Ned Kelly – The most famous Australian Bush Ranger

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The legend of Ned Kelly remains a subject of debate, but one thing is certain ― this gun-wielding outlaw became and stayed a household name in Australia, as his notoriety grew into a folk tale that is remembered to this day. Son of John Kelly, who was deported from Ireland for stealing two pigs and sent to the island of Tasmania, Ned was bound for a life of hardship.

His father was a gold digger who managed to accumulate enough wealth to purchase a small farm north of Melbourne. After the gold rush, John Kelly turned to his old trade, cattle theft. The Kelly house became a meeting place for criminals, and this was the environment in which little Ned and seven of his brothers and sisters grew up.

His father was later imprisoned and sentenced to hard labor. As the labor penalty affected his health significantly, John Kelly died shortly after his release from prison in 1866. Ned grew up surrounded by the Australian bush, and he became acquainted with it from his early age. He was an excellent swimmer and a capable tracker, as these traits were common knowledge in the Australian countryside.

But still, his childhood wasn’t at all pastoral and idyllic as it sounds. Young Kelly witnessed harassment by the police, as members of his family were often targeted as usual suspects due to their known association with crime. His own personal journey into the life of crime began in 1869 when he was 14 years old.

He was accused of a robbery of a Chinese merchant called Ah Fook. According to Fook, Kelly jumped him with a bamboo stick and stole 10 shillings from him. According to Kelly, his sister Anne and two other witnesses, Fook attacked Kelly, and the boy ran away. According to several historians, neither of the accounts are completely true, but Fook most probably did strike first, as Kelly most definitely responded twice as hard. The whole incident was dismissed due to lack of evidence, but Ned Kelly was noted as a troublemaker.

After this episode, Kelly turned to armed robberies, presenting himself as a bushranger, which was the term used for Australian renegades who used the uninhabited bush of Australia as their base of operations. His career as an outlaw began in the company of an another troublesome character called Harry Power.

Even though Kelly was often guilty of many crimes, there was a number of mishaps when he was just falsely accused. One such event involved a stolen mare which was given to Kelly by Isaiah “Wild” Wright, yet another petty criminal. When a police officer tried to apprehend Ned Kelly for possession of a stolen mare, a fight broke out, and Kelly was arrested and sentenced to three years of imprisonment. He was 16 at the time.

After serving his prison sentence, Kelly challenged Wild Wright to a bare-knuckle boxing to settle the inconvenient fact that his stolen mare landed him in jail for three years. The match lasted for 20 rounds, after which Kelly came out triumphant. He was a genuine tough guy, destined to live the life of a renegade.

In 1878, he shot and wounded Constable Alexander Fitzpatrick, who had attempted to apprehend Ned’s younger brother Dan for horse stealing. The Constable was shot in his left arm, and he lost consciousness briefly.

He was woken up by an unbearable pain, only to find Ned Kelly trying to remove the bullet from his arm with a knife so it would not be used as evidence against him.

Kelly was no stranger to various shootouts with police officers and bank robberies. After the shooting of Fitzpatrick, the accusations piled up. His brother had joined him in his war against law enforcement and together they formed a gang that garnered both notoriety and admiration from the settlers of Australia.

His downfall began with the arranged killing of a police informant called Aaron Sherritt. Joe Byrne, a respective member of the Kelly Gang, killed Sherritt at point blank range after he answered the door. Byrne and Sherritt were in fact childhood friends, but they chose separate paths in life. This crossing proved to be fatal for the most infamous police informant of the time.

The police pursuit was at its highest. The gang was considered to be the most dangerous in Australia. In order to protect themselves from a numerically superior enemy, the members of the gang designed special body armor weighing about 44 kg. The gang set out to Glenrowan, north-east of Melbourne, where they were to intercept a train carrying police reinforcements.

 

They had torn the tracks at one point and waited while drinking with laborers stationed nearby, who sang songs about the Kelly Gang. The laborers were, in fact, taken hostage by the gang, but they didn’t mind. By this time, the gang was well-known, and adored by many, for their war against the police was something with which people of those times could relate to, especially because the Australian police were often plagued with corrupted officers who only cared for their own wellbeing.

The police were informed about the ambush and came in prepared. A raging battle occurred, in which Kelly and his armored crusaders fought back fiercely, but they were simply outnumbered. They decided to fall back into the nearby bush, where Kelly decided to single-handedly attack a detachment of policemen from the rear.

