PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: Post-traumatic amnesia by definition indicates significant impairment of new learning ability, however very few studies have, examined the natural history and resolution of memory and new learning during PTA. Those studies which have, tended to examine orientation separately from the memory processes required to achieve orientation. Analysis of the order of recovery of the items of the Westmead PTA scale was used to examine recovery of memory and new learning capacity. METHODS: The results of daily assessment of 34 patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the Westmead PTA scale were analysed for order of recovery. RESULTS: The pattern of rank order of item recovery indicated that Date of Birth recovered consistently first. There was variability in the remaining items, however items reflecting long-term memory tended to recover second and items reflecting simple new learning followed. Recall of all three pictures reflecting complex new learning recovered last. CONCLUSION: The pattern of recovery of memory and new learning during PTA reflects a number of complex, inter-related variables including; the familiarity with the information, amount of rehearsal both before and since the accident and the number of cues available in the environment.