With 100 metres to go in the 800m final, Luke Mathews was in sixth place, but pulled off a remarkable comeback to win bronze.
A gap opened up on the inside in the final straight and he was able to sprint home to finish third in one minute 45.60 seconds - Australia's first Commonwealth medal in the event since 2002.
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"The Kenyans went and I don't know if I got tired or I tensed up or I freaked out a little bit, but when I got my senses together and relaxed a bit I found another gear and went from sixth to third," said the 22-year-old , who will back up in the 1500m heats on Friday morning.
"I'm happy with (third) but the plan was to win these Commonwealth Games.
"I know I've got another chance (in the 1500m).
"I'm trying to work out whether I'm over the moon right now or disappointed.
"I still get to go home with a bit of hardware, but I'd like to have been at the top of the podium and to hear the national anthem."
Mathews celebrated his medal with what seemed for a while like it would be a never-ending lap of honour.
He embraced his coach and mother Elizabeth, caught up with his father and his sister and even checked in with his brother via Facetime from London.
"As everyone has seen my journey in the last nine months or so it's been an absolute rollercoaster," said Mathews, who dramatically split with coach Nic Bideau on the eve of the 2017 world championships in London.
"To enjoy this with those people who have been there since day one was awesome."
Kenyan Wycliffe Kinyamal won the 800m gold in 1:45.11, England's Kyle Langford was second in 1:45.26 and pre-race favourite Nijel Amos from Botswana trailed home in last spot.