SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - An Australian couple have been handed long prison sentences for sexually abusing, torturing and locking up their daughter for more than 15 years.

Sydney District Court was told the father used a number of sharp tools to rape and torture the girl.

The girl was tied up in a shed or a plastic box for up to three days at a time at the family's property in rural Northern New South Wales. She was first abused by her father at 5 years old.

The court heard he held the girl's head under water in a creek, wrapped her in barbed wire, threatened her with a chainsaw and forced her to eat hot chillies.

Presiding Judge Sarah Huggett called the crimes as "atrocious in the extreme" and described the father as "selfish, depraved and sadistic".

The father, aged 59, was convicted of 73 offences and sentenced to 48 years in prison - he will be eligible for parole after serving 36 years.

By Matt Payton