Tuesday, March 05, 2013

WESTALL '66: the sleeper awakes

Back on July 11, 2012 I gave a lecture to the UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia (UFO-PRSA) in Campbelltown entitled WESTALL '66: the Sleeper Awakes.  In that presentation I focused on the investigations & research undertaken into the 1966 Westall school UFO case that proceded the more recent research of Shane Ryan which underpinned the impressive Rosie Jones "WESTALL '66: a suburban UFO mystery" documentary."
The 1966 Clayton Calendar school magazine story (above) and the contemporary newspaper clippings (below) were the key parts of the public side of the largely hidden story of the mass witnessed daylight UFO event centred over the Westall school area.
The following 4 photos show (clockwise from upper left) Shane Ryan, George Simpson and myself (Bill Chalker) at the Westall April 2006 renunion which brought together many witnesses to the original event, including Joy and Jeff - witnesses to the 1966 Westall UFO incident.  Jeff was the author of the student account in the Clayton Calendar.  At the reunion I met researcher/director Rosie Jones and producer Carmel McAloon who were just beginning work on their documentary.  The reunion led to a feature story in the Women's Day magazine: "We've Kept our UFO secret for 40 years."
The eventual documentary incorporated the inspired use of Lee Whitmore's charcoal animations which powerfully resonated with the prominent role of school children among the witnesses to the extraordinary events that played out on 6 April 1966. Two version of the DVD documentary were issued, the main public version with Shane Ryan on the label, and the other circulated by the SciFi channel airing of the documentary, which featured my "forensic" drawing based on my on-site interview/reconstruction with witness Victor Zakry.
I had a brief cameo in the 2010 "Westall '66" documentary discussing my 1982-1984 access to the Department of Defence RAAF UFO files in Canberra, with my "shopping list" which included the 2nd April 1966 Balwyn UFO photo case; the 4th April 1966 Burkes Flat encounter and the 6th April 1966 Westall event.  Three fascinating UFO events all happening in the Australian state of Victoria within a 4 day period. Here is the clear first generation print of the Balwyn photo:
The Sun newspaper story of April 12, 1966 gave a potent snapshot of an extraordinary event:
The documentary’s reconstruction; Ron Sullivan in the field in front of the depression; the event details per Ron Sullivan & Australian Flying Saucer Review (AFSR (VFSRS edition); close up photo of Burkes Flat depression:
I undertook a detailed retrospective investigation of the Burkes Flat incident.  The following imagery shows me on site pointing to the tree that Gary Taylor's car collided with, causing his death. VUFORS investigator Paul Norman recovered a headlight from Gary Taylor's car and passed it onto my friend & colleague Dr. Geoff Stevens, then working with the Australian Atomic Energy Commission at Lucas Heights.  Geoff showed me the work he did, including tracing with chalk marks the directions of lines of magnetic force on the headlight.  The picture shows my hand on the headlight for size reference.  The relatively random directions of lines of magnetic force ruled out evidence for exposure to a strong magnetic field.  That would have caused all the lines to be running in the same direction. A contemporary photo, shown in the documentary, reveals the investigation undertaken by police and the coroner at the site of Gary Taylor's fatal car crash.  A photo from 1984 shows me interviewing Ron Sullivan, the witness to an extraordinary bending of car headlight beams at the same locality.
(Images copyright with original owners. Powerpoint presentation slides copyright Bill Chalker)
In further posts related to my 2012 lecture "WESTALL '66: the Sleeper Awakes" I will describe investigations of the Westall case between 1966 and 2005.

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