Genetic variation among 348 isolates of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. vasinfectum (Fov) collected from diseased cotton plants in 31 fields in six cotton-growing regions in New South Wales and Queensland in 2002 and 2004 was analysed using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs). Twenty-eight haplotypes were identified based on 146 polymorphic bands generated with four EcoRI and MseI and four HindIII and MseI primer combinations. The haplotypes separated into two distinct groups (37% similarity), with 21 in group I and seven in group II. The two unique vegetative compatibility groups of Fov known to occur in Australia (VCG 01111 and VCG 01112) were correlated to the two AFLP groups, with both VCG 01111 reference isolates being included in group I and both VCG 01112 reference isolates in group II. Group I was widespread, occurring in all regions sampled and all but one of the fields, while group II was limited to three fields in the Boggabilla region. Group I was further divided into two subgroups. The two haplotypes in subgroup I-B (I-20 and I-21) may represent the emergence of a new form of Fov based on their marked genetic discrimination from the subgroup I-A haplotypes. No spatial population differentiation was discernible at the national level, as only 3·9% of total genetic variation was attributed to differences among regions (P = 0·4868). When each region was analysed separately, clear differentiation was found in the Boggabilla region, with 86·3% of total genetic variation resulting from differences among fields (P < 0·0001).