When he appeared wearing his iron mask, the policemen were in awe. The bullets simply bounced off him. But still, his legs were unprotected, so they concentrated their fire in order to knock Kelly off his feet. When he was shot two times in his legs, he surrendered.

After a brief trial, Ned Kelly was executed on 11 November 1880 at the Melbourne Gaol. It is believed that his last words were “Such is life.” He was calm and at peace with himself.

To illustrate Kelly’s notoriety and popularity among common folk it is enough to note that the reward for his head was £8,000 (about $1.5 million in 2015 dollars) and that on the day of his execution 30,000 people allegedly signed a petition for a commutation of his sentence.

 Nikola Budanovic

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Portuguese missionaries brought bread to Japan in 1543, and today it’s more popular than rice

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Certain foods seem inextricably linked to their countries of origin: think pasta in Italy, curry in India, teff in Ethiopia, baguettes in France, rice in China. Say Japan, and you probably conjure sushi, sashimi, yakitori. But bread? Not so much.

Brace yourself. Bread consumption in Japan has risen faster than a yeast-laden loaf. In 2011, the Japanese spent more on bread than they did on the more tradition-seeming staple rice.

It wasn’t always so. Bread first landed on Japanese soil along with the first Europeans, Portuguese traders, in 1543. Subsequent ships came bearing missionaries, weaponry, and unusual food, namely bread and wheat. The Portuguese, who looked, smelled, and sounded so different, were called “Southern barbarians.” But the Japanese, in the midst of a civil war, tolerated the outsiders for a time because they were keen to purchase Portuguese firearms.

That tolerance ended, and the last of the Portuguese missionaries were banished from the island in 1639, but before they left, they traveled inland trying to convert more Japanese to Catholicism. (The missionaries were remarkably successful, which is what got them banned. Historians estimate there were 500,000 converted Catholics in Japan.) They carried with them their unusual foodstuff, that is, bread. Interestingly, the Portuguese Catholics also introduced to Japan the concept of batter-frying food coated in wheat. Today tempura seems as synonymous with Japanese cuisine as sushi.

With the Sakoku edict of 1635, Japan famously closed its borders to outsiders, becoming an insular and isolated country. For more than two centuries, trade was severely restricted and nearly all foreigners were prohibited from entering the country.

Most Japanese lived on rice, millet, and barley, supplemented with vegetables and the occasional bit of fish.

Bread fell off the Japanese table until the Opium War in 1840, when it was mass-produced as a convenient field ration to feed hungry soldiers, under the recommendation of a military science researcher, according to LiveJapan.com.

Even among the military, bread was not universally admired. When the Japanese Navy tried to introduce Western-style bread and a dry wheat cracker called kanpan in 1890, the servicemen went on strike, according to Slate magazine.

With its borders opened to the rest of the world by the late 1800s, bread and other wheat products came back to Japanese menus, though in limited quantities. Working-class laborers ate wheat udon noodles; aspiring middle-class salarymen went to Western-style cafes, where they sampled unusual treats like pastries, cakes, and anpan, a sweet cake filled with black bean fudge.

During World War II, rice was reserved for soldiers. Civilians subsisted on rations of crude bread, dumplings, kanpan, and udon noodles. The situation got worse after the war, and Japan was on the brink of starvation when the U.S. sent in emergency rations of wheat and lard. As they already were in the U.S., sandwiches became a staple in subsidized school lunches in urban areas, a practice that lasted until the 1970s and that normalized sandwiches as a part of daily lives.

“In demographic terms, the reason the Japanese diet has shifted so markedly toward bread consumption in recent years is that those who have grown up with bread as part of their everyday diet now constitute a majority of the population,” as Iwamura Nobuko recounted on Nippon.com.

The Japanese government encouraged a Western diet of bread, meat, and dairy products in the 1950s and 1960s, according to Nobuko, as a way to build strong bodies, and set up policies to encourage wheat farming. Bread soon became emblematic of a trendy Western lifestyle.

Today in Japan, as in other parts of the industrial world, contemporary busy families are dependent on quick, portable, individual meals with easy cleanup. Rice traditionally requires the preparation of at least three side dishes; a bread sandwich is easier to prepare and to customize for various family members’ tastes.

