The Roses came from eight points down to win 56-55 in South Africa
England erased an eight-point deficit to claim their first Netball World Cup win over Australia at the 14th attempt and secure top spot in Group F in Cape Town.
Jess Thirlby’s side stormed back towards the end of the third quarter and Fran Williams’ crucial interception in the dying seconds earned an historic 56-55 win.
Both teams had already secured progression from the group stage into the last four and their win means England will face defending champions New Zealand in the semi-final.
Thirlby told BBC Sport: “It’s a massively important moment for this group because it adds to our confidence bank, but we know it means nothing if we can’t follow it up.
“I think it’s the fact we were eight down and then to be pushed in the last 15 minutes and still come out on top, I don’t think you can under-estimate mentally what that tells you about where this group is at.”
New Zealand fell to a comprehensive 59-48 defeat to Jamaica in their final round-robin game.
The Silver Ferns have stumbled through the tournament but reached the last four after hosts South Africa failed to make up a daunting goal difference of 64 in their last group game against Uganda.