Objective: To describe the history of the Tobacco Institute of Australia (TIA), particularly regarding connections between local and international cigarette manufacturers and tobacco organisations. Design: Analysis of 4541 industry documents from the world wide web. Results: From 1978 to 1983 the TIA built strong international networks via ICOSI/INFOTAB and the US Tobacco Institute, and defended existing industry freedoms. 1983 to 1989 was the TIA's aggressive heyday, led primarily by John Dollisson. From 1989 to 1994, following the decision in Australian Federation of Consumer Organisations vs TIA, local and international industry lawyers assumed control. Between 1994 and 1997 a brief revival led into decline and then dissolution, as previously common ground became commercially competitive issues for the manufacturers. The TIA facilitated interconnectedness: between local manufacturers; via individuals who played multiple roles; to international tobacco organisations; through the industry's local and international counsel; and by acting as a conduit for information. Conclusion: The local tobacco industry was comprehensively informed on issues including smoking and health, and connected to the international industry, via the TIA. The manufacturers were closely involved in the TIA's activities, and cooperated through the TIA in a manner detrimental to Australian consumers. The TIA's conduct was the responsibility of local and international manufacturers and their counsel.