Between slices of bread, however, you’ll find something more indigenous than ham and cheese. Popular Japanese sandwiches include Yakisoba Pan, with fried soba noodles and pickled ginger; a Toyko favorite called Katsu Sando, deep-fried pork, with pickled cabbage and barbecue sauce; and Kurama, a fruit and cream filled dessert sandwich. Yum! What’s for lunch?

 E.L. Hamilton

6 Things Your Boss Always Notices About You (Even If Your Office Is Casual)

Mamihlapinatapai: A lost language’s untranslatable legacy

With only one remaining fluent speaker, the Yaghan language is on the verge of dying out. Will this obscure word be its sole survivor

It was spring when I reached the end of the world. On that mid-September day it was cold and raining in the city of Ushuaia, Argentina, but the sky cleared as I trekked nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, allowing the sun to reflect off crisp glacial waters and snow-covered mountains.

In 1520, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan would have seen a similar view as he led his Spanish fleet into the region. He travelled along a strait (later named after him) between mainland South America and a windswept archipelago he called Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) for the small fires he spotted along the shore. For thousands of years, the indigenous community here, the Yaghan, lit fires to keep warm and to communicate with each other. The flames burned in their forests, amid mountains, valleys and rivers, and atop the long canoes they steered over chilly waters.

Fire is more than something that brings us warmth in such a hostile place – It served as an inspiration for many things

Sixteen years ago, Cristina Calderon – one of the estimated 1,600 Yaghan descendants still living around their ancestral grounds – started the annual tradition of lighting three fires on Playa Larga in Ushuaia, a beach where ancient Yaghans gathered. Taking place every 25 November, the act recalls the Yaghan custom of lighting three fires to announce the arrival of a whale or a banquet of fish that everyone would eat. Releasing smoke signals was a way to convene the entire tribe, and it was common for them to share food and eat communally along the coast.

“The importance of the fire is more than something that brings us warmth in such a hostile place,” Victor Vargas Filgueira, a Yaghan guide at the Museo del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Museum) in Ushuaia told me. “It served as an inspiration for many things.”

The city of Ushuaia, Argentina, is often referred to as the southernmost city in the world (Credit: Credit: Andres Camacho/Municipality of Ushuaia)

The city of Ushuaia, Argentina, is often referred to as the southernmost city in the world (Credit: Andres Camacho/Municipality of Ushuaia)

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That inspiration can be seen in a word that has garnered rapturous admirers and inspired many flights of the imagination. Mamihlapinatapai comes from the near-extinct Yaghan language. According to Vargas’ own interpretation, “It is the moment of meditation around the pusakí [fire in Yaghan] when the grandparents transmit their stories to the young people. It’s that instant in which everyone is quiet.”

But since the 19th Century, the word has held a different meaning – one to which people all over the world relate.

Magellan’s discovery of a ‘land of fire’ prompted more long-distance voyages to the region. In the 1860s, British missionary and linguist Thomas Bridges set up a mission in Ushuaia. He spent the next 20 years living among the Yaghans and compiled around 32,000 of their words and inflections in a Yaghan-English dictionary. The English translation of mamihlapinatapai, which differs from Vargas’ interpretation, debuted in an essay by Bridges: “To look at each other, hoping that either will offer to do something, which both parties much desire done but are unwilling to do.”

Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan named this region Tierra del Fuego after seeing the Yaghans’ fires along the shore (Credit: Credit: Anna Bitong)

Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan named this region Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) after seeing the Yaghans’ fires along the shore (Credit: Anna Bitong)

“Bridges’ dictionary records ihlapi, ‘awkward’, from which one could derive ihlapi-na, ‘to feel awkward’; ihlapi-na-ta, ‘to cause to feel awkward’; and mam-ihlapi-na-ta-pai, something like ‘to make each other feel awkward’ in a literal translation,” said Yoram Meroz, one of the few linguists who have studied the Yaghan language. “[Bridges’ translation] is more of an idiomatic or free translation.”

However, the word does not appear in Bridges’ dictionary – perhaps because it was seldom used, or possibly because he planned to include the word in the third edition of the dictionary, which he was working on before he died in 1898.

“It could be that he heard the word once or twice in that particular context, and that’s how he wrote it, because he wasn’t aware of its more general meaning. Or that it was only used in this more specific meaning that he quotes,” Meroz explained. “Bridges knew Yahgan better than any European before or since. However, he was sometimes prone to exoticising the language, and to being very verbose in his translations.”

