Psilocybin is illegal in Australia, and the penalty for possessing and distributing includes a 2-year prison term as well as a fine between $2,200-$5,500. However, this does not reflect the long history that Australia has with psilocybin, and how the country may fit into the global psilocybin renaissance.
The History of Psilocybin in Australia
Indigenous cultures all over the world have a history with psychedelic and magic mushroom use in religious and cultural contexts. Australia has one of the oldest histories of experimenting with elevated consciousness. According to a 2011 paper, there are 10,000-year-old cave paintings at Bradshaw Rock that depict mushrooms. The author concludes this was indicative of thousands of years of psilocybin consumption from Australian aboriginal tribes. In fact, there are more than 20 species of psilocybin producing mushrooms in Australia, the most recent of which was discovered in 2022. While not all of them are native to the continent, many of them are endemic there.
The Future of Psilocybin in Australia
While there is no current legislative action pushing for access to psilocybin, there exists a movement within academic circles. Dr. Alistair McTaggart and the University of Queensland are pushing extensively for more funding into psilocybin research and cataloging. “Our native psychoactive mushrooms are understudied compared to other continents”, Dr. McTaggart explained. He also added that there is evidence indicating some psilocybin mushrooms native to Australia may have been the source of similar mushrooms across Europe and Asia. Making Australia the source of these magic mushrooms across a majority of the world. Furthermore, there are multiple studies being conducted globally into psilocybin’s ability to treat various mental conditions. If enough data can be gathered about psilocybin’s effectiveness in treating these conditions, perhaps the Australian government will be more open-minded about accessing to this substance.
1. Australia, C. D. L. (2022, August 26). Psilocybin and Magic Mushroom Australia Laws. Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia.
2. Society, A. P. (2021, August 15). The Sacred healing of magic mushrooms. Australian Psychedelic Society.
3. Pettigrew, J. (2011). Iconography in Bradshawb rock art: breaking the circularity. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 94(5), 403–417.
4. A trip into the therapeutic potential of Australia’s native magic mushrooms. (2021, August 30). The University of Queensland, Australia. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from
5. Brann, M. (2022, April 2). New species of psychedelic mushroom believed to live in Kakadu National Park. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/
6. Puls, M. (n.d.). How magical are Australia’s native magic mushrooms?
7. Zeiss, R., Gahr, M., & Graf, H. (2021). Rediscovering Psilocybin as an Antidepressive Treatment Strategy. Pharmaceuticals, 14(10), 985. https://doi.org/10.3390/