Is patterned neural activity in immature, prefunctioning sensory systems a general phenomenon? Such patterning has been found in the prenatal visual and somatosensory systems. We have now identified patterning in the immature auditory system of a prehearing mammal, the tammar wallaby. Neurones recorded in vivo from the eighth nerve and cochlear nucleus at pouch days 94–122 discharged in bursts with rhythmic inter-spike intervals. Our findings are applied to the argument that neural activity is vital to sensory development.