Walker Street Casino : Photo taken by Bert Webster
Casino's recorded history began in 1840 when squatters
Henry Clay and George Stapleton drove their herds over the Richmond Range from
Tabulam and settled on the Richmond River. To their 30,720 acre grazing run
they gave the name "Cassino".
In 1844, Clark Irving purchased the run and renamed it "Tomki", but the
settlement at the Falls, which was one of the few places a bullock dray could
cross the river in safety, retained the name of Cassino. This was later
changed to Casino, the first official use of the name appearing in a report to
the Surveyor-General by licensed Surveyor F. S. Peppercorne following his
survey of the site for the town in 1855.
The stations immediately encircling Casino were Wooroowoolgan on the south
side of the river Runnymede to the north and Tomki stretching downstream. This
initial period of settlement introduced the pastoral era, which was to prove
the mainstay of the district for many decades. Timber, dairying and beef
cattle have each played their part in the development of the district.
The cedar-getters opened up the country but, with the progressive removal of
the Big Scrub, it has become necessary to manage the remaining forests, both
hardwood and softwood, by sound forest principles including the progressive
expansion of Softwood plantations. The activities of the NSW State Forestry
Commission and timber mills ensure that timber will always be an important
segment of the town's economy.
The development of the district for dairying came slowly, being deferred,
until clearing started by the cedar-getters had spread through the Big Scrub.
Impetus was given firstly with the subdivision of the big squatting stations
and later with the formation of the Casino Co-operative Dairy Society Ltd.
The beef cattle industry, being somewhat later than dairying, has assumed
great importance in the past sixty years. Some of the early expansion of this
industry followed an overseas demand for tallow. Boiling down plants became
part of operations of early stations. The production of tallow as a means of
disposal of surplus stock was virtually abandoned during the Crimean war and
the beef industry, for many years, was substantially restricted to the supply
of local needs. With the growth of overseas demand for Australian beef
however, the industry has successfully entered the overseas market with the
major meat works, the Northern Co-operative Meat Company Ltd. developing at
The steady growth of the population of the town in is indicative of its
progress and prosperity. The population of 1,486 in 1891 had grown to 3,455 by
1929 and is today approximately 11,000 in the Casino township area and
approximately 20,000 in the Richmond Valley Shire area.
The town is built astride the Richmond River 25 metres above sea level and is
very fortunate in being the only town in the district, which is free from
flooding. Its climate is sub-tropical with pleasant summers and warm winters;
the annual rainfall being 1065mm
Casino was termed the "Hub of Summerland" in the 1970's because it was the key
rail and air centre for the Summerland area. It is on the main Sydney to
Brisbane railway line and was until the recent closure the junction for the Lismore and Murwillumbah
line. It is also the junction of the State Highway and principal main roads.
The airport is only one kilometre mile from town and up until recent years was serviced by daily flights to Sydney.
Now the airfield is used only for small planes.
Casino's strong ties with the beef industry have not faltered over the years.
The town has been dubbed the "Beef Capital". The community celebrates and
enhances the title with an annual "Beef Week" festival held in the month of
May. With a positive approach to tourism and a reputation for warm and
friendly people Casino's future is well assured.
Main body of this article was adapted from
"Casino - The "Hub" of Far North Coast of NSW"
Published in 1971