Genesee & Wyoming’s involvement in Australia started in 1997, when GWI Australia Pty. Ltd. acquired the assets of Australian National's freight rail business in the state of South Australia from the Commonwealth of Australia and created Australia Southern Railroad (ASR), a wholly owned subsidiary of GWI Australia. ASR's predecessor incurred substantial losses in 1996, yet, on the first day of operations, ASR turned the business into a profitable enterprise.
Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd (GWA) was formed in June 2006 after G&W and its Australian joint venture partner, Wesfarmers Limited, sold their Western Australia operations and certain other assets of the Australian Railroad Group (ARG). G&W purchased Wesfarmers' 50 percent ownership interest in ARG's remaining operations, which are principally located in South Australia and the Northern Territory. The Adelaide-based business was renamed Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd and was a 100 percent-owned subsidiary.
With the 2010 acquisition of the 2,200-km Tarcoola-to-Darwin railway, Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd became the largest of G&W’s operating regions around the world. G&W’s 2015 acquisition of Freightliner added rail services in New South Wales.
In December 2016, GWA effectively doubled in size with the acquisition of Glencore Rail, which hauls approximately 40 million tonnes per year of coal from Glencore mines in the Hunter Valley and had been operated since its inception by Freightliner. G&W simultaneously issued a 49% equity stake in GWA to funds managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), the world’s largest manager of infrastructure assets.