The Westall UFO encounter is an event that
occurred on 6 April 1966 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Around 11.00
am, for about 20 minutes, more than 200 students and teachers at two
Victorian state schools witnessed some unexplained flying object(s)
which they said descended into a nearby open field. The paddock was
adjacent to a grove of pine trees in an area known as The Grange (now a
nature reserve). According to reports, the object(s) then ascended
quickly in a north-westerly direction over the suburb of Clayton South,
Description of the Event
At approximately 11.00 am on Wednesday, 6 April 1966, a class of
students and a teacher from Westall High School (now Westall Secondary
College) were outside on the main oval when an object, described as
being a grey saucer shaped craft with a slight purple hue and being
about twice the size of a family car, but very round, was seen. Andrew
Greenwood, a science teacher at the high school, told The Dandenong
Journal at the time that he saw a silvery-green disc. There
were reports from some witnesses that the largest craft flew over and
along some large Electricity Pylons near the school before landing.
It was further reported that there were two other smaller craft of
similar design that had hovered over ( but not landed on and only
hovered above ) the dirt roadway at the front of the school. Further
reports suggest that the larger main craft that landed in the paddock
may have had some sort of problems and that the two smaller craft were
there to assist it.
According to witnesses the objects were descending and then crossed
and overflew the high school's south-west corner, going in a
south-easterly direction, before disappearing from sight as it descended
behind a stand of trees and into a paddock at The Grange in front of
the Westall State School (primary students). The main and biggest object
had landed on the ground. After a short period (approximately 20
minutes) the object - with witnesses now numbering over 210 - then rose
and climbed at speed and departed towards the north-west.
None of the witnesses said that they saw any aliens or any people in
or around any of the craft. It was suggested that if there were in fact
any (people) they would not have been able to stand up as the height of
the craft was no higher than an average family car, the craft being
round and large at the base but lacking in height. Like the saucer of an
upside down tea cup.
Local Media Coverage
The Dandenong Journal covered the encounter in detail and ran two front page stories (see image below)
The first was on 14 April. and the next was on 21 April. A number of small aeroplanes circled around it. However, a check
later showed that no commercial, private or RAAF ( royal australian air
force ) pilots had reported anything unusual in the area.
GTV Channel 9 television also ran a news report
about the encounter. A student, Joy Tighe, described the event for the
reporter. However, a copy of this tape is not available. Channel 9
reports that it was removed from their archive and not returned.
One of the students, a girl,
ran towards the craft that had landed and reached it before the other students had arrived.
She was found in a collapsed and dazed state. An ambulance was called and she was taken away to hospital.
This girl was one of the leading athletes in the school and could outrun almost all the others, being very fit.
Apart from that no one else was hurt in the incident.
Some of the students had rung up the local newspapers and TV
stations and they had sent reporters to the school. These media groups
had rung the police and in turn the police had rung the local RAAF
Soon all were involved in the incident.
After the Incident.
A full school assembly was held that afternoon at Westall High School.
The headmaster, with about three men in dark suits beside him, who
no one from the school had seen before, made an announcement that
“nothing had happened”. The students and staff were told to “keep your
mouths shut”. The Headmaster further told the staff and students that
“there are no such things as flying saucers” ( actual quote )
Andrew Greenwood, the science teacher
whose picture appeared in the local newspaper with the story was visited
a few days later at home by two people who announced themselves as from
(The royal australian air force - the Australian Government.)
They told him if he made any more public statements they would "leak
out" that he had a “drinking problem” and that would mean the end of his
career as a teacher.
The student who was taken to hospital never returned to Westall High school.
Her family moved out of the family home that night, never to return.
When one of her very good friends called around to her house, which
was very close to the school, a middle aged woman answered the door,
someone she had not seen before, and told her “she does not live here”
and that she “must have the wrong house”.
Just after the incident two truckloads of military people arrived
at the field where the craft landed, sealed off the area, and walked
over it with what looked like metal detectors.
Anyone who got too close were told to “leave immediately or else”.
They took measurements of the circle and indentations made by the
craft in the ground and when they finished they burnt the grass so no
circle remained shown.
After that they left.
