On the 6th of April 1966, Melbourne had its own UFO story to tell. It is one that I personally have heard many times since I was little. I grew up not too far from the area the sightings were, however in 1966 I was still a star in the sky and not around to witness the event. It has however become somewhat of a local myth.
At 11 am, students and teachers from Westall High School and Westall State School claim to have watched 3 metallic objects move silently through the sky. They soon landed in the paddock across from the school before flying away. They left behind defined circles in the flattened grass in the shape of what is described by the witnesses as a flying saucer. It is then claimed that a media circus followed with members of the military and men in black suits confronting the children and the adults telling them not to talk with some even saying there was a school assembly to keep quiet.
In 2016, news.com.au ran an article with witness testimonies:
Joy Clarke was 12 and a half at the time and vividly remembers the events that occurred that day.
“I was in class when students rushed in and told us the story. We rushed down to the oval and I saw three flying saucers on that day,” she told news.com.au
“My personal belief is they weren’t of this world. They were definitely from somewhere else because I have never seen anything like it all."
“The army had arrived, and the police were there. We were told we were hysterical and it didn’t happen, while men in black interviewed some of the other kids.”
Terry Peck was playing cricket on the school oval when she saw the saucer and decided to chase it to Grange Reserve.
“I was about six metres away from it. It was bigger than a car and circular. I think I saw some lights underneath it,” she told the Herald Sun.
“Two girls were there before me. One was terribly upset and they were pale, really white, ghostly white. They just said they had passed out, fainted. One was taken to hospital in an ambulance.”
The now-56-year-old said no time was wasted in covering up the incident.
“We all got called to an assembly ... and they told us all to keep quiet,” she said.
“I’d absolutely just like someone to come forward from the services just to say ‘yes, it did happen, and it landed and there was a cover-up’.’’
Jacqueline Argent said she was one of the first three kids over the fence to look for the UFO landing site.
“Originally I thought it must have been an experimental-type aircraft, but nothing has emerged like that after all these years,’’ she said.
The now-58-year-old told how she was called into the headmaster’s office and interrogated by three men immediately following the incident.
“They had good-quality suits and were well-spoken,” she said.
“They said, ‘I suppose you saw little green men’.
“I spoke to my parents about it at the time and they were pretty outraged.’’
In 2014, government documents seemed to explain what it was that the witnesses were looking at. The documents alluded to it being a part of a secret radiation testing project named HIBAL. It was a joint US and Australian initiative that was developed to monitor atmospheric radiation levels. They used large silver balloons that were equipped with sensors. Each balloon had a 180kg payload and was followed by a light aircraft that would track the balloon and trigger its 12m parachute using a radio signal. The program ran from 1960 to 1969 and it is believed that the Westall sighting is a test balloon that was blown off course after it was launched in Mildura. The 3 metallic objects would have been the balloon, its payload, and the parachute. While it is believed to be flight 292 from this program, mysteriously, the flight records of this period have either gone missing or were destroyed.
Eyewitnesses however do not buy into this explanation as they say that they saw a flying saucer that landed and then took off again. If it was one of these balloons, it would have deflated. Others claim that it has been hyped out of proportion by the media. Being that it was also 50 years ago, with the media hype surrounding this mystery, it is possible that all of the hype has contributed to some false memories. The one thing we do know is that there was something in the sky that day. The question is what?
Whatever happened on the day still remains a mystery The landing site has been turned into a memorial park with a silver UFO with red slides and light-up features for children to play on with people flocking to the area to look for evidence of an event over 50 years ago. The UFO was designed by the council as a homage to the 1966 event and the area's claim to fame as well as a sign (above).
So I am putting the call out! Were you a witness to this event? Please contact me, I would love to know your story!
Testimonies from Source: News Limited January 6th 2016 – Matthew Dunn
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