This paper reviews previous research and current practice in timber connection design in Australia with reference to methods of deriving design information from test data for nails and screws. The two key documents for timber connection design in Australia are AS 1720.1 design of timber structures and AS 1649 test methods and evaluation of timber connections. These documents have a long history of development, with major changes in design methodologies – from deterministic working stress design to probabilistic limit state design. The supply chain for timber connections has changed with a reduction in the utilisation of timber species and an increase in new fasteners developed for specific purposes. A new approach to the design of timber connections has been proposed to cope with the changing situation. The review is of historic interest but also to ensure that the proposed new approach is consistent with past developments.