Australian fisherman finds message in a bottle written 50 years ago by British boy

Harriet Brewis

An Australian fisherman was left stunned after he found a message in a bottle written 50 years ago by an English boy.

Paul Elliot said he and his son Jyah found the bottle on the west coast of Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, during a fishing trip.

Mr Elliot told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he is now searching for the note’s author Paul Gibson, who would now be in his sixties.

Paul described himself as a 13-year-old English boy travelling on a cruise ship along the southern Australian coast, from Fremantle in the west to Melbourne in the east.

Government oceanographer David Griffin said the bottle couldn’t have remained afloat in that area all this time because "the ocean never stays still".

Mr Griffin suspected the bottle had been buried on a beach for years then refloated by a storm.

He said: "If it had been dropped in 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."

Hundreds of thousands of Britons migrated to Australia in the 1960s, with the Australian government subsidising their fares. Children travelled for free.

But a quarter of them returned to Britain within a few years after struggling to adapt.