In the summer of 1988/89 flights were carried out in the Coorong coastal area of South Australia to investigate sea-breeze fronts. The flights yielded data sets of the structure of the fronts in the cross-frontal direction with a spatial resolution of approximately 3 m. The study is focused on the budgets of sensible and latent heat in the vicinity of the front and on frontogenesis/frontolysis processes which are closely related to budget considerations. The frontogenesis relationships and the budgets were established on a 2 km length scale by low-pass filtering of the space series. As the wind components were measured with high accuracy, all processes which determine frontogenesis could be evaluated and are displayed in x,z-cross-sections: these are the confluence, shear and diabatic effects, all of which play a role in ∂q/∂x-, ∂q/∂z-, ∂θ/∂x- as well as ∂θ/∂z-frontogenesis. A detailed analysis is given for two different states of frontal development. The presented results shed much light on the governing physical processes in the frontal region with strong emphasis on the effects of confluence-generated updrafts, on shear instabilities causing bulges and clefts in the frontal surface as well as producing the elevated frontal head, and on processes related to differential heating and moistening.