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Remarkable 79-year-old peace message found in bottle cemented into Melbourne bridge

Rumour file
Article image for Remarkable 79-year-old peace message found in bottle cemented into Melbourne bridge

A Melbourne man was astounded when a letter written by his grandfather in 1940 made its way to him.

Colin Ellis and Joe Eagles wrote the note in February 1940, during World War Two.

The pair were doing cement works on the Church Street Bridge in South Yarra at the time.

They sealed the note in a bottle, which they set inside the bridge.

It was discovered in 2010 when repair works were done on the bridge, and made its way to Colin’s grandson, Rory Ellis, seven years later.

He told Ross and John what he knows about the discovery of the message.

“They were jack-hammering away on the bridge and all of a sudden some glass shards came flying out of the bridge, and revealed a little bottle that was in there,” Mr Ellis said.

“There were a couple of letters in there, but the one that has remained intact was the one written by my grandfather and his coworker, Joe Eagles.”

Mr Ellis said the message still rings true today.

“The thing that I gathered the most from it is that it’s so pertinent to today. It goes through history. It’s incredible!,” he said.


This bottle was placed here on the above date, by Joe Eagles and Colin Ellis plasterers who have been repairing the cement work of this bridge, since November 1939.

The gauge of material used has been two parts of sand to one of cement.  The work was supervised by Mr Williams of the Prahran Council.  We both have appreciated his co-operation, and his conditions of employment. 

The World War is on at present, brought about by the capitalist section of the world to maintain a rotten system.  We hope when this bottle is found that the workers of the world will be getting a much more equal share in natures gifts and the wealth they produce for the class that prioritise them and theirs.  Even to the extent of murdering each other to protect wealth they do not share in.  The capitalists call it war not murder.

We close this with the hope that the workers are inlightened when this is found and that there is peace on earth and good will to man.


Colin Ellis, Rory’s grandfather, was a light horseman in World War I and fought in the Battle of the Somme.

Rory Ellis said the story of how his grandfather’s letter made its way to him is remarkable in its own right.

“It’s quite incredible how it found me,” he said.

“Bizarrely, two fellas working on the bridge had a mutual friend who spoke of this letter to a friend of mine.

“I’d spoken to him about how my grandfather worked on the bridges.

“Two and to got put together!”

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Rumour file