Since the early 1980s, when confidence in institutions was first measured in an Australian academic social survey, Australia - and the world - has faced many political, social and economic changes. From corporate scandals and company collapses, to unprecedented terrorist attacks, to major ongoing international conflicts, to changes in government and all manner of political machinations, to the global financial crisis and its aftermath. One consequence of such developments has been that many major political, social and economic institutions have come under intense pressure. Using survey research data, this paper investigates how public confidence in various Australian institutions and organisations has changed over time. The results are variable and in some instances surprising. Confidence in some institutions has remained high, and in some low, over an extended period of time. In other cases, confidence has varied quite markedly at different time points. As well as looking at trends in the level of public confidence in institutions, the paper examines different dimensions of confidence together with underpinning socio-political factors. It also discusses theoretical and practical implications of the data.