The Matildas captain won a penalty in the 20th minute and though her initial spot-kick was saved, she made no mistake on the rebound as she calmly slotted the ball home.
Kerr then opted pull out Tim Cahill's iconic boxing celebration as she savoured her first World Cup goal.
Great start and loving the celebration. Let's see if we can build on this and add another. 💚💛⚽️ pic.twitter.com/B8sYV6fxuQ— TIM CAHILL (@Tim_Cahill) June 9, 2019
Kerr's strike, the 32nd overall for her country, would ensure the Matildas went into half-time with a 1-0 lead after Italy had an earlier effort ruled out for offside.
Despite becoming a prolific goal scorer for Australia in recent years, Kerr had been unable to find the back of the net in her previous two World Cup campaigns but was always likely to break that drought in France.
The 25-year-old looked dangerous from the outset against Italy and though her penalty left something to be desired, her follow-up and celebration has left a whole nation cheering for joy.