Classic descriptive models of barrier sedimentation have been developed with data from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. These models are dominated by low to moderate rates of relative sea level (RSL) rise and wave energy. Barriers respond by landward recycling of sediment through the mechanism of shoreface retreat. Sedimentation processes on the central coast of New South Wales (N.S.W.), Australia, consist of rapid RSL rise in early Holocene times followed by a stillstand since 6500 B.P. Wave energy is relatively high year-round and sand sources for barrier formation are only found on the inner shelf. Barrier sedimentation on the central coast of N.S.W. exhibits a thick, composite sequence composed of a basal marine transgressive sand overlain by regressive beach and dune facies. The Louisiana coast surrounding the Mississippi delta is underlain by compacting deltaic muds which generate very rapid rates of RSL rise. The Louisiana coast experiences low wave energy punctuated by high-energy tropical and extra-tropical storm events. Barrier sediments accumulate from the erosion of deltaic headlands and undergo a transformation from subaerial barrier island systems to subaqueous shoals located on the inner shelf. Drumlins experience coastal erosion on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia and provide a sediment source for compartmented estuary mouth barriers. An ongoing, moderate rise of RSL results from the passage of a glacial forebulge. Wave energy is intermediate between Louisiana and N.S.W. and displays a seasonal pattern dominated by frequent winter storms. Coastal barrier sedimentation is episodic, consisting of a period of beach ridge progradation followed by barrier destruction and re-establishment further landward. The three contrasting sedimentary sequences found in examples from Louisiana, N.S.W. and Nova Scotia indicate that presently available sedimentation models from locations such as the middle Atlantic or Texas coasts of the United States may only represent well-documented regional case studies. A true generalised coastal sedimentation model is required which can identify the parameters controlling vertical and horizontal translation of the depositional surface and provide relationships between these parameters which quantitatively predict the genesis, distribution and geometry of coastal sedimentary facies. ?? 1984.