The research reported in this paper describes and analyses the pattern and evolution of human resource development (HRD) in Australian organisations over the period 1996-2009. Based on the conceptual academic literature, received wisdom amongst practitioners and the extant empirical research, it is hypothesised that the HRD practices of Australian organisations will have become more elaborate and extensive. Quantitative data from 793 organisations in Australia is analysed from three iterations of the CRANET Australia survey in 1996, 1999 and 2008/9. The results indicate only limited and partial support for the hypothesis. Only those HRD practices regarding career development and performance appraisal have significantly increased in sophistication over time. In contrast, the HRD practices relating to the evaluation of the effectiveness of training have declined in sophistication over the observed period. Evidence from this study, therefore, suggests an inconsistent pattern in the developmental trend of HRD in Australian organisations, with linear increases evident amongst certain practices and between particular points in time and declines in other areas of practice.