’66 Westall UFO incident

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For my work, I was recently asked to visit a park called ‘The Grange’ in Westall, which is an unassuming suburb in Melbourne. The park has a good covering of conifers, which surround a pleasant grassed clearing. The site slopes down away from the road, and so has a slightly private, secluded feel.

The story of this park quite blew me away, and I’m amazed that I haven’t heard it before. I should say, by the way, that this is not a piece of my fiction, but a real event. Feel free to Google it.

On April 6th, 1966, about 200 school-children, and at least one of their teachers, saw at least one flying saucer land in the park, in broad daylight.

The object or objects apparently landed at The Grange, leaving circular marks in the grass, which looked afterwards as if the grass had been boiled or steamed. Then, five ‘light aircraft’ saw off the object. Moorabbin airport, a small local airstrip, is not far away.

The stories the children told of the saucers were amazingly consistent, describing them as “a round humped object with a flat base being circled by what appeared to be light aircraft”. The drawings they did show a classic flying saucer shape, and apparently the objects were silver. There seems to be some confusion about whether or not one of the students touched the object.

An artist’s impression based on witness’ accounts

At the time, there were stories in the paper, and also on Channel 9 news, although that footage (including interviews with witnesses) has been lost.

However, the teachers and headmaster of the school told the students firmly that ‘flying saucers do not exist’, and that they were not to speak of the incident. There seem to be reports of army and airforce personnel at the site and school reinforcing this message. Being the sixties, in a semi-rural suburb, the children seem to have followed these instructions.

The teacher who saw the craft, who was a science teacher at the time, Andrew Greenwood, says that two Air Force officers visited him at home and threatened him with destruction of his reputation and career if he continued to talk about what he had seen. In the word of Shane Ryan, who spent four years looking into the incident:

“He didn’t put any spin on it, he didn’t give nay particular interpretation, he wasn’t saying what the objects were because he didn’t know.”

Chatting about this incident with friends, I discovered that one of them had seen some of the women who had been students that day speak at a Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne. He said that he half-expected them to be weirdos, but they came across as very normal, middle class ladies, who were a bit sick of being told that they were crazy or on drugs. As he pointed out, these women had a lot to lose by coming out with this story now, and very little to gain. It seems to me rather a brave thing to have done. They did not say that the objects were from outer space, but just tried to explain what they had observed.

Photo taken at Sci-fi convention

Photo taken at Sci-fi convention, Melbourne

It’s a terrific mystery, and one which has been quite amazing well covered up.

After visiting the site, it was a hot topic in the office. Some people think that it must have been aliens. Others that it must have been a secret military trial, being so close to Moorabbin airport. But Moorabbin is not a military base at all – instead it tends to serve amateur flyers and small charter companies. It’s also in suburban Melbourne, and my feeling is that something as amazing as a flying saucer would surely have been trialled somewhere a little more remote. We’re not short of remote airstrips in Australia, after all.

I did wonder if perhaps it was a local crank, inventing the weird and wonderful in his shed at home. Perhaps he crash landed in the bay, or at Lysterfield Lake, and so the craft was never seen again. Who knows?

One thing I can say is that if I were an alien looking to buzz Melbourne, I could choose no more pleasant spot than ‘The Grange.’

 

POSTSCRIPT: As noted in the comments below, you can find the documentary about the ’66 Westall UFO incident at: http://www.westall66ufo.com.au

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23 thoughts on “’66 Westall UFO incident

  1. Hi Kasia, Shane Ryan from Canberra here. I loved your blog on the Westall Incident! You’re right – there is something different about The Grange – but then I come to that place with more than 200 people’s stories of that April day in 1966 flying around in my head! I appreciated the link under my name – to the Irish footballer! Alas, no one (not even me) has yet penned a Wikipedia article about me…. For more information about the Westall Flying Saucer Incident do check it out on Facebook and Yahoo Groups, or at the film’s web site below. Regards,
    Shane.

    • Hi Shane. Fantastic to hear from you – and amazed that you found this post so fast! Sorry about the link being incorrect – I’ll edit and correct that. Unless you’d like people to think that you are amazingly multiskilled: documentaries and professional football! 🙂
      Thanks also for the link below. It’s a really fascinating event, so great to have a spot where people can find out more.
      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. New Mexico experience a UFO crash encounter in 1945 – i wonder how you’d describe the landscape of the Chihuahuan Desert in that area?

    During the 1960s UFO sightings were everywhere – i used to take my motorcycle on Maine wilderness roads, and always expected to see either a UFO or an abominable snowman – never happened, but a big old bull moose ran along beside me on a dark and lonely gravel road in the pouring rain… the government said most of the UFO sightings were caused by swamp gas… i never believed that… but would believe in a flying battleship the size of the Empire State Bldg 🙂

    enjoyed reading about your field trip – love it when you talk professional – and when curious too. would have loved to hear the conversation at your office –

    • I guess the difference with this one is that for once, it wasn’t just one person on a lonely road, but 200 schoolkids in broad daylight! I gather the documentary on it is very good.
      Your experience with the moose sounds very odd
      indeed. 🙂

  3. Web site for the Westall film is: http://www.westall66ufo.com.au. There’s a great Study Guide and Media Kit there too for those who are interested in more background information to the story. Also, see the Westall Incident on Facebook and Yahoo Groups for lots of newspaper articles, photos, maps, links, posts etc. Cheers, Shane.

