Understanding the habitat requirements of a species is critical for effective conservation-based management. In this study, we investigated the influence of forest structure on the distribution of the yellow-footed antechinus (Antechinus flavipes), a small dasyurid marsupial characteristic of dry forests on the inland side of the Great Dividing Range, Australia. Hair-sampling tubes were used to determine the occurrence of A. flavipes at 60 sites stratified across one of the largest remaining tracts of dry box–ironbark forest in south-eastern Australia. We considered the role of six potential explanatory variables: large trees, hollow-bearing trees, coppice hollows, logs, rock cover and litter. Logistic regression models were examined using an information-theoretic approach to determine the variables that best explained the presence or absence of the species. Hierarchical partitioning was employed to further explore relationships between occurrence of A. flavipes and explanatory variables. Forest structure accounted for a substantial proportion of the variation in occurrence of A. flavipes between sites. The strongest influence on the presence of A. flavipes was the cover of litter at survey sites. The density of hollow-bearing trees and rock cover were also positive influences. The conservation of A. flavipes will be enhanced by retention of habitat components that ensure a structurally complex environment in box–ironbark forests. This will also benefit the conservation of several threatened species in this dry forest ecosystem.