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What is a public place?

Information about what a public place is.

To be found guilty of a public behaviour offence the activity has to take place in or near, or within view or earshot of a public place. A public place is broadly defined in the Summary Offences Act 1966 to include any:

  • public highway or road, street, bridge, footway, footpath, court, alley, passage or thoroughfare notwithstanding that it may be formed on private property
  • park, garden, reserve or other place of public recreation or resort
  • railway station platform or carriage
  • wharf, pier or jetty
  • passenger ship or boat for hire
  • church, chapel open to the public or any other building where divine service is being publicly held
  • government school or other land connected to such school
  • public hall, theatre, room while members of the public are attending (or assembling or departing from) a public entertainment or meeting
  • market
  • auction room, market or place where a sale or auction is proceeding
  • licensed premises authorised under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998,
  • cricket ground, racecourse or football ground or other place where members of the public are present or are permitted to have access (regardless whether or not they have had to pay for admission)
  • place of public resort (maybe like a council run fitness centre or swimming pool)
  • place open to the public whether upon or without payment for admittance or are permitted to have access
  • public place within the meaning or the words 'public place' whether by virtue of this Act or otherwise.

See s. 3—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information


Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines public place

See Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)(opens in a new window).