A novel lyssavirus isolated from Pteropid bats in Australia (Australian Bat Lyssavirus, ABLV) has been characterised using gene sequence analyses, electron microscopy and a panel of monoclonal antibodies. Electron microscopic examination of Pteropid bat and mouse brain material as well as virus isolated from tissue culture medium, showed the presence of bullet-shaped rhabdovirus particles and structures characteristic of lyssavirus. Analysis using nucleocapsid (N) specific monoclonal antibodies, showed a strong relationship between this new lyssavirus and serotype 1 rabies. The nucleotide sequence of the prototype strain of ABLV was determined from the initiator methionine codon for the nucleocapsid protein (N protein) to the amino terminus of the polymerase gene (L protein), a distance of 5344 nucleotides. Comparisons of the deduced N, phosphoprotein (P), matrix protein (M), and glycoprotein (G) proteins showed that ABLV was more closely related to serotype 1 classic rabies viruses than to other members of the Lyssavirus genus. The percent relatedness of the ABLV proteins when compared to the cognate proteins of PV (Pasteur vaccine strain) rabies was 92, 75, 87 and 75% for the N, P, M and G proteins, respectively. Phylogenetic studies of N protein sequences showed clearly that ABLV is an unrecognised member of the Lyssavirus genus and represents a new genotype, genotype 7.