The Westall UFO encounter is an event that occurred on 6 April 1966 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Around 11.00 am, for about 20 minutes, 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. The paddock was adjacent to a grove of pine trees in an area known as The Grange (now a nature reserve).
On 6 April 1966, in the Australian suburb of Westall, hundreds of students, staff and local residents watched as a strange object hovered overhead for several minutes, landed briefly, then lifted off and vanished. Witnesses described it as low flying, silver-grey and shiny, shaped like a ‘cup turned upside down on a saucer’ and accompanied by five light aircraft.
A mass of excited students surged out of school and ran after the object. Many reported seeing a circle of flattened grass on the ground where it had landed. Others observed men in uniforms cordoning off the ‘landing site’ and removing soil samples by the truckload. Some say they saw uniformed men torch the area a few days later.
The incident was reported on television news that night and in the local newspapers. But despite the evidence, that day at Westall High School, the headmaster called a special assembly. He told students and staff that they had not seen a flying saucer — in fact, they hadn’t seen anything at all. And they were not to talk about it to anybody.
Afraid of being ridiculed or punished, many witnesses kept the secret of that day. Some are still angry about not being believed. Others say the incident has affected their lives and continues to haunt them today.
Forty-four years on, amateur sleuth Shane Ryan is stirring up the past. Motivated by a deep sense of injustice at how the students were treated, he’s tracking down former students and staff and searching for the authorities that presided over the day.