Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae) is a highly invasive mosquito whose global distribution has fluctuated dramatically over the last 100 years. In Australia the distribution of Ae. aegypti once spanned the eastern seaboard, for 3,000 km north to south. However, during the 1900s this distribution markedly reduced and the mosquito disappeared from its southern range. Numerous hypotheses have been proffered for this retraction, however quantitative evidence of the mechanisms driving the disappearance are lacking. We examine historical records during the period when Ae. aegypti disappeared from Brisbane, the largest population centre in Queensland, Australia. In particular, we focus on the targeted management of Ae. aegypti by government authorities, that led to local elimination, something rarely observed in large cities. Numerous factors are likely to be responsible including the removal of larval habitat, especially domestic rainwater tanks, in combination with increased mosquito surveillance and regulatory enforcement. This account of historical events as they pertain to the elimination of Ae. aegypti from Brisbane, will inform assessments of the risks posed by recent human responses to climate change and the reintroduction of 300,000 rainwater tanks into the State over the past decade.