Sunday, 5 November 2017

Westall High School Teacher Reveals Unexpected Information Regarding Famed Melbourne UFO Case 
   


    On the morning of April the 6th, 1966, the Australian city of Melbourne was visited by an unknown, or at least unfamiliar, object, or objects. The then-outer suburb of Westall was, apparently, a sort of “ground zero” for the aerial oddity(s), where it made an approach to the ground, or, actually landed. Much has been made of the Westall UFO incident, and here is not the place to rerun the generally accepted narrative. Others, be they documentary makers, journalists, authors or researchers, have produced many a treatment on the case already. At the core of the event, a large number of school children, from Westall High School, claim to have personally witnessed the airborne episode, and their modern-day testimony has been given a considerable quantity of recent exposure. One aspect of the incident which has been insufficiently explored is that of the staff who worked at the school. Other than science teacher Andrew Greenwood, we have heard very little, either then or now, from the teachers who were there on the day, and caught up in the unusual saga.

          Recently, I have had an opportunity to exchange communications with a former English and Mathematics teacher who was staffed at Westall High School. A now successful author, Hazel Moir, now Hazel Edwards OAM, offers opinions which are quite different than the general version of high-UFOlogical narrative found elsewhere. Simply put, most (but certainly not all) of what I have personally read about Westall has been reactionary, or, has been presented in tabloid magazines, rushed newspaper articles, short soundbites and so-forth. In conversing with Hazel, I not only got to hear from a teacher, but got to formulate my own questions. In the interests of thoroughness, transparency and studying what happened that fateful April day, I present the content of my discussions with that Hazel. What I discovered was most unexpected.

          After reading a late-August 2016 media story on the Westall UFO case, which mentioned Hazel, I contacted her via social media giant Facebook. These initial contacts were on the 25th of August, 2016. I introduced myself as a UFO case researcher who wished to obtain yet-unpublished testimony from persons directly involved with Westall. Following from that, there was no response, and I didn’t persue her further. On the 26th of October 2017, Hazel, who I have established was indeed an English and Mathamatics teacher at Westall High School, replied to my year-old message. Her first communication read:

       “Dear Paul, I just found your query relating to UFOs and Westall. I’ve always maintained that there was no UFO landing at the school that day, where I was an English and Maths teacher. Two other former teachers agree with me. The most interesting development from the whole episode has been the community’s desire to have a common, significant memory. It was a new migrant community and the real story lies in the success which many of these former students have made of their lives. For just a few the supposed UFO was the only thing of significance, but others have created many worthwhile skills and projects. These are the facts, really: The supposed site of the landing where the UFO playground is now situated is so far from the back of the original school that students could not have reached it within the break. There was a hyped-up atmosphere that day, of the kind that sometimes occurs with students during very windy weather. Mr. Samblebee, the principal, did tend to be authoritarian, but had to retain order in a new and raw school, and was strict on the day. One student rang the TV station mid afternoon on a slow news day and things escalated from there. I’ve looked at the supposed witness accounts, and most are built on suppositions. e.g. Men in uniform appeared 45 minutes after and the army base is 45 minus away, therefore the army was involved. Not logical.”

       Of course, with this, I was somewhat surprised by such a clear, lengthy piece of introductory testimony. With some ado, including the swapping of email addresses, a further appraisal of what I personally study within the UFO field, and a few early “vetting” enquiries, I drafted out several exploratory questions for her to answer as she saw fit. The first question I posed was merely, “What are your general recollections of that day’s events?”  Hazel replied:

       “During the class time that afternoon, the students were hyped up, but few actually reported real evidence of seeing anything. It was gossip built on hearsay. It was the girl student who called the TV news which set a media frenzy in place. Mr Samblebee the principal tried to quieten things down but he wasn’t trying to ‘cover up’ anything, just keep control in a fairly challenging school. Lots of inexperienced staff like me in our first year of teaching. The 19/20 year-old Science teacher Andrew was interviewed by media and really liked the experience, so stories grew. Because he was the science teacher, more attention was paid. In later follow ups of the story, I always stated the story was being exaggerated, but my comments were always edited because many felt that the UFO story gave them a connection to media fame. They wanted to be part of a story. Two other teachers Roger Adams and Vivienne Clarke agreed with me. A journalist asked me, ‘What did you do after this momentous event?’ I said I left at 4pm to go to my Monash Uni lecture on politics on the Clayton Campus as I was studying as well as working fulltime. He asked why I didn’t stay after school when such a momentous event had occurred. I replied that, ‘It didn’t’.