Accurate or not, Bridges’ translation of mamihlapinatapai sparked a widespread fascination with the word that continues to this day. “The word got popularised by Bridges and was quoted and re-quoted in English-language materials,” Meroz said.

The Yaghan people have lived in Tierra del Fuego for thousands of years (Credit: Credit: INTERFOTO/Alamy)

The Yaghan people have lived in Tierra del Fuego for thousands of years (Credit: INTERFOTO/Alamy)

In many interpretations, the word came to signify a look between would-be lovers. On the internet, its definition is worded slightly differently as ‘a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other would initiate something that they both desire but which neither wants to begin’. Films, music, art, literature and poetry have all conjured its seemingly implicit romance and marvelled at its supposed ability to concisely capture a complex human interaction. The 1994 Guinness Book of World Records even listed mamihlapinatapai as the world’s most succinct word.

“The meaning is quite beautiful,” says a girl in the 2011 crowdsourced documentary Life in a Day, which portrays a single day on Earth. “It can be perhaps two tribal leaders both wanting to make peace, but neither wanting to be the one to begin it. Or it could be two people at a party wanting to approach each other, and neither are quite brave enough to make the first move.”

But what mamihlapinatapai actually meant to the Yaghans will likely remain a mystery. Now 89 years old, Calderon is the last fluent speaker of Yaghan, a language isolate whose origins remain unknown. Born on Isla Navarino, Chile, across the Beagle Channel from Ushuaia, she didn’t learn Spanish until she was nine years old. Meroz has visited Calderon several times to translate Yaghan recordings and texts. But when he asked her about mamihlapinatapai, she did not recognise the word.

“Most of her life, she hasn’t had many people to talk with in Yaghan,” Meroz said. “So if she doesn’t remember that particular [word] offhand, that doesn’t prove a whole lot.”

Cristina Calderon (left) is the last fluent speaker of the Yaghan language (Credit: Credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/Getty Images)

Cristina Calderon (left) is the last fluent speaker of the Yaghan language (Credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/Getty Images)

Will the obscure word be the sole survivor of a dying language?

“It used to be called a moribund language,” Meroz said. “I think these days people would describe it in more optimistic terms, especially the Yaghans themselves. There’s room for revitalisation.”

Calderon and her granddaughter, Cristina Zarraga, have led occasional Yaghan language workshops in Puerto Williams, a naval town on Isla Navarino near her hometown of Villa Ukika. Calderon’s children were the first generation to grow up speaking Spanish, as Yaghan speakers at that time were mocked. But the Chilean government has recently encouraged the use and maintenance of native languages, and Yaghan is now taught in local kindergartens.

“It’s nice to have a native speaker around to ask questions,” Meroz said of Calderon. “And there are always more questions to be asked.”

Calderon has been working with linguists to preserve the Yaghan language (Credit: Credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/Getty Images)

Calderon has been working with linguists to preserve the Yaghan language (Credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/Getty Images)

Many of the complexities of the Yaghan language trace back to how their ancient way of life intertwined with nature. Meroz recalled how Calderon described birds taking flight in Yaghan, using one verb for a single bird and another for a flock of birds. Similarly, there are different words for launching one or several canoes. There are separate words for eating: “a general word for eating, a word for eating fish, and a word for eating shellfish,” Meroz said.

With few words, we say a lot

In the 19th Century, as contact between Europeans and Yaghans became more frequent, new diseases decimated the population and the Yaghans lost much of their land to European settlers. Vargas’ great-grandfather, Asenewensis, was among the last Yaghans to live as the tribe had for millennia, searching the cold waters for food on his canoe and finding warmth and community around the fire. In many ways, he was the inspiration for Vargas’s book, Mi Sangre Yagan (My Yaghan Blood).

Vargas remembers listening to the language spoken by his family’s elders. “I watched the older Yaghans speak and cut into words with silence,” he said. “They spoke slowly, with pauses, making little sound. With few words, we say a lot.”

The complexities of the language reflect how the Yaghans interacted with their natural surroundings (Credit: Credit: Anna Bitong)

The complexities of the language reflect how the Yaghans interacted with their natural surroundings (Credit: Anna Bitong)

He often visits places where his Yaghan ancestors gathered along the coastline of the 240km-long Beagle Channel, which separates Ushuaia from Isla Navarino. The windy strait is speckled with rocky islands teeming with aquatic wildlife. Black-striped Magellanic penguins and orange-beaked Gentoo penguins waddle across the shore of the Yécapasela Reserve on Isla Martillo, oblivious to people nearby. South American sea lions and fur seals lounge on craggy coastlines.

