Pre-colonial history

Teerk Roo Ra means “place of many shells”. The island was well used by the Aboriginal groups of Moreton Bay for its rich land and sea resources. Records indicate Aboriginal groups from surrounding areas used Peel Island as a feasting and ceremonial site. Midden sites and a bora ring are a testament to this.

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The island did not attract great interest from the first Europeans to arrive in Moreton Bay. Its usefulness as a place for detention and isolation was recognised later and it became the site of several government institutions.

[extracted from Qld EPA website]

Quarantine Station (1874 - 1890s)

The Colonial governments in Australia were keen to keep contagious diseases out of the country. A location was needed near the mouth of the Brisbane River in which to detain ships passengers and crew who were potentially infected.

In 1874 facilities were provided on the island to house those who had been detained, though conditions were primitive with complaints of sick people having only a tent to protect them from the elements. In summer several ships could be in quarantine at any one time, stretching facilities beyond their limits.

By the 1890s a sharp decline in immigration and a general improvement in public health saw the facility close.

Information on ships quarantined

List of ships, ports of origin, and details of disease [pdf download]

Lazaret (1907 - 1959)

Gazetted in 1906, the north-west corner of Peel Island was established as a place to send people from across Queensland who had been found to have Hansen's Disease (leprosy). Usually forcibly removed from their homes, the Lazaret on Peel Island held people in conditions which were often less than satisfactory. More information...

Post-1959

  • Government looks for development opportunities,
    or selling off land
  • 1968 Church of England Grammar school use
  • 1989 Redland Shire Councile managed Peel Island
  • 1992 Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service given responsibility for managing the island.

Heritage listing

In recognition of its cultural values Peel Island was listed in 1992 on the Queensland Heritage Register and in 1993 on the Register of the National Estate.