A new diatom record from Lake Euramoo on the Atherton Tableland, north Queensland, Australia is used to assess regional climate change and variability and their links to forcing at a local to global scale. The major factor driving diatom composition in the approximately fifteen thousand-year record appears to be regional moisture availability. Patterns of diatom preservation and other indicators, particularly sediment organic content, suggest that permanent deep water formed at the site from ca. 15,000 cal. yr BP. However, between 13,800 and 11,500 cal. yr BP, there was a notable phase of lower lake levels and effective precipitation. The timing and duration of this phase does not correspond to large-scale climate phenomena such as the Antarctic Cold Reversal or the Younger Dryas and supports emerging evidence for a variable climate regime in the south-west Pacific during the late glacial transition. The Early to Mid Holocene record is one of remarkable stability with 5000 years of sustained dominance by the planktonic diatom Aulacoseira ambigua. Conversely, the Mid to Late Holocene record is marked by distinct diatom variability superimposed on a series of sustained shifts in composition. Accentuated Late Holocene climate variability may aid in explaining intensified land use in indigenous populations and also suggests that Europeans may have arrived in the landscape at the time it was most vulnerable to perturbation.