Chlorophyll a is the most commonly used indicator of phytoplankton biomass in the marine environment. It is relatively simple and cost effective to measure when compared to phytoplankton abundance and is thus routinely included in many surveys. Here we collate 173, 333 records of chlorophyll a collected since 1965 from Australian waters gathered from researchers on regular coastal monitoring surveys and ocean voyages into a single repository. This dataset includes the chlorophyll a values as measured from samples analysed using spectrophotometry, fluorometry and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The Australian Chlorophyll a database is freely available through the Australian Ocean Data Network portal (https://portal.aodn.org.au/). These data can be used in isolation as an index of phytoplankton biomass or in combination with other data to provide insight into water quality, ecosystem state, and relationships with other trophic levels such as zooplankton or fish.