Jump to content

Westall UFO

Coordinates: 37°56′28″S 145°08′2″E / 37.94111°S 145.13389°E / -37.94111; 145.13389
Page extended-protected
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Clayton South UFO Encounter
Location of Australia
Westall UFO is located in Melbourne
Westall High
Westall High
The Grange
The Grange
Location within Melbourne
Time6 April 1966 (1966-04-06)
LocationWestall High School and The Grange in Clayton South, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates37°56′28″S 145°08′2″E / 37.94111°S 145.13389°E / -37.94111; 145.13389
Also known asWestall High School UFOs

The Westall UFO was a reported UFO sighting in Australia that occurred on 6 April 1966 in Melbourne, Victoria. The object was observed by multiple individuals, including students at Westall High School. Specific details vary between accounts, which increases the difficulty of identification. The sighting has been commemorated with documentaries, reunions, and a local UFO playground.


On Wednesday, 6 April 1966, students and a teacher from Westall High School, now Westall Secondary College, reported seeing a flying object.[1] It was described as round with a domed top, and white, grey, or silver in colour.[1][2] According to the students, the object descended behind a row of trees and into the Grange, an open area south of the school.[3] Some accounts describe the object as being pursued by five unidentified aircraft.[4][5] Shaun Matthews was on vacation at the Grange and reported seeing an object with a slight purple hue and about twice the size of a family car.[6]

Some witnesses reported seeing the object take off after landing, and some reported seeing it hover rather than land. When students walked to the Grange after the sighting, some reported a landing site, but the details varied between reports.[6][3] Students described a circle of grass variously as burnt, "boiled", or pressed down.[6] One student interviewed by a local newspaper described a vague circular area flattened by the wind.[3] Students also reported varying numbers of circles from one to three.[3] On 9 April 1966, Air Force personnel and UFO enthusiasts visited the field but reported nothing of interest. The landowner burned the field to discourage people from entering the property.[3]


Australian newspaper The Age described it at the time as a weather balloon: "Object Perhaps Balloon – An unidentified flying object seen over the Clayton-Moorabbin area yesterday morning might have been a weather balloon. Hundreds of children and a number of teachers at Westall School, Clayton, watched the object during morning break. The Weather Bureau released a balloon at Laverton at 8:30 am and the westerly wind blowing at the time could have moved it into the area where the sighting was reported". The newspaper also said a number of small aeroplanes circled around it. However, a check later showed that no commercial, private, or RAAF pilots had reported anything unusual in the area.[7]

According to Keith Basterfield, a runaway balloon from the HIBAL high-altitude balloon project used to monitor radiation levels after British nuclear tests at Maralinga is a likely explanation. Basterfield located documents in the National Archives and former Department of Supply indicating a test balloon launched from Mildura may have been blown off course "and came down in Clayton South in a paddock near Westall High School, alarming and baffling hundreds of eyewitnesses, including teachers and students". Basterfield said HIBAL balloons had a white silver appearance and featured a parachute and gas tube trailing from the top, which is consistent with witness descriptions of the object. There were also reports that after the incident, "men in suits" cautioned witnesses not to discuss details of the secret government exercise.[8]

According to skeptic Brian Dunning, "the weather balloon is a likely explanation for the first half of the event". Dunning suggested a nylon target drogue, like a wind sock, towed by one plane for the others to chase and known to be in use by the local RAAF at the time, was "at least one very reasonable possibility for the second half". Dunning added, as years have passed, "descriptions of what was actually seen have now become diluted with made-up descriptions by an unknown number of students who didn't see anything, and there's no way to know which is which".[3]

Media coverage

The documentary Westall '66 focuses on the sighting. It is based on interviews that ufologist Shane Ryan conducted with residents.[9] Westall '66 was incorporated into the national history curriculum as a lesson on critical analysis of popular portrayals of historical events.[10][11] The Phenomenon, a documentary film directed and co-produced by ufologist James Fox, includes content related to the Westall UFO case.[12]

Local culture

still of Grange Reserve Park at dusk
  • A witness reunion was held at Westall Tennis Club Hall, on 8 April 2006, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the incident.[13][6]
  • The City of Kingston created a children's play space, Grange Reserve UFO Park at The Grange Reserve in Clayton South Melway. The park features a silver UFO with red slides to reflect the 1966 Westall UFO Incident.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b Kachor, Kate (6 April 2018). "Westall flying saucer: One of Australia's baffling mysteries still unsolved 52 years on". Nine News.
  2. ^ Dunn, Mark (7 August 2014). "UFO all hot air". Herald Sun. Melbourne. p. 23.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Dunning, Brian. "The Westall '66 UFO". Skeptoid.com. Skeptoid. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Flying Saucer Mystery, School Silent". Star News Group. No. 14 April 1966 p. 1 and 21 April 1966 p. 1-2. The Dandenong Journal – via archive.org.
  5. ^ Foster, Ally (8 August 2018). Weir, Sam (ed.). "Audio reveals creepy details of Australian UFO mystery RARE audio of a physicist discussing one of Australia's greatest unsolved UFO cases could shed light on the baffling events of the 1966 incident". Herald Sun. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: The Herald and Weekly Times (News Corp Australia/News Corp). Archived from the original on 7 August 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2021. In 1966 over 300 children and staff from a Melbourne school reportedly witnessed multiple UFOs silently flying through the sky before landing in a nearby field. It is the largest mass UFO sighting in Australia yet hardly anything was reported on it at the time...
  6. ^ a b c d "Academic throws light on 40-year-old UFO mystery". The Age. 2 October 2005. Archived from the original on 21 June 2021.
  7. ^ Perkin, Graham; Macdonald, Ranald, eds. (7 April 1966). "Object Perhaps Balloon". Main section. The Age. Vol. CXII, no. 34604. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: David Syme & Co. Ltd. p. A6. ISSN 0312-6307. Retrieved 2 July 2021 – via Google Newspapers.
  8. ^ Dunn, Mark (2 October 2005). Weir, Sam (ed.). "Westall 'UFO' incident was actually government radiation testing, reports reveal". Herald Sun. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: The Herald and Weekly Times (News Corp Australia/News Corp). Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  9. ^ Sharpe, Matthew (3 April 2016). "Westall '66: 50 years on, still stranger than fiction". The Conversation. Deakin University. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  10. ^ Topsfield, Jewel (3 June 2011). "Our 'Roswell' now one for the history books". The Age.
  11. ^ Burton, Lee; Lewis, Robert. "Westall '66 A Suburban UFO Myster: A Study Guide" (Document). Australian Government.
  12. ^ Horton, Adrian (7 October 2020). "'It's not a question of belief': the film examining government UFO records". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  13. ^ Ronn, Florenz (17 January 2006). "The 1966 Westall UFO incident". 774 ABC Melbourne (www.abc.net.au/radio/melbourne/).
  14. ^ "The Grange Reserve (UFO Park)". kingston.vic.gov.au. Kingston City Council. Archived from the original on 21 June 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.

External links