The flattened grass was part of the area where teenage students messed around between school and the migrant camp. The journalist from the Dandenong Journal agreed that he had reported what students and staff said, but he was cynical about ‘ the little green men’ which was the level the story reached very quickly. I did attend a reunion of Westall High decades later, to which I was invited, and several were being interviewed about the UFO on that afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed my time teaching at Westall and put a lot of effort into my students. I was pleased to see how well some had done. But I was also intrigued by a few of those now adults who wanted the UFO story to be fact because it gave them kudos.

My belief is that the real story is the success of a migrant community and their desire for a common history and the reactions to the UFO story is part of that. I also attended the opening of the UFO playground (funded by Kingston Council and an excellent playground) where one of my former students asked me to keep quiet about my UFO qualms because she stated, ‘It’s my only chance to be famous and you’re not going to take that away from me.’ As a professional writer of fiction, I was asked by the documentary-maker, not to write about the subject as he wished to do so himself. I think it’s possible there was some type of flying object which went across the area, but it didn’t land.”



The second question I posed was, “When specifically did the alleged Flying Saucer incident come to your attention?”  Hazel's reply was:



“Just after lunch. I had an English class who were fairly hyped up. Usually I had a good relationship with my students, but they couldn’t settle. Several were talking about something seen from the oval. Only later was the ‘Flying Saucer’ label used. In the afternoon break, the staff talked amongst themselves, but most comments were hearsay. Students had asked Andrew Greenwood the science teacher to have a look from the oval. I’m not sure if he actually saw anything but he was the one interviewed on the evening TV news.”


Importantly, at least to me, my third question was, “Can you what discussions did you have with other staff members?”  Hazel replied:

“Until we saw the TV news coverage, Roger Adams and Vivienne Clarke (two other English teachers who agree with my view) dismissed the hype as something comparable to a windy day escalation of student wind-up. Since 1966, I’ve had several conversations with staff. Some support the view it was a UFO or maybe a military experimental flying object off course. A few claim to have seen ‘suits’ in the school after hours. We didn’t. Neither did we hear any American accents of supposed CIA/FBI undercover agents. The location is what I have the most qualms about. Where the current UFO playground is established is where it was supposed to have occurred. That is a LONG way from the back of the school oval of the secondary school. Students could not have got there and back at lunchtime, as they were supposed to be within the school grounds.”

The fourth question I asked was, “What discussions did you have with students?”  In her reply, Hazel stated:

“Within the school, students discussed their part in the afternoon, but as the media stories grew, there was a kind of ‘repressed memory’ exercise, where some began to remember things they hadn’t mentioned earlier. One student did leave a month or so after this, and that fact was picked up by one correspondent who claimed she vanished. Not so. Genuine transfer to another school which happened a lot with a transitory migrant camp community as parents got better jobs elsewhere. We did attempt to discuss in class the need for evidence before you claim something.”

Following that I wanted to make sure any contact with Principle Samblebee was covered, so the fifth question I posed was, “Did you have any discussions with the principal about the events of that day?”  Hazel's reply was:

“Mr Samblebee attempted to ‘dampen down’ discussion and wanted us to return to normal classes. Whenever the local media picked up on the story, there’d be a resurgence of interest within the school and the local Clayton/Westall community. The enthusiasm of the documentary maker Shane(?) (who was always polite in his exchanges) kept interest in the subject. He was not present at the supposed UFO incident, but his wife/girlfriend lived in the area.”

