Comparison of the aeromagnetic signatures and geology of southeastern Australia and northern Victoria Land, Antarctica, with similar data from ancient subduction zones in California and Japan, provides a framework for reinterpretation of the plate tectonic setting of the Pacific margin of early Paleozoic Gondwana. In our model, the plutons in the Glenelg (south-eastern Australia) and Wilson (northern Victoria Land) zones formed the roots of continental-margin magmatic arcs. Eastward shifting of arc magmatism resulted in the Stavely (south-eastern Australia) and Bowers (northern Victoria Land) volcanic eruptions onto oceanic forearc crust. The turbidites in the Stawell (southeastern Australia) and Robertson Bay (northern Victoria Land zones) shed from the Glenelg and Wilson zones, respectively, were deposited along the trench and onto the subducting oceanic plate. The margin was subsequently truncated by thrust faults and uplifted during the Delamerian and Ross orogenies, leading to the present-day aeromagnetic signatures.