Torrens Island, South Australia (1914–15)

The Torrens Island camp, ten kilometres from Adelaide, housed around 400 German men during World War l. They lived in tents and slept on groundsheets rather than beds. Food supplies to the camp were irregular and the internees were required to do their own cooking on camp fires. While the conditions were difficult, for the first few months the internees made the best of their situation, making plans for a theatre and organising entertainment for themselves.

Internees and their tents in the wet at Torrens Island camp (NAA: MP367/1, 567/3/2202 Part 6)

The situation changed in early 1915 with the appointment of Captain GE Hawkes, under whose command the internees faced ill-treatment and physical abuse as well as the poor living conditions. After the internees made their grievances publicly known, Captain Hawkes was removed from command, the camp was closed and the internees were transferred to Holsworthy in New South Wales. Two Courts of Enquiry were held into the matter.

Internees at Torrens Island camp (NAA: MP367/1, 567/3/2202 Part 6)

Records

The National Archives holds records about the Torrens Island camp. A selection of these is listed below.

Collection references

 Title or description of recordDate rangeSeries number
ItemThis six-part file contains records of the Court of Enquiry into Captain Hawkes and events at the Torrens Island camp. It contains reports, statements, transcripts of evidence, correspondence and photographs.1915–19MP367/1, 567/3/2202 part 1
ItemThis six-part file contains records of the Court of Enquiry into Captain Hawkes and events at the Torrens Island camp. It contains reports, statements, transcripts of evidence, correspondence and photographs.1915–19MP367/1, 567/3/2202 part 2
ItemThis six-part file contains records of the Court of Enquiry into Captain Hawkes and events at the Torrens Island camp. It contains reports, statements, transcripts of evidence, correspondence and photographs.1915–19MP367/1, 567/3/2202 part 3
ItemThis six-part file contains records of the Court of Enquiry into Captain Hawkes and events at the Torrens Island camp. It contains reports, statements, transcripts of evidence, correspondence and photographs.1915–19MP367/1, 567/3/2202 part 4
ItemThis six-part file contains records of the Court of Enquiry into Captain Hawkes and events at the Torrens Island camp. It contains reports, statements, transcripts of evidence, correspondence and photographs. 1915–19MP367/1, 567/3/2202 part 5
ItemThis six-part file contains records of the Court of Enquiry into Captain Hawkes and events at the Torrens Island camp. It contains reports, statements, transcripts of evidence, correspondence and photographs.1915–19MP367/1, 567/3/2202 part 6
Copyright National Archives of Australia 2016