A prospective survey of adult burn patients was undertaken at the Casualty Department of the Royal Brisbane Hospital to determine the epidemiology of burns in the area covered by the hospital. All patients received a proforma when they presented for the first time. 144 people were included in the survey which ran from 1 July to 31 December 1980. Young males of low social status and elderly females, also of low social status, figured prominently. Many burns were the result of hot water or steam. Most patients had no associated medical condition and most people were burnt in or around their homes in daylight hours and at the weekend.