The man accused of raping and murdering Irish woman Jill Meagher in Australia will contest the charges against him.

Adrian Bayley, 41, made a brief appearance in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court via video link from the Melbourne Assessment Prison this morning.

The court heard he will contest the allegations at a hearing in March.

The 29-year-old Drogheda woman disappeared while walking home from a bar in Melbourne in the early hours of 22 September last year.

Her body was found in a shallow grave five days later.