Lytton is about 10km from the Brisbane CBD. The area has very little residential housing and is mostly commercial and industrial plants as well as a few small farms. Public transport is very limited. The homes in this area are mainly older style homes, built in the post-war years.
The Lytton area was occupied by the Gnaloongpin or Malurbine people. They lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle with several campsites within their area and on adjacent islands. In 1823, Pamphlet, Finnegan and Parsons became the first white people to see the Brisbane River, at Lytton, ‘a place where it was evident the natives … cross over’.
The coast and river provided abundant seafood. Pandanus, bangwall (fern root) and other plants were eaten and small mammals and birds were hunted, particularly the flying foxes on St Helena Island, where inter-tribal feasts and corroborees appear to have taken place. As settlement grew the aborigines were confined to the coastal fringes. While agriculture was not possible, the good fishing and hunting meant that they could survive.
Fort Lytton was established in response to the fear of a Russian invasion in the 1870s and 1880s. To guard the river ‘two six-inch muzzle loading rifled guns and two 64-pounder cannons’ were installed and heavier guns were ‘to face the river and sweep the foreshore’. Barracks were established for the permanent garrison and the soldiers who came to train there. Fort Lytton was maintained for many years as a defence force and thousands of soldiers trained there during the Boer War and two World Wars.