A Perth family have found the world’s oldest message in a bottle
A Perth family have found the world’s oldest message in a bottle Kym Illman.com

A Perth family have found the world's oldest message in a bottle - 132 years after it was first tossed into the sea.

Kym and Tonya Illman were strolling along a remote beach in West Australia in January, when Tonya spotted a half-buried old Dutch gin bottle.

She said: "It just looked like a lovely old bottle, so I picked it up thinking it might look good in my bookcase."

But as she picked it up the open bottle she noticed a damp note fell out of it.

They dried the note back home and found it was dated 12 June 1886, and had been thrown from the German ship Paula, as part of an experiment into ocean and shipping routes by the German Naval Observatory.

The Illmans took their discovery to the Western Australian Museum, where assistant curator of maritime archaeology Ross Anderson carried out a series of tests, reported ABC News.

He compared surviving samples of the handwriting of the captain of the Paula at the time from its ship's log, with the note in the bottle and found they matched.

The Message in the bottle found by the Illmans
The Message in the bottle found by the Illmans Kym Illman.com

Dr Anderson said: "The date and the coordinates correspond exactly with those on the bottle message. The handwriting is identical in terms of cursive style, slant, font, spacing, stroke emphasis, capitalisation and numbering style."

He added: "Extraordinary finds need extraordinary evidence to support them."

The Illmans have loaned their find to the Western Australian Museum for display over the next two years.

The previous Guinness world record for the oldest message in a bottle was just over 108 years after it was released by the UK's Marine Biological Association in the North Sea on 30 November 1906 to be washed at Amrum Island, Germany, on 17 April 2015.

The message inside was a postcard asking the finder to send the card back to the Marine Biological Association, stating where it was found, in return for a one shilling reward.