Westall UFO: Pilots could hold answers to Melbourne mystery
As an oval of school children gazed at mysterious objects in the skies of Melbourne one afternoon back in 1966, seven pilots flew overhead with reports at least one pilot allegedly giving chase.
It was around lunchtime on Wednesday, April 6, 1966, when students and staff from Westall High School and Westall State School, in south east Melbourne, spilled out onto the local oval for sport.
As the students went about their exercises, hundreds of them claim to have witnessed unexplained objects flying overhead before disappearing into a nearby grassy paddock known as The Grange.
To this day, residents and interested parties remain baffled by what took place that day, with conspiracy theories pointing to a government cover-up rather than an extra-terrestrial visit. (Supplied)
To this day, residents and interested parties remain baffled by what took place that day, with conspiracy theories pointing to a government cover-up rather than an extra-terrestrial visit.
Shane Ryan has spent the past 14 years searching for answers to what has become known as the Westall incident.
In those years, he has spoken with more than 400 people who claimed to have witnessed the incident and subsequent stern visits from authorities. However, up until last week the Canberra-based researcher knew nothing about the seven pilots.
Shane Ryan has spent the past 14 years searching for answers to what has become known as the Westall incident. (Supplied)
“Another piece of information has come through that somebody who lived locally to Westall at the time has said he knows personally one of the seven pilots who was up in the air from Moorabbin Airport and were witnesses to what happened that day,” Mr Ryan told nine.com.au.
“He knows personally the one pilot who got closest to the object and actually tried to chase it. This man is still alive and living in a nursing home.”
Mr Ryan is in the process of getting in contact with the pilot in the hope he is willing to speak about what he saw.
Photograph of the supposed Westall UFO encounter where more than 200 students and teachers at two Victorian state schools allegedly witnessed an unexplained flying object which descended into a nearby open wild grass field (AAP)
The government agencies
Mr Ryan admits he is contacted regularly by strangers who claim to have information about the Westall incident. He said he investigates all the tips in an attempt to verify them.
“When I originally started my research, I thought I’d be able to crack this nut in a year or two years, and get to the bottom of the mystery,” he said.
“Part of that thinking was that if there was this response by government authorities to the extent that it seems that there was, they must have some answers. But my feeling now is part of the reason for the cover up or the shutdown was there were no answers.”
Hundreds of students claim to have witnessed unexplained objects flying overhead before disappearing into a nearby grassy paddock known as The Grange. (Supplied)
Relatives from two former Department of Supply workers have been in touch to disclose possible links to Westall and crash investigators from the Department of Civil Aviation.
Over the years there has been suggestions that the Westall incident was part of a government program called ‘Project HIBAL’ which operated in the 1960s in Melbourne. Project HIBAL was set up to sample radiation in the atmosphere using a high-altitude balloon.
Mr Ryan said he genuinely agrees that HIBAL and other scenarios are worth examining if only to rule them out.
“For whatever reason, even after all these years, that information, that documentation that gives us information about the involvement by these government agencies, which we now know at this one level, did take place it’s just not publicly available,” he said.
Mr Ryan has spoken with more than 400 people who claimed to have witnessed the incident and subsequent stern visits from authorities. (Supplied)
“I guess that raises the question why is it not publicly available?”
According to National Archives of Australia online searches, the Department of Supply did exist as did a Department of Supply and Development. Between 1939 and 1941 the Department of Supply and Development was responsible for the supply of munitions and the production of aircrafts.
A search for the Westall incident returned no results, while ‘flying saucer’ returned 28 results, though none made specific mention of an incident in Melbourne in 1966.
Fear and ridicule
Phyll Tierney, who was 15 at the time of the sighting, said she remembers seeing three silver disc, dish-like shaped objects with a dome at the top in the sky. She claims none of them made a sound.
“We weren’t allowed to talk to the media,” Ms Tierney previously told nine.com.au.
“They told us all to go to the quadrangle, the headmaster was adamant that we’d seen nothing.”
Mr Ryan said witnesses have told him that within 20 to 30 minutes after the sightings “the military and the police were on the scene” as well as two separate fire brigades.
Relatives from two former Department of Supply workers have been in touch to disclose possible links to Westall and crash investigators from the Department of Civil Aviation. (Supplied)
“I think there is an element of fear involved,” he said in reply to questions about why more officials haven’t come forward.
“For the people who were there in some sort of official capacity – whether they were police or representing some other government agency - it seems to me that something must have been said to them at the time and whatever was said to them stayed with them all these years.”
As well as possible concern about retribution, Mr Ryan admits a fear of ridicule may come into play for some.
“But I think the more that gets spoken about and the more that gets aired in public I think the more those barriers will break down. So, through films and articles in the media it gets the word out I think and people who had some involvement and connection … they see this and they make contact,” he said.
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