Historical information

This marble stopper bottle came from the Warrnambool aerated waters manufacturer, John Rowley. A marble stopper bottle was filled upside down so that as soon as the filling stopped the stopper was forced down to seal the bottle against the rubber ring. Pressure inside the bottle would keep the marble pressed against the top of the bottle. To open the bottle the marble was pressed down where it would fall into the neck chamber below. The marble would stay inside the chamber when the bottle was tilted up for drinking. John Rowley (1837-1893) was born in England and came to Australia in 1856. In 1865 he opened a branch of the Geelong Corio Brewery at the corner of Timor and Banyan Streets, Warrnambool, bottling the beer, not brewing it. In 1870 this business was closed and Rowley developed his soft drinks business which he had established in 1868. In 1872 the business was called the Warrnambool Steam Aerated Works when a steam engine was purchased from Melbourne. By this time the factory was turning out 600 dozen bottles a day. For some time Rowley also had a factory in the Western District town of Hamilton. By the 1880s the Warrnambool factory was occupying half an acre of land, was employing 13 people and manufacturing 20 varieties of drinks. Rowley was active in community affairs, serving four years on the Warrnambool Council and he was on the committees of the Warrnambool Hospital and the Mechanics’ Institute.


This bottle is of great interest as it comes from the factory of the prominent 19th century Warrnambool aerated waters manufacturer, John Rowley. This is one of the few bottles we have from the Rowley factory. Cordial manufacturing was an important industry in Warrnambool for over 100 years and John Rowley was a key figure in this industry.

Physical description

This is a marble stopper green-coloured glass bottle. The body is rounded with a round base and it has deep indentations at the top of the body that narrows to form a small chamber. The neck tapers to the top of the bottle which has a moulded glass top and a rubber ring inside the top. A green marble is loose in the neck chamber. Details of the soft drinks manufacturer are impressed into the glass on the side of the bottle.

Inscriptions & markings

‘J.S.Rowley’s Aerated Waters Warrnambool & Hamilton’
‘D. K.’