Quartz cementation in sandstones is closely linked to grain coating phases and diagenetic alteration. Grain coatings consisting of illite–smectite stained with iron oxides and hydroxides are able to preserve large amounts of porosity by preventing the formation of syntaxial quartz overgrowth cement. The Penrith Sandstone Formation was chosen as an analogue for Rotliegend reservoirs to test the impact of grain coatings on quartz cementation. This adds to an existing model of cementation. Differences of grain coating coverage can be linked to grain size. Extensive grain coatings are present in finer grained laminae in some samples. Coarser grained laminae contain less extensive grain coatings. The analysis of grain coatings based on standard petrographic analyses is combined with high-resolution QEMSCAN® analyses. Structural features include deformation bands of different ages. Diagenetic alterations around faults, recorded by grain coatings, allow the delineation of relative temporal relations, revealing at least two generations of deformation band formation associated with normal faulting. In the Vale of Eden succession one normal faulting event postdates burial diagenetic quartz cementation as is evident by fault focused fluid flow and associated bleaching of iron and absence of quartz overgrowth.