  4. Hi there readers, I can vouch for this story, I have met most of the ladies in these photographs, I live about 15 mins from Westall by car. They are just telling us what they saw on the day. A family member of mine also saw the object, he worked across the road from the school. They were all instructed to keep quiet. Have a look at the documentary, “Westall 66, a Suburban UFO Mystery”.
    Cheers…George Simpson
    Director, Victorian Branch, Australian UFO Research Network.

  5. I just watched the movie “The Puppet Masters” last night and this sounds a lot like that, complete with the denial and cover-up parts. It looks like a good place for an alien landing. I do wish we could meet these aliens someday (as long as they’re not like they are in Puppet Masters).

    • I confess I’ve never heard of ‘The Puppet Masters’ – is it worth finding?
      I’m not sure we’ll ever get to meet aliens face-to-face, but one thing I am pretty sure of:if they are basically humanoid, breathe oxygen and drink water, I will be so surprised I’ll eat my hat. Or whatever other piece of clothing comes to hand. 🙂

      • The movie was pretty bad but one of those things that you can’t stop watching because it’s so bad. It was based on a Heinlein novel that I hadn’t read, but the aliens basically lured people to the spaceship and then took over their minds. That’s true that they’re probably not humanoid and so might not be able to survive here. It does seem that if aliens are intelligent enough, they probably wouldn’t bother with Earth unless they would want to take over or spy on us for fun. Still, I’d like to meet one.

  6. I love a good mystery. And life is so full of them. Its so clear why we love mysteries, science, fiction, fantasy, horror, stories in general, to help us figure out and be comfortable the mysteries that life brings us.

  7. This sounds really similar to an incident in the US, where the grass was burnt, and it never grew back. It was witnessed by farmers. I went to Roswell a few years ago, and the museum is not much more than letters and testimonies and tee shirts. But if you go in with an open mind, and are patient enough to read all the letters and testimonies from very stable and dependable sources who had been threatened and bullied by the government into remaining quiet, you might walk out of there a believer.

  8. Hello Kasia, I think I remember you at the Convention, you were the one asking all the intelligent questions. As one of the Westall witnesses, I can’t help but add my bit. At the age of 13, and seeing flying saucers first hand, you never really had time to be a sceptic, you wouldn’t even know what the word meant! You also never had time to be afraid. I believe that if they wanted to hurt us, they would have done it by now. They have had plenty of opportunity.
    I know why the Governments hide the truth, there are so many people out there who just could not handle it. It does scare me to think what would happen if the truth was revealed. Even though I would like the records released to the public, I know it’s not going to happen in my life time. At least I know I am in the history books, and perhaps my great grandchildren will be able to say their Great Grandmother wasn’t a freaky drug addict after all.
    Regards Suzanne Savage (nee Maynard)

    • Hi Suzanne,
      Wonderful to hear from you! That’s a very interesting point you make there – that when it happens in front of you, it doesn’t occur to you to be sceptical or afraid. Must have been a really astonishing experience. I am just amazed that it has been kept as quiet as it has so far – if this were America, I suspect that it would be much more well known.
      I’d like to think it was me asking intelligent qusetions, by the way, but sadly not in this case. It was a friend of mine who attended the convention, but he was very impressed by your integrity.
      Thanks so much for dropping by. 🙂

  9. I’m located in Canada but I have always been fascinated by the Westall UFO incident because when I was in high school back in 1968, I also saw some UFOs. It actually happened more than once and on two occasions there were other school kids that saw it besides myself. But nobody ever spoke publicly about it. I’d like to draw your attention to a new Canadian TV series called “Close Encounters” that dramatizes classic UFO cases. They just did an episode on the Westall incident and it is really beautifully done. The episode can be seen on the Canadian Discovery Channel website, but I am not sure if people outside of Canada can view it. If not, look for the series in your region. The title of the episode is “School’s Out”. The link to the Canadian site is: http://watch.discoverychannel.ca/#clip1065407
    I hope you enjoy it ! 🙂

    By the way, the episode synopsis can be found here:
    http://www.discovery.ca/article.aspx?aid=57161

    • Hi again, this new report on the Westall incident is ok, but very very brief. For the full story you should look at “Westall ’66, A suburban UFO Mystery” as stated above. Try youtube.
      Cheers…George Simpson. AUFORN Victoria, Australia.

      • Thanks George. But yes, I have known about the Westall case for some years now and did see a while ago the elaborate documentary you mention that goes into far more detail about this exceptional incident. Of course, the Close Encounters segment is quite brief since each episode is only twenty-two minutes long and presents two cases. But I thought they nonetheless did a great job of getting across that a circular metallic object of unknown origin had been observed by hundreds of people at fairly close range and in bright daylight. Hopefully that will arouse people’s curiosity in wanting to find out more and googling it ! 🙂

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