Law student finds ‘time capsule’ note from 1980s hidden in library book

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Scrap of paper dating back to 1986 invites people to write the date and what they are doing


An Aussie law student at the University of Adelaide has stumbled upon a hidden time capsule-style note while studying.

Matthew Di Caterina found the note (pictured below) secreted among the pages of an old textbook and went straight to library staff to ascertain its legitimacy, before taking to Facebook to upload a photo of his discovery. It quickly went viral.


The note — written by an anonymous student who is probably in their 50s by now, and potentially a senior lawyer or judge — begins with an entry with the time and date “9:25pm 14/10/1986”. It explains that it “serves as a time capsule” to those that discover it, continuing:

As you read this, cast your mind back to 9.25pm 14/10/1986. Ask yourself, ‘Where was I?’ ‘What was I doing?’ Add the date you find this, on the back, and return the slip to be discovered again… and again… and again…


Twelve additional dates (pictured above) have been added to the note since its creation, with people — who Legal Cheek assumes are downtrodden law students — mainly using it to vent. One wrote back in 1987:

It’s midnight. I am sick of reading this book!

Another — clearly enthralled by the prospect of writing their essay — said back in 1989:

I just started my essay. I’m so bored.

Di Caterina, who was the thirteenth person to add his name to the list late last week, told law students of the future:

Writing my essay, #late

Despite the use of the hashtag, which will no doubt baffle students 30 years from now, Di Caterina is keen for the history of contributions to the note to continue. So much so, he has kept the title of the book a secret, being careful to blur out its title on his social media uploads.

The only clue to the textbook’s identity is the University of New England’s emblem on the front cover.


The book remains in the Barr Smith library of the University of Adelaide waiting for the next student to find it.