Historical information

This Japanese ceramic vase was recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Casino (1882 – 1932) between the late 1960s to early 1970s. It is one of the shipwreck artefacts in the John Chance Collection.

The design is an example of vintage basket weave pottery. The base of the vase is stamped ‘MADE IN JAPAN’ , which dates its probable manufacture to circa 1921-1932. The vase has side seams indicating that it was made by joining two moulded sides of the vase together, then adding the round base.

The coastal trader SS Casino (1882–1932) had a run of almost 50 years along the coast of Western Victoria. She traded goods and food as well as carrying passengers from port to port on her many voyages. This vase may have been included in her cargo or could have been amongst the personal luggage of the people on board.


The ceramic vase is an example of ceramic pottery in Victoria the 1930s.
The vase is also significant as it was recovered by John Chance, a diver from the wreck of the Loch Ard in the 1960s-70s. Items that come from several wrecks along Victoria's coast have since been donated to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village’s museum collection by his family, illustrating this item’s level of historical value.
The vase is also significant as it is associated with the S.S. Casino, which played an historical role in Western Victoria, providing transport, communication and trade along the coast between Melbourne and Portland in the late 19th and the early 20th century, visiting the ports at Apollo Bay, Warrnambool and Belfast (Port Fairy).
The S.S. Casino was the only regular trader with normal passenger accommodation along the West Coast and the only Western District steamship that was in service between 1854 and 1939, and to be represented in the Victorian Heritage Shipwreck register, and to have been wrecked in the Western District, and to have the wreck located, and to be accessible to divers.
The wreck of the S.S. Casino, and its associated relics, is considered an important part of Victorian and Australian cultural heritage and is now protected as a Historic Shipwreck under State and Commonwealth Law in the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act (1976).

Physical description

Vase, round, cream coloured, unglazed ceramic, basket weave design. Wide mouth, short neck that tapers out to wide shoulders and straight down to round base. Seams on each side, mouth to base. Small handle on each side of vase between mouth and shoulder. Front and back of vase have a plain oval space bordered by a floral design. Inscription stamped onto base. Made in Japan.

Inscriptions & markings

Stamped onto base in black ink "MADE IN / JAPAN"