The development of injury surveillance systems in Australia is described from a public health perspective at the national level. Injury surveillance systems have undergone significant changes in recent years and further developments are planned. Three phases or generations are distinguished, each with distinctive features, advantages, and disadvantages. The first generation system was based on by-product data from routine mortality and morbidity statistics. The second generation system was specifically designed for injury surveillance, mainly using data collected for this purpose in hospital accident and emergency departments. A third generation of public health surveillance systems for injury control is now being developed for Australia. In developing a third generation system, a middle course is being charted. The number of data items and the complexity of classification for routine surveillance are mid-way between those of the first and second generation systems.