To evaluate the use of the freshwater bivalve Hyridella australis as a potential biomonitor for zinc contamination in freshwater sediments, the bioavailability and toxicity of zinc contaminated sediments (low 44. ±. 5, medium 526. ±. 41, high 961. ±. 38. μg/g dry mass) were investigated in laboratory microcosms for 28 days by examining H. australis exposure-dose-response relationships. Zinc concentrations in sediments and surface waters were measured as zinc exposure. Zinc in whole organism soft body tissues and five individual tissues were measured as organism zinc dose. Sub-cellular localisation of zinc in hepatopancreas tissues was investigated to further understand the zinc handling strategies and tolerance of H. australis. Total antioxidant capacity, lipid peroxidation and lysosomal membrane stability were measured in hepatopancreas tissues as zinc induced biomarker responses. Accumulated zinc concentrations in whole body tissues of H. australis reflected the zinc exposure and exhibited exposure dependent zinc accumulation at day 28. Gills accumulated significantly higher zinc concentrations than other tissues, however, no significant differences in zinc accumulation between treatments were detected for any of the individual tissues analysed. Analysis of individual tissue zinc concentrations, therefore, may not offer any advantages for monitoring bioavailable zinc in freshwater environments with this organism. Relationships between tissue zinc and calcium concentration suggest accumulation of zinc by H. australis may have occurred as an analogue of calcium which is a major constituent in shell and granules of unionid bivalves. A high percentage of accumulated zinc in the hepatopancreas tissues was detoxified and stored in metallothionein like proteins and metal rich granules. Of the zinc accumulated in the biologically active metal pool, 59-70% was stored in the lysosome. +. microsome fraction. At the concentrations tested, increasing zinc exposure resulted in decreasing total antioxidant capacity and measurable increases in the sublethal effects, lipid peroxidation and lysosomal membrane destabilisation, were observed. Based on exposure-dose analysis, H. australis partially regulates zinc uptake and weakly exhibits bioavailability of zinc in freshwater environments, however, exposure-response analysis shows zinc induced toxicological effects, suggesting the potential of this organism as a biomonitor for zinc in heavily contaminated freshwater environments.