This paper discusses some topics related to the sampling and laboratory testing currently ongoing on Ballina clay (NSW). Emphasis is made on particular aspects of natural soft clays frequently neglected in laboratory procedures that may affect its mechanical response. Preliminary results are shown to highlight the importance of sample disturbance, salinity and rate effects in Ballina clay. Ongoing research as well as future activities are discussed in the last section of the paper. Implications for the current state of practice as well as the development of new constitutive models for soft clays are highlighted.