Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections are emerging in southeast Queensland, Australia, but the incidence of carriage of CA-MRSA strains is unknown. The aim of this study was to assess the nasal carriage rate of S. aureus, including CA-MRSA strains, in the general adult population of southeast Queensland. 396 patients presenting to general practices in two Brisbane suburbs and 303 volunteers randomly selected from the electoral rolls in the same suburbs completed a medical questionnaire and had nasal swabs performed for S. aureus. All isolates of S. aureus underwent antibiotic susceptibility testing and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and binary typing, including determination of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL). The nasal carriage rate of methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) was 202/699 (28%), a rate similar to that found in other community-based nasal carriage studies. According to multivariate analysis, nasal carriage of S. aureus was associated with male sex, young adult age group and Caucasian ethnicity. Only two study isolates (one MSSA and one CA-MRSA) carried PVL. The nasal carriage rate of MRSA was low, at 5/699 (0.7%), and only two study participants (0.3%) had CA-MRSA strains. CA-MRSA is an emerging cause of infection in southeast Queensland, but as yet the incidence of carriage of CA-MRSA in the general community is low.