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Wreck DiveWreck Dive | Shore access

Open Water Rated Outside Port Phillip Wreck Dive Site

Iron Steamship | Max Depth: 9 metres (30 feet)

© Unknown

The Casino (aka SS Casino) was an iron steamship which transported cargo and passengers between Melbourne and Portland. In 1932 the loss of the SS Casino deeply affected the communities of Apollo Bay and Port Fairy.

Diving the SS Casino

The SS Casino lies in 9 metres of water on a flat sandy seabed at the northern end of Apollo Bay, almost opposite Wild Dog Creek. It lies 400 metres (1,312 feet) offshore, just beyond the breakers, with its stern to the beach and bow towards the ocean. It lies on its ports side and the remain of the hull are around 50 metres (164 feet) long.

The hull is relatively intact at the bow and near the engine and boiler, but has collapsed towards the stern, exposing the propellor shaft, steering gear and engine. Other features of the site include lifeboat davits, bollards and masts, Remains of the ship's cargo such as fragile newspapers occasionally appear as sands move across the site, occasionally all but burying it.

Even during periods of low swell and calm conditions the site is continuously subject to wave action. The surge causes sand to drift scross the site and reduces visibility. Bottom surge can also make diving uncomfortable.

The Victorian Maritime Archaeology Unit has placed an information plinth on the hull, next to the boiler on the port side of the vessel.

SS Casino Dive Site Map
SS Casino Dive Site Map | © Victorian Archaeological Survey

SS Casino History

SS Casino
SS Casino
© Unknown

The SS Casino is historically significant for its vital role in the Western District coastal and passenger trade. This significance is enhanced by the longevity of the Casino's service to this trade — it was wrecked on the eve of celebrating its 50th anniversary. In September 1998 the wreck of the SS Casino and its associated relics were permanently specially declared to be of historic significance. Of the total of eighteen steamships that served the Western District between 1854 and 1939 there are only four of these vessels represented in the Victorian wreck resource: the SS Champion, TSS Coramba, SS Julia Percy (SS Leeuwin) and the SS Casino. The Casino and Champion are the only two of these wrecks that are located in the Western District, and the Casino is the only one of these that has been located and is accessible to divers.

Built in Scotland in 1882 and powered by steam and sail, the Casino was fast and efficient. During a period of almost 50 years SS Casino made about 2,500 trips between Melbourne and the western ports, including Port Fairy, Apollo Bay and Portland, carrying farm produce and essential supplies: a record unequalled by any other coastal steamer.

On 10 July 1932, a strong south-easterly gale damaged the ship while she was trying to dock at Apollo Bay. The Captain made for the beach but the ship was taking on water rapidly. Several Apollo Bay residents on the shore attempted heroic rescues at great personal risk. Nine people were saved from the raging surf and ten were lost, including the stewardess who had fitted lifejackets to her passengers but did not have time to fit her own.

See also, Heritage Council Victoria: SS Casino,
Heritage Victoria slide collection on flickr: SS Casino,
Australian National Shipwreck Database: S.S. Casino, and
Dive Information Sheet: SS Casino (1882-1932) (Adobe PDF | 165.9 KB).

Latitude: 38° 44.600′ S   (38.743333° S / 38° 44′ 36″ S)
Longitude: 143° 40.750′ E   (143.679167° E / 143° 40′ 45″ E)

Datum: WGS84 | Google Map
Added: 2012-07-22 01:00:00 GMT, Last updated: 2019-03-20 06:10:16 GMT
Source: GPS
Nearest Neighbour: Grange, 3,809 m, bearing 192°, SSW
SS Casino, Iron steamship.
Depth: 9 m.

DISCLAIMER: No claim is made by The Scuba Doctor as to the accuracy of the dive site coordinates listed here. Should anyone decide to use these GPS marks to locate and dive on a site, they do so entirely at their own risk. Always verify against other sources.

The marks come from numerous sources including commercial operators, independent dive clubs, reference works, and active divers. Some are known to be accurate, while others may not be. Some GPS marks may even have come from maps using the AGD66 datum, and thus may need be converted to the WGS84 datum. To distinguish between the possible accuracy of the dive site marks, we've tried to give each mark a source of GPS, Google Earth, or unknown.

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