My sixth question, which aimed at potentially finding earlier interview accounts to study, was, “What interviews you have done over the years with anyone about the incident?”  Hazel replied:

“Yes. The Dandenong Journal. I have had various researchers contact me across the years, but when I claim it probably wasn’t a UFO, my comments tend to be cut. The documentary maker was the most persistent interviewer. But the eventual documentary was comment on comment rather than facts.”

With that, I queried ‘which documentary maker’, to which Hazel gave a weblink and a brief reply. The weblink she gave was www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rlHgNDGvRE, and her statement was simply:

“Doco maker Shane ? (sorry forgotten his surname) very charming and polite man. Canberra based now.”

My seventh question, was, “What you think happened that day?”

“Possibly there was some kind of flying object, viewed by a few people. I seriously doubt it was a UFO. The most interesting story is why a school and broader community want to believe it, and the speed at which a story can escalate. Much of the ancillary comment on social media about what might have happened was rarely substantiated by facts. It was on a slow news afternoon that a junior secondary student rang the TV news room. And then everybody wanted to be part of it. The real story is the subsequent sense of community created by this fiction. I’m in favour of scientific research. And posing hypotheses which then need to be proved. And of thinking outside conventional frameworks. But I need proof. Evidence. Not just opinion. And frankly the Westall UFO sighting being listed as fact, worries me. Makes me wonder about some other ‘facts’.”

Moving away from the incident itself, my eighth question was, “Have you any notes, diaries or other documentation from 1966 about the incident?”  Hazel replied:

“I gave it a passing mention in my memoir ‘Not Just a Piece of Cake; Being an Author’ (Brolga). Frankly I didn’t take notes in 1966 because I didn’t think it that significant.”

I wrapped up this series of enquires with a ninth question, “Do you care if I publish any of this one day?” Hazel thankfully stated:

“You’re welcome to publish. Happy for you to use my name. Can’t find many photos from that era. But will email you the one I have.”

Thus, with a reasonably voluminous quantity of information to deliberate over, I thought wise to clarify some of Hazel's answers. In a more loosely arranged format, I came back to Hazel on the 27th of October, stating:

“Hi Hazel. I’ve read through your answers, and these will be detailed enough for me present in some sort of report. I have a few follow-up questions. One that springs to mind is this: The girl who rang the TV station… How would this be done from inside (or outside?) a school? Surely she didn’t get permission?”

Hazel answered,

“No, I think she probably wagged it to ring outside early in afternoon.”

I then asked a question, which had already been somewhat covered, to help further nail down a footprint of previous interviews, “Other than the documentary maker, Shane Ryan, have you been interviewed by anyone in the last few years?”  Hazel responded by stating:

“At the Westall High School reunion, there were several journalists but the major involved one was the ex-Dandenong Journal reporter because he’d been on the spot on the day. He was quite skeptical and regarded it as a news gathering assignment not a fact finding mission. He said his job on the original story was to collect quotes as it became a front page suburban story.

Later, one of the ex-Year 7/8 students of mine had become a police officer, and it was she who tracked me to invite me to the reunion as my name had changed from Moir to Edwards. She tracked me via my former car’s number plate (the car then held by my daughter). So I must have encouraged a few research skills amongst my students! I think there were a few Age stories at various times (usually around anniversary dates) but most of the interest was drummed up by Shane Ryan who had managed to raise some funding for the doco. On the reunion day, Shane Ryan filmed me in the school corridors, talking about the supposed UFO, but that footage was dropped. I’d suggest you look at the geography of where things were supposed to have occurred. The Grange with the tall trees, was a LONG way from the actual school.”

With that, I asked, “So… the original Dandenong Journal reporter back on the reunion: Was he skeptical in 1966 or skeptical during the reunion? Or both?”  Hazel stated:

“Both. I managed to ask him his views at the reunion. He didn’t say that on camera though.”

