Harmison had been fired up from the first ball, hitting Justin Langer on the elbow, Matthew Hayden on his helmet and skipper Ricky Ponting in the face. I t was in the latter part of the innings that he received tangible reward for his efforts as the Aussies capsized in just 40.2 overs.
But England then had an even more gruelling time as five of its early batsmen were dismissed for just 21 runs. England recovered slightly from the collapse, but still reached only 92 for seven at close of play.
Harmison gave England the early psychological advantage. He was well supported by Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard in an all-pace attack, but the tourists were also guilty of some injudicious shots.
The morning session had seen England quickly seize the initiative after Ponting had decided to bat.
Matthew Hoggard, who had been less than complimentary about the Australians in the build-up to the game, made the initial breakthrough with the final ball of his fourth over when Hayden (12) was bowled with a ball which cut back into him.
The Yorkshire paceman was denied a second victim when Ponting was dropped by Kevin Pietersen at fourth slip before he had scored.
Ponting needed treatment after being hit on the cheekbone by a fiery Harmison after attempting a pull.
And he had made only nine when he pushed forward to Harmison and an edge guided the ball into the hands of Andrew Strauss at third slip.
Justin Langer was looking impressive and had scored 40 off 44 balls with five fours when he attempted to pull Flintoff and only succeeded in skying a catch to Harmison at backward square leg.
Vaughan then brought Simon Jones on for Hoggard and he reduced Australia to 66 for four with his first ball.
Damien Martyn (2) tried to drive at a delivery which bounced a bit higher than he anticipated and Geraint Jones held onto a comfortable catch.
Australia had lost three wickets for 11 runs in 15 balls and England's memorable morning became even better when Simon Jones struck for the second time.
Michael Clarke (11) was trapped lbw by a ball slanting down the leg side. with 'Hawkeye' indicating it would have clipped the top of the bails.
Adam Gilchrist decided that attack was the best form of defence after lunch with a string of boundaries in racing to 26 off 19 balls with six fours.
But Flintoff ended the cameo effort when Gilchrist went for another ambitious shot and only succeeded in nicking the ball through to wicket-keeper Geraint Jones.
Flintoff could not contain his delight and cut an animated figure as he celebrated dismissing a player who has been a thorn in England's side on many occasions.
Shane Warne and Simon Katich added 49 in only eight overs but then Harmison removed both in the space of three balls in the first over after a drinks break.
Warne had his leg stump knocked out of the ground after walking across his wicket, having made 28 from 29 balls with six boundaries.
Then Katich's solid resistance was ended on 27 when he attempted to hook Harmison and only succeeded in top-edging to Geraint Jones who took a well-judged catch running back to leave Australia on 178 for eight.
Harmison was now unstoppable and he polished off the innings by having Brett Lee (3) caught behind and trapping Jason Gillespie (1) leg before.
England v Australia
Lord's Australia Won Toss
Australia First Innings
J L Langer c Harmison b Flintoff 40
M L Hayden b Hoggard 12
R T Ponting c Strauss b Harmison 9
D R Martyn c G O Jones b S P Jones 2
M J Clarke lbw b S P Jones 11
S M Katich c G O Jones b Harmison 27
A C Gilchrist c G O Jones b Flintoff 26
S K Warne b Harmison 28
B Lee c G O Jones b Harmison 3
J N Gillespie lbw b Harmison 1
G D McGrath not out 10
Extras b5 lb4 w1 nb11 21
Total (40.2 overs) 190
Fall: 1-35 2-55 3-66 4-66 5-87 6-126 7-175 8-178 9-178
England First Innings
M E Trescothick c Langer b McGrath 4
A J Strauss c Warne b McGrath 2
M P Vaughan b McGrath 3
I R Bell b McGrath 6
K P Pietersen not out 28
A Flintoff b McGrath 0
G O Jones c Gilchrist b Lee 30
A F Giles hit wicket b Lee 11
Extras lb5 nb3 8
Total 7 wkts (37 overs) 92
Fall: 1-10 2-11 3-18 4-19 5-21 6-79 7-92
To Bat: M J Hoggard, S J Harmison, S P Jones.