At campsites around Ushuaia, Vargas lights fires on the ground and experiences what he believes to be mamihlapinatapai.

“It’s what I’ve felt many times with my friends far away in nature, around the fire,” he said. “We’re talking and suddenly there’s silence. That is the moment of mamihlapinatapai.”

By Anna Bitong  3 April 2018

Wreck of Aircraft Carrier U.S.S. Lexington Found 76 Years After It Was Scuttled in Battle

 

This week, billionaire Paul G. Allen announced that his ship-hunting research vessel R/V Petrel and her crew had discovered an important piece of World War II history. About 500 miles off the coast of eastern Australia and two miles down they located the wreck of the U.S.S. Lexington, one of the United States’ first aircraft carriers, which was scuttled on May 8, 1942, to prevent its capture after the Battle of the Coral Sea, as the Associated Press reports.

Elaina Zachos at National Geographic reports that the Petrel crew had been planning to hunt for the Lexington, known affectionately as “Lady Lex,” for six months after successfully locating several historic wrecks including the Japanese battleship Musashi and the U.S.S. Indianapolis last year. The team received coordinates for where experts thought the Lexington might have sunk. Equipping the Petrel with exploration gear that could reach 3.5 miles under the sea, they began their search. So far, besides locating the ship, the team has been able to find 11 of the 35 aircraft that were onboard when the carrier went under.

Lexington was on our priority list because she was one of the capital ships that was lost during WWII,” Robert Kraft, director of subsea operations for the Petrel says in a statement. “Based on geography, time of year and other factors, I work with Paul Allen to determine what missions to pursue. We’ve been planning to locate the Lexington for about six months and it came together nicely.”

“To pay tribute to the USS Lexington and the brave men that served on her is an honor,” Allen says in the statement. “As Americans, all of us owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who served and who continue to serve our country for their courage, persistence and sacrifice.”

The Lexington was not originally commissioned as an aircraft carrier, as Jeanna Bryner at LiveScience points outOriginally, the ship was supposed to be a battlecruiser, but the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty limited battleship construction, so Lexington was re-commissioned as an aircraft carrier, entering service in 1928.

In May 1942, the Lexington was part of the Battle of Coral Sea, which History.com characterizes as the first air and sea battle in history. The Japanese were headed to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, hoping to control the island and cut off access to Australia. Allied forces, however, had intercepted the plans and launched air strikes from carriers when Japan began the invasion. During the ensuing four-day battle, the Japanese light carrier Shoho was destroyed and a larger carrier, Shokaku was severely damaged. The loss of carriers meant Japan did not have enough air cover for their invasion, and they eventually retreated.

The Americans paid a price, too. The carrier Yorktown was heavily damaged. Bryner reports that on May 8, the Lexington was struck by torpedoes and bombs. A secondary explosion onboard led to out of control fires. That night 2,770 personnel were evacuated.The U.S.S. Phelps then launched torpedoes, sinking the carrier so it would not fall into Japanese hands.

In total, 216 crew members of the Lexington were killed in battle.

Back in Massachusetts, a new Essex-class carrier was being built at the same shipyard that the Lexington came from. When they heard the news of the sinking, workers petitioned the Navy to name the new ship after her fallen sibling. The new U.S.S. Lexington served throughout World War II and was not decommissioned until 1991. It is now docked in Corpus Christi, Texas, where it functions as a museum.

There is no word yet on whether the Petrel will recover any artifacts from the Lexington, but knowing where it rests is a comfort to many. “As the son of a survivor of the USS Lexington, I offer my congratulations to Paul Allen and the expedition crew of Research Vessel (R/V) Petrel for locating the “Lady Lex,” sunk nearly 76 years ago at the Battle of Coral Sea,” Navy Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr., head of the U.S. Pacific Command, says in the statement. “We honor the valor and sacrifice of the “Lady Lex’s” Sailors — all those Americans who fought in World War II — by continuing to secure the freedoms they won for all of us.”

It’s likely this won’t be the last find by R/V Petrel. In 2016, the ship was retrofitted and tasked by Allen to search for historic warships, and there are still many more out there to be found.