On the 1st of November, 2017, I thought it time to send Hazel two school-issue photographs from 1966. One photograph was of the Westall High School staff, and the other was of Hazel's class of 1966. Regarding the staff photograph, she offered this:

“Many thanks for the Westall photos. I recognise the staff. I’m in the middle row fourth from the left. The two other sceptical teachers were Vivienne Clarke (pale outfit alongside me) and Roger Adams was the guy on the right-hand end with the glasses.”

Concerning the class/student photograph, Hazel stated:

“In the student photo, the blonde girl in the second row from the top left-hand side was Cheryl and think she was involved in phoning the TV News.”

On the 2nd of November, 2017, I asked a new round of questions focusing on Science teacher Andrew Greenwood. I bundled my Greenwood enquires into a single passage of questioning, asking, “How well did you know Andrew Greenwood in 1966? Have you any recollections from those days about him? If so, what? Also, have you ever spoke about the event with him post 1966?”  Her reply was:

“He was a fairly inexperienced, young science teacher and liked to be friendly with the students. I didn’t have any contact with him afterwards.”

From here, my interviews with Hazel Edwards OAM continue. Obviously, there are more questions to ask, more facts to yield. I am leaving others to decide what to make of this bevy of new information. I have made it a priority to have Hazel's statements published, here and now, for the purpose of demonstrating that written testimony from persons involved in a UFO case can be more valuable than anything else, and to encourage researchers to publish, with some haste, their research work. Finally, I am perusing now five other staff members, or at least their families, regarding the case.

Finally, regarding the other two teachers whom Hazel mentions, Roger Adams and Vivienne Clarke, quick search of the Westall Flying Saucer Incident Yahoo groups, turned up a message (Number 634) dated the 30th of April 2006, from Shane Ryan to the group, which read as follows:

“Dear list members, Another Westall High School teacher, Ms Hazel Moir (now Edwards), has told me she remembers one of her students, named Cheryl, talking to the TV news crew that day, in a very excited way. I wonder if anyone else has a memory of a student called Cheryl, talking to Channel Nine?

Hazel’s take on the story is that it was an insignificant thing that has snowballed over the years! I wonder? She remembers the commotion, teachers going to look and seeing nothing, and nothing more being thought of it by the staff.

Yet another teacher, Mr Roger Adams, has also given me a very similar account to Hazel’s. Like, Hazel, he said, they weren’t the type of teachers/people to believe such a story. He remembers Andrew Greenwood’s story, but doesn’t remember there being much support for it.”

17 comments:

  1. Very interesting Paul and a good contribution to the narrative, and will no doubt throw a cat amongst the pigeons, but some very obvious factual errors on her part at the very least.... Such as "there was no way the students could have reached it (the Grange playground site) within the break.... Will anyone dispute this?

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  2. Hi there. A comment from Rosie, the documentary maker who interviewed Hazel Edwards for the documentary Westall "66: A Suburban UFO Mystery , along with Shane, some years ago. The most startling thing that Hazel told us was that she didn't even go outside to check out the stories of the excited girls in her English class on the day. She had already made up her mind that the "story" was untrue and therefore didn't think it necessary to see if there was any actual evidence. She said she was in a hurry to get to another class (or perhaps it was a lecture she was attending as part of teacher training - I would have to check my notes from the day) and was too rushed to check it out for herself.

