Historical information

This handmade black glass bottle was recovered between the late 1960s to early 1970s from the wreck of the sailing ship Loch Ard. The ship was wrecked in 1878 and its remains are located at Mutton Bird Island, near Port Campbell, Victoria and bottles of liquor were listed as part of the Loch Ard’s cargo.

All glass is made from silica, which is found in quartz sand. The naturally occurring sand has impurities, such as iron, that determine the colour of the glass. Residual iron leads to green or amber-coloured glass and carbon in the sand makes that glass appear as ‘black’. A strong light behind the glass will show its colour as dark green or dark amber.

This handmade bottle appears to have been made in a two-piece dip mould, with the molten glass blown into a seamless shoulder-height mould to give the body a uniform symmetrical shape and size. After the body is blown, the glass blower continues blowing free-form (without the mould) to form the shoulder and neck, then the base is pushed up with a tool, and the finish for the mouth is added with his tools. The dip mould gives the body a slightly textured surface, with the free-blown shoulders and neck being smoother and shinier. There is usually a line around the shoulder where the mould of the body meets the shoulder, and a lump or mark in the centre of the base, called a pontil mark, where the push-up tool was removed.

The ship Loch Ard was built on the River Clyde in Scotland in 1873 for the prestigious Loch Line of colonial clipper ships, designed for the Australian run. It sailed from England on 1 March 1878 carrying 37 crew, 17 passengers and a diverse general cargo ranging from luxury items to bulk railway iron. On 1 June 1878, emerging from the fog and hearing too late the sound of breakers against the tall limestone cliffs, the vessel struck the southern foot of Mutton Bird Island and sank in 23 metres of water. Of the fifty-four people on board only two survived, one young male crewman, Tom Pearce, and one young female passenger, Eva Carmichael.


This bottle is historically significant as an example of liquor bottles imported into to Colonial Victoria in the mid-1800s to early-1900s.
The bottle is also significant for being part of Flagstaff Hill’s collection of artefacts from the Loch Ard, which is significant for being one of the largest collections of artefacts from this shipwreck in Victoria. The collection is significant for its association with the shipwreck, which is on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR S417. The collection has additional significance because of the relationship between the objects, as together they have a high potential to interpret the story of the Loch Ard.
The Loch Ard collection is archaeologically significant as the remains of a large international passenger and cargo ship. The Loch Ard collection is historically significant for representing aspects of Victoria’s shipping history and its potential to interpret sub-theme 1.5 of Victoria’s Framework of Historical Themes (living with natural processes). The shipwreck is one of the worst, and best-known, shipwrecks in Victoria’s history.

Physical description

Bottle, black glass wine bottle with contents. Glass has ripples, and crease lines and the neck has side seams. The mouth has a seal, the top of which comes away from the rest of the seal. The applied lip is wide. The base has been pushed-up base and has a pontil mark. Handmade with a ridge in the body around the base of the shoulder. The contents have no colour or odour. The bottle has a white sticker.