Hunt for authors of moon landing time capsule

A time capsule hidden in a Glenbrook home 48 years ago and marking mankind’s first steps on the moon, was unearthed this July.

Preserved out of the sunlight: The original letter "time capsule" found in a door jamb during a renovation in Glenbrook.

Preserved out of the sunlight: The original letter "time capsule" found in a door jamb during a renovation in Glenbrook.

Deposited on July 21, 1969, the four authors of the capsule’s letter – carpenters  Alan Doherty, John Bower, Bert Bosman and Bill Wilkie who were building the house at the time –  left it preserved in the door jamb to be found almost 48 years later to the day.

“It’s a timeless piece marking the landing on the moon, it doesn’t get better than that,” said Glenbrook’s Dimity Edwards, whose father’s employee, Trent Gorman, found the capsule while renovating the building on July 4.

The typewritten letter reads: “We, the undersigned have deposited this ... in the hope that it may be opened in the future … we felt the occasion was important enough … three astronauts led by Armstrong, are on their way to the Moon to become the first Humans to set foot on soil other than that of Earth.”

Miss Edwards made it her mission to find out the fate of the four cheeky tradies by using modern day technology – Facebook – when her father told her the story. 

“I'm on a mission to find these four legends who decided that a rocket to the moon should be documented in the hope that someone, someday would find this letter. Like seriously, legends right?”

Within a day the story had been shared more than 400 times with over 100 comments registered – the mystery about the men was being solved, as the Mountains community pitched in to find them. By week’s end the story had been shared 1000 times.

Builder Alan Doherty, who now lives on the Central Coast, told Miss Edwards he typed it up and the four friends had deposited other capsules around the Mountains – one in a house in Woodford – to mark the historic moment.

“I am pleased that it has revived some interest in the most incredible event in my lifetime,” he said.

“I am still amazed when I gaze at that beautiful full moon and know that man has been there.”

Descendants said the hunt for their dads on Facebook had brought memories flooding back.

Andrew Bosman said he was seven months old and “apparently watched the moon landing bouncing in my bouncinette” when his dad made the capsule.

“Bert is indeed my father, although he died nine years ago. I remember him telling me about this time capsule when I was a kid and I’m literally shaking with excitement that it has been found. My mother is still alive and will be thrilled when I tell her about it.”

And the daughter of John Bower, Tina Bower, offered “a big thank you for not just throwing out this amazing letter that my dad and his mates left”. She called her father “a character”.

Shirley Bower of Bullaburra, whose husband John died eight years ago “from the builder’s disease, mesothelioma” got to see the original letter by week’s end. She said John would have been “absolutely thrilled”.

“It’s gone viral, it’s absolutely wonderful,” she told the Gazette.

Mrs Bower said her mischievous husband deposited other capsules “at the Menzies Hotel and the Marble Bar in Sydney and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one in the shopping centre at Hazelbrook”.

Miss Edwards said the time capsule idea obviously resonated with many others.

“I totally have left multiple time capsules for people to find in the future ...  surely I am not the only one?”  

The group is yet to find descendants of Bill Wilkie. 

The original letter may be donated to a local historical society. Copies are being given to the families.