Microsatellite variation was studied at 48 microsatellite loci in 10 Drosophila melanogaster populations to investigate the population structure on the Australian east coast. Low, but statistically significant population differentiation was observed among most populations. The populations on the Australian mainland did not show evidence for isolation by distance. We conclude that the population structure of D. melanogaster on the Australian mainland is probably the result of a shared history (recent colonization). The observed differences between local D. melanogaster populations probably reflect variation in effective population sizes rather than patterns of gene flow. Two populations from Tasmania were more differentiated from the Australian mainland than a population from Israel, raising the question whether they are derived from the Australian mainland or colonized from a different source population.