50 Years Steaming in Victoria's Western District

The steamship SS Casino served the Western District of Victoria for almost fifty years during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

A popular cargo ship, the Casino was a regular sight on the Moyne river and along the coast. The ship was an integral part of coastal life until she was shipwrecked in the 1920's, and objects from the Casino can now be found in collections from across the region and gathered here on Victorian Collections for the first time.

Transporting large quantities of wool, potatoes, onions, grain, sheep, cattle and other produce provided a great economic opportunity to business men in Port Fairy and in March, 1882, the Belfast & Koroit Steamship Company was formed with a capital of £20,000 in 10,000 shares. The SS Casino on her delivery voyage from England was due in Warrnambool to load potatoes for Sydney and the Directors inspected and purchased her there.

She arrived in Port Fairy on 29th July, 1882, steaming triumphantly up the Moyne River, and was greeted with cheers by a large crowd, many of whom had come from the surrounding countryside. She operated alone for almost all of the next 49 years. She was much loved by the whole Port Fairy community and the coastal ports that she serviced, bringing news and goods from far away and transporting passengers.

A celebration for the Casino's fiftieth anniversary was planned for the 29th July, 1932. Unfortunately soon after 9 o'clock on the morning of Sunday I0th July, 1932, disaster struck when the Casino was lost at Apollo Bay together with the lives of the Captain and 9 crew members.