wales.

I wished I lived in a geo-oddity. I’d probably pay extra for that privilege. Well I kind-of live in a minor geo-oddity ("smallest self-governing county in the United States") but it’s not a very impressive one. I’d rather be in a practical exlave or better.

View Larger Map

I spotted another area immediately west of the gated communities, the property adjacent to Gold Coast Airport. It’s Border Park Raceway, a greyhound track. This turns out to be another practical exclave. According to their website, "Tweed heads Coursing Club operates from Border Park which is situated on QLD and NSW border. The Border Park complex operates greyhound racing and a betting auditorium in a family friendly environment." The 2011 Galaxy Winner was Pretty Malaika and in 2010 Big Bunga. That last sentence was totally unnecessary except to say Big Bunga.

Usually when a business such as this locates directly along a border it means the laws are friendlier on their side of the line and they are attempting to attract residents from the other. Are gambling laws in New South Wales more relaxed than Queensland, or is Border Park Raceway’s unusual location a coincidence? I don’t know but I certainly did appreciate the border sign at the park’s entrance when I peeked at it in Google Street View.

That’s all fine and wonderful but I found something even more fascinating. I thought there could be a third NSW practical exclave where the state border intersects the Coral Sea.

View Larger Map

My vicarious email guide helped me sort through this. First, it should be noted that the border as drawn on Google Maps isn’t entirely correct. We’ve seen that before so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The true border goes down the median between the two sides of Boundary Street as shown by a large border marker.

View Larger Map

Queensland is on the left and New South Wales is on the right.

This is where the situation becomes very special, perhaps unique, meaning I didn’t bother looking for any other occurrences: the curious case of a semi-practical exclave. One can exit the community while remaining in NSW (a reminder for North American readers that drivers stay to the left in Australia) BUT the only way to return to the community is via Queensland. Thus, it’s a practical exclave going in one direction but not in the other. A semi-practical exclave!

You can confirm the situation on the land and property maps page on the Tweed Shire Council site since Google gets the border wrong.

I’d like to throw one final oddity into the mix. New South Wales observes daylight saving time while Queensland does not. Imagine all of the repeated time changes as one travels from these practical and semi-practical areas during the summer. I’m sure nobody actually changes their clocks as that happens so perhaps this creates a practical time zone? It’s all too amusing.

Thank you "New Taste." I’ve had a lot of fun with this one.

On April 19, 2012 · 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Australian Semi-Practical Exclave”

  1. Krel says:

    The township of “Tom Groggin” is also a pene enclave on the Black-Allen Line. Part of Victoria but practically only accessible via NSW.

  2. newtaste says:


    I think the location of the race track on the border is just where is happens to be rather than for any gambling reason.

    However, NSW had poker/slot machines from the 1960s but Qld didn’t get them until 1992, which is why the Twin Towns Services Club in Tweed Heads, NSW is right on the border. In the 1970s and 1980s the poker machine hungry masses from Qld were bused across the border into NSW to lose their hard earned cash!

    While looking where the NSW-Qld border is, I noticed this border line on the footpath outside the Twin Towns Outrigger Resort in Griffith St. I doubt that most people realise that that line is the border.

  3. Chris says:

    Not sure whether you’re aware of this practical exclave in Greenwich, CT, but I thought of it while reading this article:

  4. Voyager9270 says:

    There is an international version of the semi-practical exclave you describe above in Beebe Plain, Vt. and Stanstead, Quebec:

    View Larger Map

    The international border runs down the center of the street. Traffic traveling eastbound is in the USA while traffic traveling westbound is in Canada. Those people that live on the south (USA) side of the street can reach their homes from elsewhere in the USA without having to cross an international border. But to leave their home and drive anywhere else in the USA, they have to take a left out of their driveway, drive westbound (on the Canadian side of the road), clear United States customs at the end of the street, and proceed (back) into the USA.

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