5-minute reading time
Clayton Graham. (2017). The Westfall High School UFO Event. Clayton Graham blog.
Described as a round, silver object about the size of a car with a metal rod sticking up in the air.
In 1966 over 300 children and staff from a Melbourne school reportedly witnessed multiple UFOs flying through the sky then landing in a nearby field. It remains the largest mass UFO sighting in Australia. Save for a few local papers, very little was reported at the time.
An Australian UFO researcher and photographer, James J. Kibel, conducted an interview with a science teacher from the Westall school, Andrew Greenwood, who witnessed the event. “Greenwood told me the UFO was first brought to his attention by a hysterical child who ran into his classroom and told him there’s a flying saucer outside,” Mr. Kibel said. “He thought this child had become deranged or something, so he didn’t take any notice. When the child insisted that this object was in the sky he decided to go out and have a look for himself.
When he went outside, he noticed a group of children looking towards the northeast area of the school grounds. As he approached them, he claims he saw a UFO hovering close to the power line. Mr. Greenwood described it as a round, silver object about the size of a car with a metal rod sticking up in the air.”
The planes were doing everything possible to approach the object . . . This game of cat and mouse reportedly went on for about 20 minutes and by now 350 children and staff were watching on. Suddenly the UFO shot away and vanished within seconds.
According to Mr Kibel, the teacher then told him five planes came and surrounded the object as more people began gathering to watch the scene. “The planes were doing everything possible to approach the object, and he said how they all avoided collision he will never know. Every time they got too close to the object it would slowly accelerate, then rapidly accelerate and then move away from them and stop. Then they would take off after it again, and the same thing would happen.”
This game of cat and mouse reportedly went on for about 20 minutes and by now 350 children and staff were watching on. Suddenly the UFO shot away and vanished within seconds, and it was at this point the headmaster came out and ordered everyone to go back to class.
Shane Ryan, an English lecturer at the University of Canberra, interviewed about 30 witnesses, mostly former staff and students from the Westall secondary and primary schools. The following is an excerpt from the article:
“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. Most agree it landed behind pine trees at the Grange Reserve. Dozens of students ran across what was then an open paddock to the reserve to investigate, but the object had lifted off and vanished.
“Other details are sketchier. The UFO appears to have left a circle of scorched grass; others say several circles were left in paddocks bordering Grange Reserve. Many witnesses, not all, report seeing aircraft, up to five, trailing the UFO. Some say it made no sound, others say it did.”
At the time and over subsequent years there were reports that the government tried to cover up the incident and stop witnesses from talking. Mr. Greenwood claimed it was the headmaster that first tried to quash discussion of the incident. “He gave the school a lecture and told the children they would be severely punished if they talked about this matter. He also told the staff they could lose their jobs if they mentioned it at all,” Mr. Kibel said. The teacher claimed the headmaster was so “scared” and “disturbed” by the incident that he had refused to come outside until the object was gone.
There have been claims from several witnesses that smartly dressed men in black suits visited them and warned them from speaking about the incident. At first glance it would appear that the headmaster was under instructions [probably by phone] to quash the incident as soon as possible, perhaps even before the ‘authorities’ arrived at the school.
Since the incident occurred there has been worldwide speculation about what people saw. Some people believe it was indisputably an alien encounter.
As far as I am aware the only flying military vehicle Australia was producing at the time was a target unmanned aircraft named Jindivik.
The five-plane scenario also has me puzzled. These were not military jet aircraft but light planes from a nearby airport. Why would five pilots be available and allowed to take off and chase a UFO, even if they wanted to? How did they get permission to buzz the intruder? Did they get a phone call to check out the UFO as they were the nearest available?
This event is a real puzzle, but probably not to dissimilar to other high-level UFO events. What annoys me most of all is the inability of the ‘authorities’ to admit that they do not know what the vehicle was, or what it was doing. They mostly always have some kind of explanation, sometimes quite absurd, for the incident.
If this was a craft from a non-human intelligence, witness descriptions suggest:
- That the vehicle [or vehicles] was relatively small [just over the size of a car]
- The vehicle landed for a short period of time, allowing a few of the children to get quite close, and left a perfect circle etched into the grass
- That the vehicle could accelerate at extremely high speed
- The vehicle could recognize and respond to the approach of the light aircraft
- One child in particular was severely affected and several retain distinct memories
- The vehicle did not attempt to make itself unobtrusive for a period of fifteen to twenty minutes
- There is no indication that the vehicle was manned The response from authorities was extensive and quite abusive
All of the above suggest that the UFO[s] was a surveillance drone or unmanned aircraft of some type. The fact that this was Australia in 1966 also suggests that the vehicle was alien or foreign in origin. As no similar vehicles have been announced or visited upon the public by any country in the world, the question of where it came from remains unanswered, but it may not have been terrestrial.