The degree to which Southern Hemisphere climatic changes during the end of the last glacial period and early Holocene (30-8 ka) were influenced or initiated by events occurring in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere is a complex issue. There is conflicting evidence for the degree of hemispheric ‘teleconnection’ and an unresolved debate as to the principle forcing mechanism(s). The available hypotheses are difficult to test robustly, however, because the few detailed palaeoclimatic records in the Southern Hemisphere are widely dispersed and lack duplication. Here we present climatic and environmental reconstructions from across Australia, a key region of the Southern Hemisphere because of the range of environments it covers and the potentially important role regional atmospheric and oceanic controls play in global climate change. We identify a general scheme of events for the end of the last glacial period and early Holocene but a detailed reconstruction proved problematic. Significant progress in climate quantification and geochronological control is now urgently required to robustly investigate change through this period. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.