The Mount Torrens state heritage area is an outstanding example of a 19th century settlement in the Adelaide Hills. It is also associated with South Australia's transport history, particularly the River Murray steamer trade, and with the life and work of George Dunn.
The township of Mount Torrens is east of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty Ranges. It lies in a valley at the base Mount Torrens, between Birdwood and Woodside.
The state heritage area covers a rectangular area along Townsend Street, between the Adelaide Tungkillo Road and Mount View Road. Most of the historically significant buildings and structures are located in this area. St George's Church, the cemetery and the Adelaide Road entrance to the township are also included.
Most of the buildings in Townsend Street (especially on the western side) were built by 1870, and many retain early outbuildings or other features such as drains, paths and gardens.