SMITHSONIAN.COM 

Oldest message in a bottle found on Western Australia beach

The bottle and the note placed on a sandy surfaceImage copyright KYMILLMAN.COM
Image caption Experts confirmed the bottle was jettisoned as part of a German oceanographic experiment in 1886

A Perth family has found the world’s oldest known message in a bottle, almost 132 years after it was thrown into the sea, Australian experts say.

Tonya Illman picked up the bottle while going for a walk around sand dunes on a remote beach in West Australia.

Her husband Kym Illman told the BBC they found some paper in the bottle but had “no idea” what it was until they took it home and dried it in the oven.

Experts have confirmed it is an authentic message from a German ship.

The note in the bottle, which was dated 12 June 1886, was jettisoned from the German ship Paula, as part of an experiment into ocean and shipping routes by the German Naval Observatory.

Previously, the Guinness world record for the oldest message in a bottle was 108 years, between it being sent and found.

‘Rolled up cigarette’

The Illman family were driving through a beach north of Wedge Island on 21 January when the car became bogged down in the sand, and Mrs Illman and her friend decided to go for a walk.

“Tonya saw a whole lot of rubbish on the ground, and thought she’d help pick up some rubbish,” Mr Illman told the BBC.

She found and picked up the bottle, thinking it would be nice for her bookshelf, he added.

The scrolled noteImage copyrightKYMILLMAN.COM

Mr Illman said his wife passed the bottle “to our son’s girlfriend, who saw what she thought was a rolled-up cigarette, and tipped it out with the sand”.

“Tonya tried to untie the string around the paper, but it was rather fragile, so we took it home and put it in the oven for five minutes to dry up the moisture.

“Then we unrolled it and saw printed writing. We could not see the hand written ink at that point, but saw a printed message that asked the reader to contact the German consulate when they found the note.”

Later, they also noticed faint handwriting on the note, with a date of 12 June 1886 and the name of the ship, Paula.

When they saw the date they thought it was “too far-fetched” to be real, Mr Illman said – but they researched the bottle online and took it to experts at the Western Australian Museum.

Kym and Tonya IllmanImage copyright KYMILLMAN.COM
Image caption Kym and Tonya Illman have loaned the find to the Western Australian Museum

Dr Ross Anderson, Assistant Curator Maritime Archaeology at the WA Museum, confirmed the find was authentic after consulting with colleagues from Germany and the Netherlands.

“Incredibly, an archival search in Germany found Paula’s original Meteorological Journal and there was an entry for 12 June 1886 made by the captain, recording a drift bottle having been thrown overboard. The date and the coordinates correspond exactly with those on the bottle message,” Dr Anderson said.

The handwriting on the journal, and the message in the bottle, also matched, he added.

A handwriting comparison of the message in the bottle and the Paula Meteorological journalImage copyrightWA MUSEUM

The bottle was jettisoned in the south-eastern Indian Ocean while the ship was travelling from Cardiff in Wales to Indonesia, and probably washed up on the Australian coast within 12 months, where it was buried under the sand, he wrote in his report.

Thousands of bottles were thrown overboard during the 69-year German experiment but to date only 662 messages – and no bottles – had been returned. The last bottle with a note to be found was in Denmark in 1934.

The bottle found on Wedge Island was found “mostly exposed without any form of cork or closure, and was about a quarter full of damp sand”, and the bottle appeared to have lain “buried or mostly buried”, partially filled with damp sand, Dr Anderson added.

Sand dunes in the area are quite mobile during storm events and heavy rain, so the bottle could have been subject to “cyclical periods of exposure” which could have led to the cork in the bottle drying out and becoming dislodged, “while the tightly rolled paper along with a quantity of sand remained inside preserved”.

“The narrow 7mm bore of the bottle opening and thick glass would have assisted to buffer and preserve the paper from the effects of full exposure to the elements, providing a protective microenvironment favourable to the paper’s long-term preservation,” the report added.

Presentational grey line

The Illman family have loaned the find to the Western Australian Museum for the next two years, and it will be on display to the public from Wednesday.

WA Minister for Culture and the Arts David Templeman said he was “delighted” with the loan, adding: “It is truly an impressive find and thanks to the wonderful international and interdisciplinary cooperation of science and research, it can now also be shared with the world.”

Writing online, Mrs Illman described the find as “the most remarkable event in my life”.

“To think that this bottle has not been touched for nearly 132 years and is in perfect condition, despite the elements, beggars belief. I’m still shaking.”

Reporting by the BBC’s Helier Cheung.