Australian coals tend to be young in geological age and high in ash by world standards; preparation of the coal before marketing is almost universal. On the basis of float and sink data from 39 locations in the eastern Australian coalfields, the coals are place in four categories representing increasing difficulty in their washability characteristics. These seem to be related neither to the geological age nor the geographical position of the deposit and Hunter Valley coals, for example, span all categories. The influence of crushing on the washability of Australian coals is briefly considered and from limited data it is concluded to be appreciably smaller than for British or North American coals. A strategy for the float and sink analysis of Australian coals is proposed and the influence of washability characteristics on current trends in the selection of separating processes for coking and steaming products is discussed.