(Meredith) – An Australian family uncovered the world’s oldest known message in a bottle, nearly 132 years after it was thrown into the ocean.
Seven Network reported that Tonya Illman found the bottle on a remote Perth beach while taking a walk.
After she realized what it was, she took the bottled message to some local experts from the Western Australian Museum, who confirmed its date of origin – June 12th, 1886.
The message came from the Paula, a German ship which experts said was on a naval observatory mission in the Indian Ocean.
At the time, German ships were conducting a 69-year experiment that involved throwing thousands of bottles into the sea to track ocean currents, according to experts.
The bottle was thrown into the ocean within a popular 19th-century shipping route, more than 500 miles from the coast of Australia.
The messages inside the bottle contained the ship’s coordinates, the date of the voyage, the name of the ship, ocean currents as well as a rolled up cigarette.
The message translated from its original German was as follows:
This bottle was thrown overboard on June 12, 1886 at latitude 32° 49’ South and longitude 105° 25’ from Greenwich East.
From: Bark Ship Paula, Port: Elsfleth, Captain: D [illegible], On her journey from Cardiff to Macassar.
The finder is requested to send the slip in the bottle to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg or the nearest consulate for the return to the same agency after filling in the information on the back.
On the reverse is a form for finders to fill out:
Name of finder and notes on the condition of the bottle when it was found (if there was sand in it or not):
Date of finding? On…. st/nd/rd/th ……………….18……………… Exact time of finding? At…..Hours…..Min.
Exactly where found? Latitude ….° ……’
Experts said the handwriting of the messages matched original journal entries from the Paula.
Seven Network reported that of the thousands of message jettisoned from the German ships, 662 have been located and returned, but the last time one was uncovered was in 1934.