The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) has been rising in fair-skinned populations throughout the world for decades. The upward trend may, however, finally be slowing in some of these populations. Recent (1983–1996) CMM incidence trends for a high incidence area (New South Wales, Australia) have been examined according to gender, age group, body site and tumour thickness. Despite continuing upward trends in older age groups, particularly among men (e.g., 7.20% increase per year in men aged 75+), incidence for younger ages is stabilizing (in men) or declining (in women): average annual percentage changes of −3.03 and −0.88 were observed for women aged 15–34 and 35–54, respectively. Patterns suggest a birth-cohort effect, with those born since 1945 or 1950 having lower (females) or similar (males) rates to those born earlier. For each gender, all-ages incidence rose by a similar amount for each of the main body sites except the leg in women, where incidence fell by 0.49% per year. In men, the incidence of both thin (≤75 mm) and thick (>75 mm) melanomas increased (significantly, by 2.63% per year and non-significantly, by 0.93% per year, respectively) between 1989 and 1996. In women, incidence remained stable for both thickness subgroups. These data are consistent with a stabilization or reduction in either total sun exposure or intermittency of exposure among New South Wales cohorts born since about 1950. Because incidence rates are still much higher than they were a few decades ago, however, efforts to reduce sun exposure, particularly in children and youth, must continue. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.