WESTALL '66 - a suburban UFO mystery - a documentary you must see
Director Rosie Jones came across the story via a story in the Melbourne Age which connected her to the efforts of Canberra academic Shane Ryan to get to the bottom of the enigmatic events. After 3 years of solid research, filming and editing we now have the opportunity to view the fascinating result of all those efforts.
It is a powerful narrative of a reality denied by authority but revealed in compelling ways through the words of the witnesses and the wonderfully inspired decision to use the charcoal drawings and animations of animator Lee Whitmore. Anyone who has seen the film "The Safe House" (which gives an extraordinary perspective on the Petrov affair) will be immediately attracted to this documentary, as it uses Lee Whitmore's artistic skills to great effect. The black and white renderings of the key 1966 Westall events hauntingly evoke the 1960s era and the visions of the impossible witnessed mainly by school children. There were adult witnesses who also share their stories.
I should reveal that this is a biased review. I too have been haunted by what happened at Westall in 1966. 1966 was a pivotal year for me as it marked my embrace of the subject in a personal way - my home town of Grafton had a police UFO chase that gained media prominence. It wasn't long before my teenage interests in the UFO subject started to give me glimpses of the 1966 Westall mystery, but the astonishing magnitude of the saga was a slowly revealed thing, mainly because of the effectiveness of the cover-up that clearly took place. It captured my attention even further when it was apparent that the events even feature physical evidence - ground traces - an aspect of the UFO phenomenon that became a central interest for me. It was a case that I returned to many times as leads turned up. By the early 1980s a number of witnesses were starting to create a critical mass of interest. I devoted a lot of pages in my Australian UFO history "The OZ Files" to the Westall affair as I recognised it as a very strong case. But it wasn't until the Internet allowed for a greater communication among researchers and witnesses that the momentum developed into a great tide of information. Shane Ryan was instrumental in drawing these more recently revealed factors together and his persistence has been rewarded with a rich picture of the events. I closely followed the efforts of Shane Ryan, Rosie Jones and her documentary team, assisting where I could.
It is the witnesses though that have told the story and I hope they feel that their extraordinary experiences back in April 1966 have been well served by these efforts and the documentary. The profile of the events will be further enhanced and I hope it will bring further evidence to the surface, particularly the elusive details of the heavy hidden hand that originally supressed the extraordinary events.
Watching WESTALL '66 you will be entertained, intrigued and struck by the realisation that something quite extraordinary took place in Westall on April 6, 1966. I hope it gets you enthralled with the possibilities it reveals. Hoax or hysteria - I don't think so. Experimental aircraft - maybe, but the totality of what occurred there seems to argue for the more extraordinarly possibility - that something that wasn't ours intruded into our world. I know I'm not alone wanting to know what happened. WESTALL '66 - a suburban UFO mystery - is a powerful evocation of the mystery. Don't miss it. There will be a DVD release. Details will eventually appear on http://www.westall66ufo.com.au/