Victorian brown coal occurs in five major lithotypes distinguishable by color index and petrography. Advantage has been taken of a rare 100 m continuous core to compare and contrast chemical variations occurring as a function of lithotype classification. For many parameters there is a much greater contrast between the different lithotypes than there is across the depth profile of (nearly) identical lithotypes. Molecular parameters, such as the distributions of hydrocarbons, fatty acids, triterpenoids and pertrifluoroacetic acid oxidation products, together with gross structural parameters derived from IR and **1**3C-NMR spectroscopic data, Rock-Eval and elemental analyses and the yields of specific extractable fractions are compared. Correlations with paleobotanical assessments of the environments of deposition of the lithotypes are suggested.