Published: Fri, March 09, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Message in a bottle found after 132 years

Message in a bottle found after 132 years

Researchers working with the Western Australia Museum say the bottle likely washed ashore in Australia approximately one year after it was dispatched from its origin point, some 950 kilometres away.

Back in January, Tonya Illman stumbled upon a 132-year-old message in a bottle on an Australian beach. It would have ruined the note to open it, so they took it home and used a warm oven to dry it.

Illman's husband then spent time researching the message before discover just how far back it dated. The message urged the reader, who will find the bottle, to contact the German consulate, "Tonya Kym Illman's wife describes to the BBC".

The German Naval Observatory wanted to understand how currents worked, so they threw thousands of bottles between 1864 and 1933.

Museum assistant curator of maritime archaeology Ross Anderson said he was surprised the bottle and message were in such good condition.

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The Illmans have loaned their find to the WA Museum to display for the next two years at the WA Maritime Museum in Fremantle from tomorrow.

This undated photo received courtesy from Kym Illman on March 7, 2018 shows an nearly 132-year-old message found in a bottle near Wedge Island, some 160 kilometres north of Perth.

The bottle was claimed to have been found by a group of walkers, nestled in dunes 50 meters inland around 160 kilometers from Perth near Wedge Island.

Ship captains were expected to write in details on one side of the paper - the date it was jettisoned, the co-ordinates, the name of the ship, its home port and travel route.

As part of the experiment, pre-printed message slips were given to ships' captains, who would fill in all the necessary information and throw overboard the corked and sealed bottle at a predetermined location. The experts also found the logbook of the boat in which mention was made of this bottle.

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After a lot of sleuthing, along with help from the Western Australia Maritime Museum, the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency and the German Weather and Climate agency, Illman's family learned about the note's storied history.

Experts said the handwriting of the messages matched original journal entries from the Paula.

The world's oldest message in a bottle has been discovered on a Western Australian beach.

The letter is a hand-written form dated June 12, 1886, and it included the name of the German ship Paula.

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