Objective: To describe the incidence and long-term outcome of non-gonococcal septic arthritis (SA) in Western Australia (WA). Methods: Newman criteria were applied to define culture-positive SA and suspected SA cases in the state-wide West Australian Rheumatic Diseases Epidemiological Registry with longitudinally linked health data for patients >16 years with a first diagnostic code of pyogenic arthritis (711.xx [ICD-9-CM] and M00.xx [ICD-10-AM]) between 1990-2010. Annual incidence rates/100 000 (AIR) and standardized (against WA population) mortality rates/1000 person-years (SMR) and outcomes during 10.1 years follow-up are reported. Results: Among 2633 SA patients (68.6% male, age 47.4 years), 1146 (43.5%) had culture-positive SA. The overall AIR for culture-positive (1.6-6.3) and total SA cases (4.3-12.9) increased between 1990 and 2010 as did age at onset (39.5-54 years) and proportion of females (23-35.6%). Knees (33.6.%) were most frequently affected and 37.1% of cultures showed microorganisms other than Gram-positive cocci. Thirty-day rates for readmission and mortality were 25.4% and 3.2.%. During follow-up rates for serious infections (56.4%), osteoarthrosis (5.2%) and osteomyelitis (2.7%) were higher in culture-positive SA. SMR was increased for all SA patients but especially in those 17-40 years of age with culture-positive SA (24.2; 95% CI 2.3-261). Conclusions: The incidence of SA in WA has risen steeply over 20 years. SA now occurs at higher age, affects females more often with over a third of cases caused by Gram-negative microorganisms. Not only culture-positive, but also suspected SA led to increased bone/joint complications, in-hospital and late mortality.