It took 65 minutes for the first try of the game as defence dominated the contest, with Bundee Aki putting the world number one Irish in front.
Jordan Petaia answered back for the Wallabies, setting up a grandstand finish for Dave Rennie's men, who lost Rob Valetini (ankle), Dave Porecki (concussion), Hunter Paisami (knee), Taniela Tupou (Achilles) and Andrew Kellaway (toe) throughout the physical encounter.
A 76th-minute penalty to Ross Byrne proved the difference, with the visitors' late gamble to hunt for the win proving unsuccessful.
“It was gutsy, we hung in the fight,” Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said after the match.
“There was a fair bit of adversity tonight…We ended up having to play with 13 so huge amount of character.
“There’s frustration because we had our opportunities. You have to give credit to the Irish defence, gutted for the boys because it was very winnable.”
The Wallabies looked to put last week’s defeat to Italy behind them as they enjoyed the majority of the attacking opportunities in the first half with little success.
The visitors showed promise early on as Nic White looked to dived over for the first try inside three minutes before it was brought back for a neck roll at the ruck by Dave Porecki.
The neck roll became a central focus of the first half as both teams drew the ire of referee Ben O’Keefe.
They then suffered a blow with Hunter Paisami forced off the field with a knee injury, with the world number one Irish opening the scoring via a Jack Crowley penalty, the lone points of the first half.
Paisami was shortly followed off by Porecki, failing his HIA.
The Wallabies ended up feeling the brunt of Keefe's eventual warning as yet another neck roll saw Folau Fainga’a sent for ten just before the end of the first half.
Sensing an opportunity, the hosts marched onto the attack after the break with the Wallabies forced down to 13 as a result of having both hookers on the sidelines, leading to uncontested scrums.
The Wallabies' defence proved heroic, with Michael Hooper time and time again getting over the ball to force the turnover
This was complemented by a great scramble tackle from Bernard Foley to put Mack Hansen into touch, stopping a certain try to Jamison Gibson-Park.
As they returned to 15, the injury carnage continued for the visitors as Rob Valetini limped from the field.
It went from bad to worse minutes later when Taniela Tupou’s first carry ended in disaster, collapsing to the ground with a non-contact injury, stretched off the field with an apparent Achilles problem.
The injury came moments after Tupou earned a scrum penalty for the visitors, allowing Foley to level the scores up with 25 minutes to go.
Andrew Kellaway continued the horror night for Dave Rennie’s men as he was replaced with a foot/toe injury, forcing Jake Gordon into the back three.
The Irish’s relentless pressure eventually led to the first try of the game as replacement Bundee Aki powered over the line to give the hosts a 10-3 lead.
A great run from Will Skelton got the Wallabies back on the front foot and the impressive Jordan Petaia levelled it up as he glided over the line.
Replacement flyhalf Ross Byrne stepped up for the hosts, slotting a penalty 35 metres out from the sidelines to give them a late lead with four minutes to go.
The Wallabies went for the win with time running out, however, an infringement at the maul 10 metres out gave away the ball, with one last attempt from the visitors stifled by the hosts as they held on
CONS: Crowley 1/1
PENS: Crowley 1/1, Byrne 1/1
PENS: Foley 1/2
IRELAND v WALLABIES TEAMS
Ireland: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Mack Hansen, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jimmy O’Brien, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 James Ryan, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Joe McCarthy, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Bundee Aki.
Australia: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Nick Frost, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 David Porecki, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Noah Lolesio, 23 Jordan Petaia.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Tual Trainini (France)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)