Kagiso Rabada further enhanced his growing reputation as one of the finest pace bowlers in Test cricket as South Africa took the six wickets required to end Australia's resistance in Perth.
With premier strike bowler Dale Steyn unable to bowl with a serious shoulder injury, Rabada claimed 5-92 to lead the Proteas to a 177-run victory on the final day of the first Test at the WACA.
Usman Khawaja produced a brave display for the hosts, falling just three runs shy of a century, while Peter Nevill's unbeaten 60 also held up South Africa, but ultimately their efforts could not prevent Australia falling to 361 all out and losing an opening Test on home soil for the first time since 1988.
It capped a remarkable fightback from South Africa, who had been bowled out for 242 on the opening day before seeing their hosts romp to 158-0 in reply.
Resuming at 169-4 and still 370 shy of the mammoth 539 target set for victory, Aussie duo Khawaja and Mitchell Marsh (26) formed a stubborn resistance early on.
But Australia's slim hopes of salvaging something from the Test were quickly extinguished by Rabada before lunch.
The quick made the first breakthrough by trapping Marsh with a searing yorker, which was initially given not out on the field and overturned on review.
That left Khawaja as the biggest obstacle for South Africa and he continued to thwart the tourists, who thought they had the top-order batsman pinned lbw but Temba Bavuma's first delivery in Test cricket was a no-ball.
South Africa eventually got their man, with JP Duminy (1-51) claiming the prized scalp after Khawaja fell lbw to a skiddy arm ball as he closed in on a ton.
Rabada struck again with lunch looming, another superb yorker trapping Mitchell Starc (13) on the back foot and leaving the Aussies 263-7 at lunch.
Peter Siddle lasted 32 balls before he was sent back to the pavilion by Vernon Philander (1-55) for 13 as another lbw decision went the Proteas' way, this one plumb in front.
That brought Josh Hazlewood to the crease and he combined in a stand of 65 with Nevill that used up more than 20 overs.
Hazlewood (29) was put down at slip by Hashim Amla off Bavuma (1-29), who had more luck in his next over when inducing a leading edge from the same batsman that looped to cover.
And South Africa did not have to wait long for the final scalp, Keshav Maharaj (1-94) trapping Nathan Lyon (8) - the fifth lbw decision of the six wickets to fall on Monday as the Proteas celebrated taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.