The Lower Permian Aldebaran Sandstone is the principal hydrocarbon reservoir in the Denison Trough (Bowen Basin), east-central Queensland, Australia. It accumulated in a wide range of fluvio-deltaic and nearshore marine environments. Detailed petrological study of the unit by thin section, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, electron microprobe and isotopic analysis reveals a complex diagenetic history which can be directly related to depositional environment, initial composition and burial-temperature history. Early diagenetic effects included the precipitation of pyrite, siderite and illite-smectite rims (δ18O (SMOW) =+8.9 to + 11.3‰). Deep burial effects included physico-chemical compaction and the formation of quartz overgrowths, siderite (δ13C(PDB) =−34.0 to + 11.5‰, δ18O =−0.7 to +22.7‰), illite/illite-smectite and ankerite (δ13C=−9.3 to −4.9‰) δ18O=+ 7.6 to + 14.4‰). Involved fluids were in part ‘connate meteoric’ water derived from compaction of the underlying freshwater Reids Dome beds. Important post-maximum burial effects, controlled by deep meteoric influx from the surface, were ankerite and labile grain dissolution and formation of kaolinite (δ18O=+7.8 to +8.9‰, δD=−115 to −99‰), calcite (δ13C=−9.5 to +0.9‰, δ18O=+9.0 to +20.0‰) and dawsonite (δ13C=−4.0 to +2.3‰, δ18O=+9.8 to +19.8‰), the formation of dawsonite reflecting eventual stagnation of the aquifer. Entrapment of contained hydrocarbons was a relatively recent event which may be continuing today. Reservoir quality varies from marginal to good in the west to poor in the east, with predictable trends being directly linked to depositional environment and diagenesis.