A statewide survey was conducted in Queensland to record all cases of phaeochromocytoma between the years of 1970 and 1983 inclusive. There were 46 cases giving an incidence of 1.55/million population per year. Twenty-nine patients (63%) were successfully treated while 10 patients (22%) died of the tumour effects. Seven cases (15%) were found incidentally at autopsy, though at least one showed diagnostic clinical features before death. Five patients (11%) had extra adrenal phaeochromocytoma, five patients (11%) had multiple tumours, four patients (9%) had multiple endocrine neoplasia and three patients (7%) had clinically malignant tumours. Of 13 patients suffering a major adrenergic crisis only six survived. Five patients with unsuspected phaeochromocytoma suffered crisis under anaesthesia and only one survived. Only one of the patients dying of benign phaeochromocytoma had adequate ante mortem adrenergic blockade. Of all patients in the series 35% were not diagnosed in life.