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Torrens Island was first used by the Kaurna people pre white settlement and in fact only recently 70 of the Kaurna people have been reburied on the Island in an undisclosed location. The first settler to set up there was a gentleman by the name of Isaac Yeo, who established a dairy farm, the ruins of which still remain on the Island today. Isaac was asked to leave the Island once the Quarantine Station was proposed.

It was in 1850 that it was seen that there was a need for a working Quarantine site, especially after two ships arrived, the Trafalgar which carried Typhus and then the Taymouth Castle which carried smallpox. Until this time quarantine had taken the form of just anchoring ships in the gulf until the ‘all clear’ was given. Although there were records of a Quarantine camp on the Island in operation by 1855, a proper station wasn’t established there until around 1877-78. The station was around 551 acres and intended to accommodate 224 people. This Quarantine Station went on to protect South Australians from highly contagious diseases for almost 100 years.

In 1914 an internment camp or as it was called then, a concentration camp was established about 500 metres South of the Quarantine Station. It housed around 400 men of mainly German background. The site of the camp is thought to be now under the power station.

During it’s time the camp had a dubious history. At first it was run fairly and not harshly. However, once a new commander took charge, Capt Hawkes, conditions deteriorated rapidly until it was quietly closed in 1915 and the internees transferred to a more humanely run camp at Holsworthy. A complaint was put in about the treatment of the people under his command which included floggings and bayonet stabbings. He was finally dismissed in 1916 and the official records of the camp destroyed.

During its time in operation 10 deaths were recorded at the Quarantine Station. Four of these people died by 1896 and then in 1918 the troopship Boonah returned from South Africa with the Spanish flu and five of these soldiers died and were buried in the cemetery on the Island. One headstone remains a mystery as the name inscribed on it was found to have died in Launceston and not on the Island.

The last passenger was admitted in 1966 and the last disease of any concern was smallpox. However, after the extinction of this disease, which was declared in 1979, the Quarantine Station was closed to people in 1980. Parts of the Island continues to be used for animal quarantine which has been ongoing since 1879.


Exclusive Ghost Hunt on a seldom visited chapter of our history.

Have you ever wondered if ghostly activity happens during the day?  Well now is your chance to find out!  This tour is conducted in daytime, but don't let this put you off, as we have certainly had results on past tours.  After all, if ghosts are present they should be there day or night!

Explore an Island where disease laid claim to victims and one which hosted the worst run internment camp in Australian history.

Search for the figures that have been reported, including that of a soldier.. before they disappear into thin air!

Try for EVP (electronic voice phenomena) or try for responses on the Ghost Box.  Listen also for those disembodied voices that have been heard on tours before.

This is a Daytime Tour and run on Sun mornings or afternoons.  (Tour will be postponed in Summer if temperature hits 35 degrees).
Minimum numbers need to be reached for tour to go ahead.

4hr tour - $85 pp.
Tours Age 15+  

book now

For More Information

Phone 0407 715 866

Email Haunted Horizons

Information Sources:

NAA - http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs228.aspx
Maritime Museum Handbook

© Alison Oborn - Adelaide Haunted Horizons 2013


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