The Matildas' have finished what had appeared a positive EAFF East Asian Cup qualification campaign empty handed, after falling to a 2-1 loss to China in Shenzhen on Saturday.
In coach Tom Sermanni's swansong before departing to take the helm of the United States women's team, Australia did not get the draw they required for qualification for the 2013 tournament in South Korea.
They went behind after just nine minutes, when Wang Li Si beat Matildas goalkeeper Brianna Davey from the right of the penalty area.
Australia hit back three minutes later through veteran Kate Gill, but the hosts found the winner through midfielder Zhang Rhui early in the second half.
After a decade in charge of the Matildas across two stints, Scot Sermanni found it hard to sum up his feelings at his impending exit.
"It's difficult to really describe in words, it's a little bit surreal," Sermanni said after the match.
"It's very sad, a little bit sentimental, it probably won’t hit me until I've actually gone because while I'm still here, I'm still in amongst it.
"It's been more than a job for me, for eight years, players have come into the team, you've seen players go on to the next stage of their life and when you’ve been with this team, it's more than just about football.
"That’s the contact I'll miss, with this national team you're 24/7 and I'll miss that."