Metal uptake and induced toxic effects on Hyridella australis were investigated by establishing 28 day exposure–dose–response relationships (EDR) of transplanted H. australis at four sites along a sediment metal contamination gradient in the mine affected Molonglo River, NSW. Laboratory exposure of this organism to the same sediments, collected from in situ sites, was run concurrently. Metal concentrations in whole organisms, individual tissues and sub-cellular tissue fractions were measured as organism metal dose. Total antioxidant capacity (TAOC), lipid peroxidation (MDA) and lysosomal membrane destabilisation (LMS) were measured as biological responses. H. australis accumulated significantly higher tissue zinc concentrations compared to the other metals. In situ organisms at the mine affected sites accumulated more metals than organisms in laboratory microcosms. Accumulated zinc, cadmium and the total metal concentrations in whole organism tissues reflected exposure–dose relationships. Sub-cellular analysis showed that most of the accumulated metals, both in the field and laboratory exposed organisms, were detoxified over 28 days exposure. Clear exposure and dose dependent responses of decreased TAOC and measurable increases in MDA and LMS with increased metal exposure and dose were evident in H. australis caged in the river. In contrast, a dose–response relationship was only evident for cadmium in laboratory exposed organisms. Organisms caged at mine affected sites showed stronger EDR relationships than those exposed in laboratory microcosms as they were exposed to additional sources of dissolved zinc and cadmium. Exposure in laboratory microcosms underestimated metal uptake and effects, thus assessment of metal contaminated sediments should be undertaken “in situ”.