In 2008 and 2009 increased numbers of pertussis notifications were reported in NSW. During the epidemic period, the pertussis notification rate was 2.7 times higher than the previous 5-year average. Rates of pertussis notifications and hospitalisations were highest among infants aged less than 1 year across all years studied. Compared to previous years, the notification rate for children aged 1–4 years increased dramatically and was particularly striking for children aged 3 years with notifications exceeding those for infants in 2009. Changes in testing practices during the epidemic period, including a significant increase in the use of polymerase chain reaction, may account for some of the relative increase in size of the 2008–2009 outbreak compared with previous outbreak years.