World's oldest message in a bottle washed up on Australian beach

07 March, 2018, 00:32 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • The world's oldest message in a bottle

"The date and the coordinates correspond exactly with those on the bottle message".

The bottle had been thrown overboard by the German research ship Paula and - according to the museum had travelled 950km across the Indian Ocean 950km to Australia.

The Wedge Island bottle was thrown from the German barque Paula on June 12, 1886, at 32 degrees 49 minutes latitude south and 105 degrees 25 minutes longitude east - about 900km due west of Mandurah.

Mr Illman's German was not quite good enough to deduce much more of the text, other than the letters "aula" in a naming field, which he guessed might mean the ship was called Paula.

Illman said of the bottle's discovery: "I picked it up thinking it might look nice on display in my home".

"Extraordinary finds need extraordinary evidence to support them, so we contacted colleagues in the Netherlands and Germany to find more information", WA Museum assistant curator maritime archaeology Ross Anderson said.

The previous oldest bottled note was recorded as being 108 years old but this one appears to trump it, given it has the date June 12, 1886. The notes ask the finder of the message to return it to German Naval Observatory in Hamburg or the nearest German Consulate.

Del Borrow looked inside the bottle and saw what she thought was a cigarette, but discovered it was a damp, tightly-rolled note tied with string.

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By comparing handwriting samples from the meteorological journal entries made by the ship's captain and the note, experts were able to confirm the relic's authenticity.

The last bottle and note to be found was in 1934 in Denmark.

Tonya Illman told the reporters that she was on vacation with Kym Illman, her husband when they've stumbled upon a most curious trinket.

You can see photographs of the bottle and message here.

Thousands of bottles were thrown overboard during the 69-year German experiment but to date only 662 messages - and no bottles - had been returned.

The Wedge Island find takes that total to 663, and is the only known example of the type of bottle used.

"To think that this bottle has not been touched for almost 132 years and is in ideal condition, despite the elements, beggars belief".

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