Archaean sedimentary and volcanic successions in the Lalla Rookh Basin and c. 2950 Ma old Whim Creek Belt in the Pilbara Block, Western Australia, were deposited in basins with roughly the same configuration as their present outcrop. Basins were fault-bounded and developed in an ensialic setting, overlying older (3500 to 3300 Ma old); deformed and metamorphosed supracrustal rocks and granitoids. The basin margin faults are now part of a pattern of strike–slip faults which were active during the later stages of regional batholith emplacement. In both cases, structural patterns and style of basin filling are similar to younger basins related to strike–slip faulting. The Lalla Rookh Basin was dominated by coarse clastic sedimentation, comprising alluvial–fan, braided–stream, fan–delta and lacustrine facies. The Whim Creek Belt contains bimodal volcanics and clastic sediments, which comprise alluvial, subaqueous fanglomerate, submarine-fan and basinal facies. Regional strike–slip faulting and the development of the Lalla Rookh Basin and Whim Creek Belt, in response to externally imposed deformation, records an important step in the cratonization of the Pilbara Block. Late Archaean sedimentary basins, dominated by coarse clastic facies and situated adjacent to major strike–slip faults, in other cratons may have a similar origin.