Cellulose nanofibres have been fabricated by electrospinning of a cellulose acetate solution followed by deacetylation. The cellulose nanofibres were then carbonized using temperatures in the range 800-2200 C and the resulting carbon nanofibres (CNFs) were characterized using transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. A graphitic structure was observed for CNFs treated at a relatively low temperature of 1500 C, with no obvious skin-core heterogeneity observed for fibres treated up to 2200 C, suggesting a possible advantage of using nano-scale precursors. The effective Young's modulus of the CNFs was assessed using an in situ Raman spectroscopic technique following the shift in the position of the G′ (2D) band located at ∼2660 cm -1 and relating this to a calibration established for a range of other carbon fibres. Using this approach the moduli of the CNFs were found to be ∼60 and ∼100 GPa for samples carbonized at 1500 and 2200 C, respectively. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.