A superb early piece of Melbourne history this bottle appears to date from just before or at the very beginning of Victoria’s goldrush period.
The firm of Anderson & Co., were registered as Spirit Merchants in Flinders lane at least during the years 1850 and 1851. As can be seen by the partnership notice below, in combination with the addresses given in other advertisements, we can safely presume that John Black was a partner in this firm. Interestingly the only time they seem to be referred to as “Anderson & Black” are in the notices to let their old premises in Flinders Lane. The advertisements go on to mention that “their” new premises are at 223 Elizabeth Street and by following this address we can see that John Black definitely did set up shop there and sold supplies to miners heading to the goldfields. Later advertisements show that Black had some sort of business relationship with a George Anderson, linking the two surnames together again albeit that his previous partnership had been with a James Anderson. At this time the most likely date for this torpedo bottle seems to be from the period when Anderson & Co (Anderson & Black) were Spirit Merchants in Flinders Lane around 1850-1851.