Ronald James Gow mystery is solved

THE mystery of the message in the bottle has enthralled locals and befitting its mystique, it’s a gripping resolution.

The discovery on Sawtell Beach of an old jar with a note inside has prompted a flurry of emails and phone calls to The Advocate since we published the story on Saturday.

The note featured the name Ronald James Gow nine times in faded red writing and readers have contacted us with countless clues as to who he might be and the identity of the author.

That included local woman Maggie Veness, who believes it’s the handwriting of her late daughter, Mandi, who died in a car accident in Coffs Harbour in 1993.

Mandi was at one stage married to Ronald (Ronnie) James Gow and he’s also been in touch with us. The couple lived in Coffs Harbour and their son, Timothy, is now 21.

They had started dating while Mandi was still at Orara High.

“It’s a distinct possibility Mandi wrote the note. The handwriting is very similar,” Maggie said. “She wrote poetry and she left a book full of handwritten poetry for her family, including a love poem for Ronald.

“She would be the type to write a message in a bottle. I know it’s something she would have done – she was that type of girl.

“She may have written it when they started going out or in troubled times before they split up.”

Maggie says Mandi’s grandparents have lived at Sawtell since the ’70s and she had spent a lot of time there and at the beach, where the jar was found last week.

“She was a very strong swimmer,” she said.

Ronnie Gow, a 41-year-old concreter now living in Alstonville, said Mandi was a spiritual person.

“The whole discovery is quite bizarre and I’ve had about 80 text messages from friends since it’s been in The Advocate,” he said.

Schooled at Coffs Harbour Primary and Jetty High schools, Ronnie played rugby league for the Coffs Harbour Comets and Orara Valley Axemen, rugby union for the Snappers and Australian Rules for the Swans.

He was also an Advocate Sportsman of the Year nominee in the mid ’80s.

His late dad drove buses in Coffs Harbour and his mum still lives at Park Beach.

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