Britain's six-player contingent in the main draws was the largest at an overseas grand slam since 1992 but that number was reduced to four within two-and-a-half hours with Watson and Ward suffering straight-set defeats.
Watson was expected to struggle after being drawn against third seed Victoria Azarenka but the one-sided nature of the contest did little to enhance the reputation of the 19-year-old.
Although she started well by winning the opening game on Rod Laver Arena she was then steamrollered as the Belarusian, who claimed the crown in Sydney last week, won the next 12 to secure an emphatic 6-1 6-0 victory in just 67 minutes.
Afterwards Watson admitted she had not done herself justice.
She said: "I played a few good points here and there but I wasn't playing consistently enough. Vika played great and I can't remember her missing a ball, that's why she is number three in the world. But I have to put up a bigger fight than that to get close.
"The first game was good but from there it was downhill.
"It was going very quick and before I knew it the first set had gone, I never really got going.
"I have gained experience from this and I am not too upset because I tried my best even though I wasn't there today."
Ward had a better chance to progress but was ousted by Slovenian Blaz Kavcic, the world No.103.
The 24-year-old Londoner, who came through qualifying to reach the main draw of a slam for the first time outside Wimbledon, was broken six times en route to a 6-4 6-3 6-4 defeat.
The pair traded breaks in the opener but Ward dropped his serve again in the 10th game to concede the set.
Two further breaks followed in the second and in the blazing heat a comeback seemed unlikely.
Ward gave the small army of British fans on court 11 brief hope by establishing a 2-0 lead in the third set but Kavcic hit back to go 5-4 up and he held his nerve to serve it out in two hours and 17 minutes and secure a place in the second round.
"It was difficult out there due to the wind but it was the same for both of us and there are no excuses, it was a tough day," Ward said.
"It's disappointing because I lost. I am not happy about losing any match but it was a good chance. It has gone and I just have to move on and look forward to the next tournament."