The town was surveyed by Godfrey Walsh in 1878 and named after Quorndon in Leicestershire, England, as part of the preparations for building the railway line from Port Augusta northwards.
At one time it had ambitions to be the junction between north-south and east-west transcontinental railway lines, but this was not to be, since that junction was eventually settled on nearby Port Augusta clear of the difficult country through the ranges.
Quorn is the headquarters of the Pichi Richi Railway, a tourist railway.
Quorn is the home of the Flinders Ranges Council local government area. It is in the state Electoral district of Stuart and the federal Division of Grey.