Historical information

This book is titled "The Romance of the "Edina" and was written by author C. Dickson Gregory (Charles Dickson Gregory) in 1935. The author has also written, "Australian Steamships Past and Present".

This book also contains
(1) The Port Phillip Bay Steamers from 1850 to 1935
(2) The history of the celebrated auxiliary steamship "Great Britain."


The three-masted iron screw steamer SS Edina was built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1854 by Barclay and Curle. She was adorned with the figurehead of ‘fair maid of Judea’. The many years of service made SS Edina famous world-wide as the longest-serving screw steamer. (The term screw steamer comes from being driven by a single propeller, sometimes called a screw, driven by a steam engine.)

SS Edina’s interesting history includes English Chanel runs, serving in the Crimean Ware carrying ammunition, horses and stores to the Black Sea, and further service in the American Civil War and later, serving in the western district of Victoria as well as in Queensland and carried gold, currency and gold prospectors Australia to New Zealand. SS Edina had the privilege of being an escort vessel to H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh during his visit to Australia in 1867.

In March 1863 SS Edina arrived in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne and was bought by Stephen Henty, of Portland fame, to work the cargo and passenger run from Melbourne – Warrnambool – Port Fairy - Portland. After a short time of working the run from Australia to New Zealand, with passengers and cargo that included gold and currency, she returned to her Melbourne - Warrnambool – Port Fairy run, with cargo including bales of wool produced in the western district of Victoria.

The Warrnambool Steam Packet Company purchased SS Edina in 1867; she was now commanded by Captain John Thompson and Chief Engineer John Davies. She survived several mishaps at sea, had a complete service and overhaul and several changes of commanders.

In 1870 SS Edina was in Lady Bay, Warrnambool, when a gale sprung up and caused a collision with the iron screw steamer SS Dandenong. SS Edina’s figurehead was broken into pieces and it was not ever replaced.

SS Edina was re-fitted in 1870 than was used as a coastal trader in Queensland for a period. She was then brought to Melbourne to carry cargo and passengers between Melbourne and Geelong and performed this service 1880-1938. During this time (1917) she was again refitted with a new mast, funnel, bridge and promenade deck, altering her appearance.

In 1938, after more collisions, SS Edina was taken out of service. However, she was later renamed Dinah and used as a ‘lighter’ (a vessel without engine or superstructure) to be towed and carry wool and general cargo between Melbourne and Geelong.

In 1957, after 104 years, the SS Edina was broken up at Footscray, Melbourne. Remains of SS Edina’s hull can be found in the Maribyrnong River, Port Phillip Bay.

A Brief Review of Steam Navigation in Victoria; C Dickson Gregory; Centenary Maritime Exhibition catalogue, 1934; published by Shiplovers' Society of Victoria
Dandenong, Passengers in History, http://passengersinhistory.sa.gov.au/node/924034
Edina, Victorian Heritage Database VHR S199 http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/shipwrecks/heritage/199
SS Edina, Coastal Trader and Passenger Ship 1853-1938, Museum Victoria Collections, https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/6227
SS ‘Edina’ – the Longest Serving Screw Steamer in the World, POI Australia, https://poi-australia.com.au/ss-edina-the-longest-serving-steamer-in-the-world/ ]


This book about the SS Edina is significant for its association with the screw steamer SS Edina.

The SS Edina is heritage listed on the Victorian Heritage Database VHR S199. She had endeared herself to the people of Port Phillip Bay as a passenger ferry, part of their history and culture. She played a significant role in the Crimean War, the American Civil War and the gold rush in New Zealand. She also served western Victoria for many years in her cargo and passenger runs.

The SS Edina is famous for being the longest serving screw steamer in the world. After spending her first nine years overseas she arrived in Melbourne and her work included running the essential service of transporting cargo and passengers between Melbourne and the western Victoria ports of Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Portland.

The SS Edina was purchased in the late 1860’s by local Warrnambool business, the Warrnambool Steam Packet Co. and continued trading from there as part of the local business community.

The SS Edina’s original ‘fair maid of Judea’ figurehead was broken to pieces in a collision with another vessel (the SS Dandenong) in a gale off Warrnambool, Victoria, in 1870.

Physical description

The Romance of The "Edina"; the World's oldest screw-steamship, by C Dickson Gregory (Charles Dickson Gregory).
Hard cover book with black print on cream coloured jacket, covered in clear plastic. Front cover has a black and white photograph of the steamship and is titled " "Edina" as she is today."
With chapters on the Auxiliary Steamship "Great Britain" and the Port Phillip Bay Steamers Past and Present.
Published in Melbourne by Robertson & Mullens Ltd.
Opposite fly page is a picture from a painting by C. Dickson Gregory titled "Edina in the "roaring forties" in Feburary 1863"
The book contains 43 illustrations and one plate in full colour showing the Edina in full sail.
The price is printed on the jacket "PRICE: SEVEN SHILLINGS AND SIXPENCE"