Helen Haines was the underdog, an independent not supposed to be able to overcome the favoured Liberal candidate - but on Saturday night she did just that.
When counting finished for the night, although she was 1426 behind Liberal Steve Martin on first preferences, she had 51.93 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.
"We have made Australian federal history, never before in the 118 years of Australia federation has an independent followed an independent," she said after claiming victory.
"The Coalition threw everything at Indi, but we threw our people at Indi.
"We've known right from the beginning that if we stick together, if we adhere to the values that we hold so dear, that we had the power within our communities to take on the biggest opponents in the country - and we've done it tonight."
Dr Haines narrowly won most booths across Indi on two-candidate preferred numbers and the result appeared too close to call for much of the night until news came through that the Liberals had won the Wodonga pre-poll, which had the highest numbers by far, by a just a few votes.
That was enough for her team to know they could not be beaten.
"So many people said to us 'you'll never pull it off', but we trusted ourselves and we did," Dr Haines said.
"This has been longest job interview I have ever been on.
"I am overwhelmed, I am grateful, I am humbled and I am a citizen of Indi as you are."
Mr Martin sent Dr Haines a message on Saturday night to say congratulations, but he would not be conceding the seat just yet.
Postal and absentee votes are still to be counted.
As a member of a new crossbench, Dr Haines said her priority was to push the Coalition "to bring to Australia decent action on climate".
They would not be allowed to forget the election promises made during the campaign either.
"I'm going to be hardworking, decent and honest and keep the Coalition to their promises," Dr Haines said.
She had been selected as the next independent by political group Voices for Indi in January, and invited the group's leaders John Davis and Alana Johnson to speak and celebrate in the victory.
"What we have achieved in Indi over the past five weeks is far bigger than Indi," Ms Johnson said.
Indi 'gets it', says proud Cathy McGowan
Cathy McGowan stood with pride as she watched successor Helen Haines claim victory and stand on stage on Saturday night, holding the symbolic orange baton that was passed to her back in January.
The retiring member for Indi said her successor would make a "fantastic" MP, but the victory was also one for the people and the "orange independent" movement.
"I'm proud and happy and I love that the community get it," she said.
"This gives me great hope for Australia."
Ms McGowan was first elected in 2013 to replace Liberal Sophie Mirabella, but said Dr Haines' victory showed there was more to Indi's decision to elect independents than just a protest vote.
"Tonight shows this was not a Sophie thing and it's not a Cathy thing, it's actually a community thing," she said.
Both Ms McGowan and Dr Haines congratulated the six other candidates who ran in Indi for making it such a close race.
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