The Australian Venom Research Unit (AVRU) is an internationally recognised interdisciplinary research unit focused on the problem of venomous injury in Australia and the Asia-Pacific. The AVRU was established by Associate Professor Struan Sutherland, formerly of CSL, on the 1st of July 1994 in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Melbourne. This followed an announcement by CSL Ltd (the former Commonwealth Serum Laboratories) that after a 65 year period, its interest in venom and antivenom research was to cease. The announcement was made immediately prior to the launch of CSL Ltd on the Australian Stock Exchange in May 1994. As such the Unit builds on 70 years of expertise concerning venom and antivenom research and advocacy at CSL. CSL assisted in the establishment of the Unit and initial annual funding came from the Victorian Department of Human Services. Since 2002 the Unit has been mostly funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Health and Ageing as well as the Australia Research Council. The Australian Venom Research Unit aims to provide world-class expertise on the problem of Australia's venomous creatures, their toxins and the care of the envenomed patient. The specific objectives of the Unit are described below.