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Torrens Island Quarantine Station Tours

Home > Adelaide > Historic Houses | Photography | Places of Interest | Tours | Walks
by Paula McManus (subscribe)
Photography obsessed writer and urban explorer. Lover of nature, art and long weekends. Adelaide, South Australia.
Event: -
Experience and Explore
The Torrens Island Quarantine Station was built in 1879 to prevent diseases like smallpox and typhoid from coming in to Adelaide. It was the front line of South Australia's disease defence.

Torrens Island Quarantine Station
Torrens Island Quarantine Station (©paula mcmanus)

The site was a mini-suburb - fully self-sufficient as you would expect a quarantine station to be. They had their own water and power supply and had their own sewerage waste system.

Fellow WeekendNotes writer, Dave Walsh, has written an excellent article on the history of the Quarantine Station - you can read it here.

Torrens Island Quarantine Station
Torrens Island Quarantine Station (©paula mcmanus)

In 1979, the World Health Assembly declared that smallpox had been eradicated and, with more people travelling by plane rather than by boat, the quarantine station was closed.

It sat in abandoned silence for many years. The buildings started to decay and deteriorate. Grass grows from the gutters, doors and windows hang open and paintwork is cracked and peeling.

The island is now home to a power station, but relics of Adelaide's immigration past still exist.

Torrens Island Quarantine Station cyanide
Torrens Island Quarantine Station (©paula mcmanus)

Many of the buildings are now heritage listed and several times a year the whole site is open for tours. I would highly recommend a visit.

Tours last for approximately 2 hours and it's plenty of time to wander, read, explore and photograph. It's not often that you can see a place full of history - and it's as though the last person who left simply turned off the lights and closed the door. It's a fascinating place and well worth seeing.

Torrens Island Quarantine Station
Torrens Island Quarantine Station (©paula mcmanus)

Torrens Island Quarantine Station is only accessible via authorised tours, bookings are essential and tours fill very quickly, so don't hesitate to book your place.

Sunday 29th March (only 12.45pm and 2,15pm are available)
Sunday 19th April
Sunday 17th May and 24th* May
Sunday 28th June

10am, 11.15am, 12.45pm and 2.15pm.
Please note extra tours on Sunday 24th May - 9.30am, 10.45am, 12.45pm and 2.15pm

What to bring/wear:
It's a walking tour, so wear comfortable walking shoes - you will be walking on gravel paths and in grassy areas.

How much:
$25 per person (no concessions available)

Contact the SA Maritime Museum on 8207 6255 or email

Torrens Island Quarantine Station
Torrens Island Quarantine Station (©paula mcmanus)

Torrens Island Quarantine Station is located approximately 20kms from Adelaide and 7kms from the heart of Port Adelaide.

All tours leave from the Maritime Museum in Lipson Street. There is plenty of free car parking available in and around the Port.
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Why? Explore and Experience
When: Tours run in March, April, May and June
Phone: 8207 6255
Where: Torrens Island Quarantine Station
Cost: $25 per person
Your Comment
Once again, beautiful photography enhances the article immensely
by Steve Hudson (score: 3|1249) 2272 days ago
thanks Paula, really want to go to Torrens Island. You do post some very interesting places to go.
by possum (score: 0|5) 2271 days ago
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