Lota, a bayside suburb of Brisbane south of Wynnum, is 16 km east of the city centre. Its southern boundary is a wetland along Lota Creek.
In 1859 waterfront land was subdivided from Lytton to Fig Tree Point (Lota) and sales began in 1860. Irish-born politician and squatter William Duckett White acquired 293 acres and in 1863 erected his two-storey Lota House, the heritage-listed structure now situated in Oceana Terrace opposite the Presbyterian church. Lota was apparently the name of the home in Ireland where White's wife had been brought up. Built of rendered, hand-made bricks and roofed in slate, Lota House was at the heart of a productive estate, with sugar cane and fodder grown on the flats near the creek. Orchards were planted on higher grounds near Macdonald Street.
In 1882 the Manly Beach Estate (north of Lota House) was auctioned and in 1889 the railway line through Lota to Cleveland was opened. There was ample land around Wynnum and Manly to absorb population growth, and in 1911 the first Lota subdivision occurred, east of the railway line. The Lota Park Estate, west of the line, was sold in 1918. Sales were tardy, not all leading to settlement, and several poultry farms were established during the interwar years. A progress association (1920) gathered support for a school of arts in Alexander Street in 1926. Town water was connected by then, and the Presbyterian Church was opened in 1931.
Lota is substantially a postwar suburb. When the State primary school was opened in 1952 it enrolled 152 children. An active local shopping centre sprang up, prospering until the pull of Wynnum's shops, Wynnum Plaza, and the ease of motoring drew patronage away. In 1963 Lota House was converted into an aged-care facility, the Edwin Marsden Tooth Memorial Home. In 1960 the railway line between Lota and Cleveland was closed, leaving Lota as the Train terminal until re-opening of the line in stages between 1983 and 1987.
West of Lota House and the railway line a large area of empty land remained, on which the Wynnum Hospital opened in 1982. The land was one of a number of unused areas, giving Lota a reputation as an under-developed backwater. The beach from Fig Tree Point to Lota Creek, was a popular holiday and picnicking spot from the 1890s onward, and a camping reserve existed until the early 1970s. In 1984 there was an unsuccessful proposal for a canal estate and marina at the mangrove-fringed mouth of Lota Creek. Locals seemed ambivalent about the mangroves: while they were a reason for stopping the canal estate, they also block the water views. Recreationally, a bikeway along the beach, Melaleuca Park on the wetland (1989) and a footbridge over Lota Creek (at last, 2001) have all improved the suburb's amenity.
Lota's census populations have been:
Cherrie Nicholson, Lota - through local eyes: stories of a little-known Brisbane suburb and the people who call Lota home, Brisbane, C. Nicholson, 2002