Wales failed to recover from a first-half horror show as Australia recorded an emphatic 33-12 triumph at the Millennium Stadium.
While the Wallabies romped over for three tries in 16 minutes, Wales lost three players injured - Shane Williams, Leigh Halfpenny and Matthew Rees.
But the casualties could not mask a miserable performance, with centre Digby Ioane, lock James Horwill, flanker David Pocock and substitute hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau all touching down, while fly-half Matt Giteau booted 13 points.
Wales’ points came from three Stephen Jones penalties and an early Halfpenny strike, yet they rarely threatened in attack and were defensively sub-standard.
It was the first time in 11 Tests this year that Wales had leaked four tries or more - and defence coach Shaun Edwards will inevitably conduct a brutal inquest.
Wales boss Warren Gatland, meanwhile, must reflect on the second-heaviest defeat of his 22-Test reign, and the biggest loss in Cardiff that resulted in his team being booed off.
Wales players fell off tackles far too easily, and Australia needed no second invitation to wreak havoc.
In Giteau, Ioane and scrum-half Will Genia, Australia possessed the game’s most creative players, with Giteau bouncing back admirably from his Murrayfield torment last Saturday when a missed injury-time conversion meant Scotland beat the Wallabies 9-8.
The result was never in doubt following Australia’s initial scoring blitz, and a 74,339 crowd was stunned into relative silence for long periods.
The manner of Australia’s win will send shock waves reverberating through the Wales camp.
Currently sixth in the official world rankings, they had backed themselves to end their autumn series by claiming the Wallabies’ scalp for a second successive season.
But all the performance served in doing was providing Gatland with graphic evidence that Wales have a huge amount of hard work ahead if they are to be serious World Cup challengers in 2011.
Wales sorely missed the presence of their injured captain Ryan Jones, while they encountered immense trouble at scrum-time, where Australia’s front-row dominated throughout.