Australia has a rich record of Precambrian sediments which have led to many significant insights into Earth’s early evolutionary history. From the origin of life and land in the early Earth, to extreme climate change and biotic diversification in the terminal Proterozoic, the Precambrian showcases vast transitions in the Earth’s climate systems, ocean-atmosphere composition and biosphere. In this symposium, leading researchers in diverse fields will examine our understanding of the evolution of Earth’s surface environments through the Precambrian. Questions around the link between environmental conditions and biological innovation will form a large part of the discussion: how and why did life evolve on Earth and how has Earth remained habitable for billions of years? The symposium speakers will focus on integrated geobiological, stratigraphic, sedimentological and geochemical research on Earth’s surface evolution too bring new complexity to our understanding of Precambrian habitats.