The World's Oldest Message In A Bottle Has Washed Up On The Beach In Australia

Mar | 223 sharesOlivia Morton

Walking along the beach, you never know what you may find. Be it treasure or junk, you are always bound to stumble upon something that will make you stop for a closer look.

It's why you see hundreds of people scanning every inch of the shoreline with metal detectors, sifting through the sand trying to find something of value. It may seem like a ludicrous and time-consuming hobby, but it can be extremely profitable.

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Over the years, those with enough patience have been lucky enough to discover gold, jewels and priceless relics washed up on the beach. Once precious cargo on a doomed ship, these items now lie in the sand for anyone to claim.

Check out the video below for more on this incredible discovery:

Of course, you need to be in the right place at the right time in order to snag something worthwhile, just like Tonya Illman who stumbled upon a 132-year-old message in a bottle on Wedge Island in Western Australia.

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Illman was originally attracted to the distinctive and unique glass bottle for she thought it would be an eye-catching addition to her bookcase.

However, under further inspection, Illman and her husband, Kym, discovered a rolled up manuscript written in German. The note was dated back to June 12, 1886, making it the oldest letter in a bottle to ever be discovered.

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Prior to this, the oldest bottle to ever have been discovered was 108 years old.

The bottle, discovered on a beach in Germany, was launched in 1904 as part of a marine experiment in Plymouth, England. The study, which saw 1,000 bottles be released, aimed to study the oceans currents. Each one contained a note which asked the finder to return the bottle for one shilling compensation. Before that, a 99-year-old bottle was found on the Shetland Islands in Scotland.

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At 132-years-old, Illman's discovery is by far the oldest. The gin bottle and its German note has been authenticated by the Western Australian Museum, who believe that the bottle was hurled from a German sailing ship attempting to find efficient shipping routes.

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Between 1864 and 1933, German sailors threw thousands of bottles into the water as they tried to track the currents of the ocean, which is why each bottle contains a note with the ship's coordinates, name, and the date.

The note also requested that those who found it wrote a letter to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg with their own location details.

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"I picked it up thinking it might look nice on display in my home," Ms Illaman explained. "When I got back to the car, I handed it to my son’s girlfriend, Bree Del Borrello, to mind while I helped my husband get my son’s car out of the soft sand."

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Ms Del Borrello then looked inside to find what she originally thought was a cigarette. Under closer inspection she found it to be a tightly-rolled note. They took the message home to dry out and soon realized that there was much more to it than they first thought!


Of course, the bottle is now of very little assistance to marine researchers. But no doubt there are a lot of questions being asked about where the bottle has been for the past 132 years!