This article describes a pioneering longitudinal investigation from Australia known as the Hunter Community Study (HCS). The HCS investigates retired and near-retired persons randomly selected in a regional area on the heavily populated east coast. As it collects detailed survey, clinical, and biological measures, the HCS is more comprehensive than most other research of this nature. The HCS also has significant occupational implications at an international level, being one of the first Australian studies to take a full, lifetime occupational history linked to job exposures. Longitudinal cohort studies with exposure assessment, such as the HCS offer epidemiologists around the world a clear opportunity for examining and evaluating the long-term risks of employment across a variety of workplace settings. It is only with detailed datasets that continuing progress can be made in elucidating mechanisms of occupational disease causation in the new millennium.