Historical information

This handmade glass bottle was recovered from the wreck of the 1895-1902 ship Inverlochy and is part of the John Chance Collection.

The bottle has side seams that extend from base to mouth, indicating that it would have been made in a mould. The parallel, diagonal lines are likely to have been made by the molten glass being mouth-blown into the mould. The mould would have also had the pattern for the embossed numbers in the base. The seamless applied mouth would have been added after the bottle was removed from the two-piece mould. The even neck of the bottle would have probably been sealed with a cork or glass stopper. Bottles similar to this one were used for medical (apothecary) and cosmetic purposes.

Bottles with these features date from around the late 19th to early 20th century. Bottles began to have embossed numbers on the bases from the late 19th century and the practice continues into modern times. The numbers may represent the date of manufacture i.e. “463” may be April 1863. It may instead be the date of the patent or design pattern number. This bottle may have been made around 1863 and the latest it could have been made was 1902, the year of the wreck of the Inverlochy.

THE INVERLOCHY (1895-1902) -

The Inverlochy was a steel sailing barque built in Scotland in 1895 for international trade. In 1902 the Inverlochy left Liverpool under the command of Captain E.R. Kendrick. There were 21 officers and crew and the captain’s wife Mrs Kendrick, on board, bound for Australia with cargo that included tools, chemicals, liquor (beer, whisky, stout, rum, and brandy), steel, iron, wire netting, hoop iron, tinplate and pig iron), and steel wire for the Melbourne Tramway Company, tiles, soap, soft goods and earthenware. On December 18 almost at their destination, the Inverlochy ran aground on Ingoldsby Reef at Point Addis, near Anglesea. The crew and passengers left the ship via lifeboat and landed at Thompson’s Creek, then walked about 20 kilometres to Barwon Heads.

Salvagers were interested in the 10 miles of cable in the hold. Mrs Kendrick’s ‘high grade’ bicycle was amongst the items salvaged but she lost her jewellery and two pianos. By February 1903 the ship had broken up and objects such as bottles and casks of liquor were washed ashore. Bad weather shook the wreck in June 1903, causing the ship’s spars and figurehead to be washed ashore.


This glass bottle is historically significant as it represents methods of storage and manufacture that were used from the 19th century and into the early-20th century, before machine made bottles were becoming common. The shape and size of the bottle are similar to bottles used for medical and cosmetic purposes in that period.
The glass bottle also has significant as it was recovered by John Chance, a diver from the wreck of the Inverlochy in the late 1960s to early 1970s. Items that come from several wrecks along Victoria's coast have since been donated to the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village’s museum collection by his family, illustrating this item’s level of historical value.
This glass bottle is significant because of its historical connection to the barque Inverlochy, which is an example of a commercial international steel sailing barque and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Database VHR S338.
The Inverlochy is significant for its cargo, which is a snapshot of the kind of goods imported into Australia at the turn of the 19th century, including cable for the Melbourne Tramway Company.
The wreck of the Inverlochy is important as an accessible dive site that shows the remains of a large international trading vessel and its contents. It is valuable for an insight into Victorian era of shipping and maritime history.

Physical description

Bottle; clear glass with opalescent shine in places, round, handmade. Narrow lip is flat across top and on side edge, neck is straight, about a third of the bottle’s height. The shoulder is rounded, and the body has straight sides with two pronounced side seams from below the lip to the base, which is shallow. Outer glass surface is smooth, inner surface has areas of dried, light coloured substance. Base has embossed inscription.

Inscriptions & markings

Embossed "463" and logo symbol [trident]