Message in a bottle: 50-year-old note found in Australia before writer is tracked down

Last updated at 16:33
Jyah-with-message-in-a-bottle.Mercury Press
Jyah found a message in a bottle - 50 years after it was sent!

Jyah, 9, has found a message in a bottle - 50 years after it was sent!

**Not only that, but he has tracked down the boy (who is now 63) who wrote it.**

He came across the glass bottle at the bottom of some sand dunes while fishing with his dad Paul off the south coast of Australia.

After noticing the letter was a bit wet inside, Jyah and his dad decided to break the bottle to read the message inside it.

They discovered that the note had been written in 1969 (!) by a then-13-year-old boy called Paul Gilmore from Britain.

"When we smashed it and we saw it was a letter from 1969, we knew it was pretty special," said Jyah's dad.

What did the letter say?

The message describes the young boy's journey travelling on a cruise ship along the southern Australian coast.

He was travelling with his family to Melbourne, Australia from Southampton, England to start a new life. They were on a boat called the Fairstar Sitmar line and the letter was written on the boat's special paper.

He dropped the bottle into the sea when he was "1,000 miles east of Fremantle in Western Australia" (although people have pointed out that he must have meant west!).

The TSS Fairstar Sitmar Line was the ship that brought many people to Australia in the late 1960s, including British immigrants who were known as 'ten-pound Poms', because it cost £10 to travel.

Tracking down Paul

After finding the bottle, Jyah wanted to find the original author of the message Paul - now aged 63. And... he has been tracked down!

the-message-in-a-bottle.Mercury Press
The letter that was written 50 years ago by a British boy travelling to Australia.

Mr Gilmore was amazed to know that his letter had been found.

"It is amazing it has turned up - it was a real surprise 50 years on!" he said.

He now lives in Yorkshire in England, after living in Australia for four years at the age of 13.

On finding the original author of the message, Jyah's mum said: "This is absolutely amazing. We can't believe he has been found. We are totally blown away!"

What happened to the bottle over the last 50 years?

According to reports about the story, Australian Government oceanographer David Griffin monitors the behaviour of the sea and says the bottle could not have remained floating in the water for 50 years because it would've been destroyed.

"If it had been dropped anywhere in the ocean somewhere south of Australia, then there's no way it's going to stay actually at sea moving around for more than a year or two," he said.

He thinks that the bottle was probably washed up, buried beneath the sand for years and then churned up back into the sea during stormy weather.

Your Comments

Join the conversation

7 comments