Meet the people whose lives were forever changed when they encountered what they believe was an alien spacecraft.
At 6am on April 6, 1966, Clayton South became host to one of Australia’s most intriguing mysteries when more than 200 school students witnessed an unidentified flying object.
It was Australia’s largest mass UFO sighting.
More than half a century later and a select group of witnesses will share their story at Victorian UFO Action’s event Westall — The Witnesses Speak.
Sue Savage, who now lives in Springvale North, was 13 at the time of the encounter; she was in science class at Westall High School when a fellow student ran into the class room shouting “there is a flying saucer outside”.
Mrs Savage said she and her classmates went out to the corner of the schoolyard and looked up in awe.
“(The UFO) was like two saucers … one on the bottom and one turned upside down on the top,” Mrs Savage said.
“Some people say there was just one but I reckon there were three.
“They were hovering over the trees and then went down into the trees and disappeared for a minute or two then rose back up, sort of banked on its side and then took off at a 1000 miles per hour.”
Mrs Savage said the encounter left a lasting impression on her.
Since then she has had a keen interest in astrology and UFOs and has had to deal with many sceptics.
“We were too young to be sceptics — we know what we saw,” she said.
“It really makes me very angry to hear people say there’s nothing else out there and I know there is.
“Even mum and dad both said it was a load of rubbish and I told my children years later and they thought I was crazy until the first reunion was held and they realised (how many witnesses there were).”
Kevin Hurley was 21 at the time of the incident and rode his bike to the school from Murrumbeena after being alerted to the UFO sighting.
Mr Hurley never saw a UFO but he walked through tall grass to the spot behind the trees where the students said the UFO touched down for a couple of minutes.
“I saw a whole lot of people in a group huddle, they were all looking at the ground and there in 2ft high grass was a big perfect circle of absolutely flattened and twisted grass,” Mr Hurley said.
“In that circle there were three distinct impressions where the grass has been penetrated down to the dirt.”
Mr Hurley returned to the site the next day with a group of friends but said it was cordoned off and a military officer ordered him off the area.
James Rigney from Victoria UFO action said these first-hand accounts were what people who came to the event could expect to hear.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Dandenong Journal ran with coverage of the incident on its front page for consecutive issues and Nine News also reported the story on its 6pm bulletin.
The film canister containing the Channel 9 footage from the incident has since been found empty in the station archives.
Witnesses believe there has been a cover-up.
In 2013, the UFO returned to Westall in the form of a playground build by Kingston Council.
Westall — The Witnesses Speak will include the showing of documentary, Westall ’66: A Suburban UFO Mystery, a presentation from amateur investigator Shane Ryan and a Q and A panel with up to 12 witnesses.
It will take place at Kingston Arts Centre, 64 Parkers Rd, Parkdale, on April 2 from 12pm-5.30pm.