Bovine ephemeral fever is a vector-borne disease of ruminants that occurs in tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Australia. The disease is caused by a rhabdovirus, bovine ephemeral fever virus (BEFV), which occurs as a single serotype globally. Although several other closely related ephemeroviruses have been isolated from cattle and/or arthropods, only kotonkan virus from Nigeria and (tentatively) Mavingoni virus from Mayotte Island in the Indian Ocean have been previously associated with febrile disease. Here, we report the isolation of a novel virus (Hayes Yard virus; HYV) from blood collected in February 2000 from a bull (Bos indicus) in the Northern Territory of Australia. The animal was suffering from a severe ephemeral fever-like illness with neurological involvement, including recumbency and paralysis, and was euthanised. Histological examination of spinal cord and lung tissue identified extensive haemorrhage in the dura mata with moderate perineuronal oedema and extensive emphysema. HYV displayed cone-shaped morphology, typical of rhabdoviruses, and was found to be most closely related antigenically to Puchong virus (PUCV), isolated in 1965 from mosquitoes in Malaysia. Analysis of complete genome sequences of HYV (15 025 nt) and PUCV (14 932 nt) indicated that each has a complex organisation (3′ N-P-M-G-GNS-α1-α2-β-γ-L 5′) and expression strategy, similar to that of BEFV. Based on an alignment of complete L protein sequences, HYV and PUCV cluster with other rhabdoviruses in the genus Ephemerovirus and appear to represent two new species. Neutralising antibody to HYV was also detected in a retrospective survey of cattle sera collected in the Northern Territory.