Complex aluminium phosphate-sulphate minerals of the hinsdalite group have been identified as early diagenetic precipitates in Late Permian sandstones of the Northern Calcareous Alps, western Austria. According to their chemical composition they can be regarded as solid solutions between woodhouseite, svanbergite, crandallite and goyazite. The model proposed for their origin involves the dissolution of detrital apatite in a low-pH environment and subsequent precipitation of aluminium phosphate-sulphate minerals, which clearly pre-date syntaxial quartz cementation of the sediment. Their occurrence probably has been overlooked in other sandstones showing diagenetic apatite dissolution. The recognition of such minerals could provide a significant insight into early phosphate diagenesis.