Message In A Bottle Sent By Boy, 13, Looking For Friend Found 50 Years Later By New Pen Pal, 9

by : Julia Banim on : 19 Jul 2019 10:52
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A young Australian boy and his father were in for a surprise when they discovered a decades-old message in a bottle during a fishing trip.


Nine-year-old Jyah Elliott and his dad Paul came across the 50-year-old message which had washed ashore on the remote Talia Beach on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

The message, dated 1969, was from a 13-year-old boy by the name of Paul Gilmore who had just moved from England to Australia. No doubt eager to make friends in his new home country, Paul had given his new address in Mitcham, Victoria, asking the recipient to, ‘please reply’.


Excited by this unexpected discovery, Jyah replied to the letter the very same day, determined to find the now 63-year-old author of the message in a bottle. The Elliot family also shared a screenshot of the letter via Facebook.


Incredibly, ABC have since been able to track Paul down and find out more about his story.

Grown up Paul is currently on a Baltic cruise and is unaware the letter he sent – so many years ago – has finally been answered. However, his family have expressed delight at the discovery, with his sister Annie Crossland telling ABC: ‘He’ll be chuffed to bits.’

Annie revealed Paul had sent approximately six of the bottles out to sea, ‘it would’ve been a bottle of Coca-Cola or something’, throwing them overboard while the Gilmore family travelled by steamship to their new home in Australia.


The ship sailed from Southampton to Melbourne via the Canary Islands and Cape Town, with a layover in Western Australia. Paul’s siblings believe he chucked the bottles into the Indian Ocean during the final part of the family’s adventurous voyage.

Paul’s brother David told ABC:

It’s really strange, I’m looking at the message now and yeah, I can see it’s my brother’s writing — he’s obviously a bit younger then.

The Gilmore family lived in Australia up until 1973, before moving back to England. Annie and David have promised Jyah will receive a response upon Paul’s return. Whether this will be by post or by bottle, remains to be seen.


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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life, Australia, Message In A Bottle, Penpal


ABC News and 2 others
  1. ABC News

    Message in a bottle author, Paul Gilmore, found 50 years after his letter was thrown overboard

  2. ABC Adelaide/Facebook

    ABC Adelaide/Facebook

  3. Carla Elliott/Faebook

    Carla Elliott/Faebook