Most information and ideas on regional patterns of climate change and vegetation response within the late Quaternary have been derived from pollen studies in previously glaciated areas of the northern hemisphere, which may not be representative of the terrestrial environments of the world as a whole. This paper presents initial results from a project designed to help redress this global imbalance. Specifically, modern and pre-European pollen samples from 71 pollen diagrams from sea level to ca. 2000m, covering a mean annual precipitation range of 1600 mm and a temperature range of 13°C in southeastern Australia are examined to assess their application to quantitative reconstruction of past regional patterns of vegetation and climate from the fossil pollen data. It is concluded that the pre-European rather than modern pollen samples provide potentially more suitable analogues for past vegetation. A range of climatic indicator taxa are identified, but variability within the pollen data will place some constraints on the degree of resolution achievable in vegetation and climatic reconstructions.