Brisbane was wiped off the face of the Earth and Queensland ceased to exist as a political entity under the combined military forces of Victoria and New South Wales during violent conflict at the end of the twentieth century. Brisbane was annihilated because of the un-Christian sins of its people, and the moral corruption of its leaders. The Queensland Defence Force was incapable of defending even itself, let alone defeating the invading troops. The pivotal event in this collapse concerned the alluring performances by a group of ‘lady parachutists’ who entertained the Queensland military forces, thereby distracting them and allowing the opposing forces to easily defeat them at the Battle of Fort Lytton.
That, at least, is the key to the plot of Dr Thomas Pennington Lucas's 1894 dystopian novel The Ruins of Brisbane in the Year 2000. The origin of this ‘lady parachutists’ myth, and the connections between this myth and the end of Queensland civilisation, led me to research a fascinating episode in Queensland's cultural history, and in particular Victorian notions of sexual propriety, ‘true manhood’ and the combined — albeit veiled — threats posed by unfettered female sexuality and male masturbation.