Shane Ryan has since 2005 begun investigations into this incident and uncovered much truth,
Shane Ryan, an English lecturer at the University of Canberra, is interviewing dozens of witnesses for a book he hopes to publish on the 40th anniversary of the sighting.
Mr Ryan, 38, was alerted to the events in
the 1980s by a housemate who was there. Unlike most UFO sightings, the
Westall objects had a large number of credible witnesses. It was viewed
in broad daylight by over 200 people and attracted a forceful response
from police and the government who used all sorts of threats to cover
this up. People were told everything from "you did not see anything" to
"we will cripple you if you say anything" and now in 2011 the officials
are saying "nothing at all happened people - what are you on about". AND
most of the records of the event are now "lost" or were "never there"
Mr Ryan has interviewed about 30 witnesses, mostly former staff and
students from the Westall secondary and primary schools. He has tried
obtaining police and RAAF reports, but so far with little luck. The
story was covered then by Channel Nine, The Age and local newspapers.
On the UFO, everyone seems to agree, Mr Ryan says. It was a
low-flying, silver/grey shining object, either of classical flying
saucer shape or close to it, "a cup turned upside down on a saucer". The
students were familiar with light aircraft because the schools were
close to Moorabbin Airport. Although the UFO was of similar size,
"everyone said straight away that they knew it was not a plane", Mr Ryan
said, nor a weather balloon.
The object was in view for up to 20 minutes, and many saw it descend.
The Dandenong Journal, for which the story was front-page news two weeks in a row,
reported that "students and staff have been instructed to 'talk to
no-one' about the incident". Nevertheless, one teacher, Andrew
Greenwood, gave the paper a detailed account.
"It was silvery-grey and seemed to thicken at times," he said. "The
thickening was similar to when a disc is turned a little to show the
One of the closest witnesses was a boy whose family leased land at Grange Reserve for horses.
Shaun Matthews (not a student at Westall) was on holidays and spending time on the land.
"I saw the thing come across
the horizon and drop down behind the pine trees," he told The Sunday
Age this week. "I couldn't tell you what it was. It certainly wasn't a
light aircraft or anything of the like …
"I saw the thing drop down
behind the pine trees and saw it leave again. I couldn't tell you how
long it was there for, it was such a long time ago."
Mr Matthews, said the object "went up and off very very rapidly".
"I went over and there was
a circle in the clearing. It looked like it had been cooked or boiled,
not burnt as I remember," he said. "A heap of kids from Westall primary
and high school came charging through to see what had happened — 'look
at this, look at that, we saw it as well', that sort of thing. It was a
bit of a talking point for a couple of days."
Mr Matthews said the
object, about the size of "two family cars", passed him at a distance of
about "four football fields". "It was silvery, but it had a sort-of
purple hue to it, very bright, but not bright enough that you couldn't
look at it," he said.
"I saw that it dropped
down behind the trees, and I thought, 'hello, hang on'. A minute or so
later, it went straight up, just gone."
He said police and other officials interviewed his mother.
"It didn't just sort of cruise and then slightly descend at an angle. It just stopped, dropped, and then went straight up."
The Victorian UFO
Research Society investigated the incident. VUFORS secretary Tony Cook
said Westall remained one of Australia's major unexplained UFO cases.
one was the case of Frederick Valentich, a 20-year-old Melbourne pilot
whose light plane disappeared while flying over Bass Strait in 1978.
In the last minutes of radio
communication, Valentich reported seeing a UFO hovering above his
plane. He and his craft were never recovered.
As well, "if there was a whole lot of officials investigating it, there must be an official report in RAAF archives somewhere".
But Mr Ryan said that no one at the RAAF knew of the incident.
But given the history of
the case — the way students and staff were told to keep quiet from the
start — that was not surprising, he said.
"As I got a little bit
older, I got a little more interested in the social and historical
aspects of the story, how something like this could have happened and
how it reflected society at the time, and how authorities responded to
it," he said.
" There's been a layer of secrecy that was very, very prominent in this story from the very beginning."
Shane Ryan has a Facebook
page and Yahoo chat page about the incident. In addition there is a
website about the Westall66UFO incident and a short documentary has been
made. Shane is able to be contacted on the address below and is keen
to hear from people who were there on the day it happened or who know
someone who was.