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  3. Paul, thank you for your contribution. It is great to see you interested in the Westall Incident again. I wonder why, though, you have referred to the information from Hazel as "unexpected" and "disturbing". It has been long-known that most of the teachers at Westall High School were not witnesses to the flying saucer. Most of the teachers were either in classrooms or offices or the staff room when the object first appeared (mainly to two classes doing PE on the sports ground), and were later in the staff room when the bulk of the "witnessing" took place at morning recess. For those teachers who did not see any flying saucer(s), it is perfectly understandable that they might, even after all these years, still believe that no flying saucers were present. Hazel's emphasis, I think though, is more that nothing like a flying saucer landed on the property at Westall High School, not so much that there wasn't possibly any flying saucer at all. And the bulk of the witness testimony, as far as I know, would agree with that statement. I very much enjoyed meeting and interviewing Hazel at Westall Secondary College for the filming of "Westall '66: A Suburban UFO Mystery", and on a couple of other later occasions as well, such as at the opening of the Westall UFO Playground. (How interesting that Hazel made the effort to be there that day!) I totally respect Hazel's take on the day (she was there, after all, unlike me!) and her interpretation of the event, while recognising that it is somewhat dissonant with the memories of many of the other people who were there. But it wouldn't be a UFO story - or any story for that matter - if there wasn't some dissonance! Hazel is a lovely person and a very successful author. And for those who don't know, there were several staff members, apparently, who were witnesses to the flying saucer that day. Andrew Greenwood was one. Andrew said, one year later, when interviewed by Professor James McDonald, that Jeanette Muir was another. Jeanette, it seems, was with one of the classes doing PE at the time. Andrew also said that Claude Miller was another, but it seems Andrew was referring to, and Claude has confirmed this, that he was more a witness to the aftermath in terms of the excitement and the chaos and the kids running down to The Grange in pursuit if what they had seen. Andrew and Claude went down to The Grange afterwards to investigate, but apparently did not see the circles that many others did. Gerry Shepherd also went down to The Grange and did see the circles, and could offer no explanation for them. Several witnesses have indicated that David McKay was also on the sports ground at the time, with the other PE class, and so was also a witness. Andrew Greenwood recalls that David was so interested in what had happened, that he was the teacher who contacted Moorabbin Airport to see if they knew what was going on, and if they knew the provenance of the five light aircraft that were seen flying near the flying saucer. A parent, who managed the tuck shop, Mrs Woods, was also a witness, according to some students, including her son, who was also there that day. The daughters of the school's caretaker, George Sykes, think that he was probably a witness to what ever was left behind by the flying saucers either on, or near the school property. (Their house was on the school grounds.) For those who are interested in previous discussions (albeit brief!) around Hazel Edwards and her recollections on the Westall Incident Facebook page (where I have also posted these comments - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1966westallflyingsaucerincident/), just do a search on "Hazel" in the search box, and posts from 6 March 2016 and 24 March 2011 should pop up. Cheers, Shane.

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  4. By the way, it is approximately 800 metres from the middle of the Westall High School sports ground to where The Grange Reserve is now. You can walk it in ten minutes - probably run it in five minutes (especially if you were chasing a flying saucer!). I have walked it a couple of times (and driven it many more). I wonder if Hazel ever did.... :)

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  5. Very early in my research - when I was a much younger man! - I spoke to both Vivienne Clarke and Roger Adams, two teachers that Hazel mentioned to Paul Dean. Given that neither of them had really seen anything, it didn't seem that useful in contributing to an understanding of what was, apparently, seen by (many) others. But I certainly noted it, and have recorded their remarks amongst my research. I have never hidden, nor would I, any remarks by anyone at Westall who saw either something or nothing - or anything in between. I have often talked to people - who have asked - about the accounts of the teachers at Westall that I have interviewed. If you ask me, I tell you. By the way, when I spoke to Roger Adams, he wondered how Andrew Greenwood could have seen anything, given that he was in class at the time, as Roger apparently was too. Roger didn't know that a student had interrupted Andrew's class, alerting him and the class to the presence of the flying saucer outside, which Andrew and his class, a few moments later, then went and saw for themselves. It alerted me to the fact that even being there at the time was no guarantee that one would have a complete view of what was going on even just a few metres away. As Roger said, his interest was not piqued enough at the time by the students' reports of a flying saucer, to leave the staff room and go and have a look for himself. He, like many other teachers, were more concerned with lesson preparation (not to mention cigarettes and coffee!). And I can understand that (having been a teacher myself) - but it was also a shame and a bit of a lost opportunity.

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  6. Interesting research by Paul. Precisely what I was wondering. Where was Mrs Edwards on that day? Certainly not on the oval to witness the UFO sighting.
    Most of the teachers were indoors so could easily dismiss the hyped up students or events of the day. Mr Samblebee hurriedly organised an assembly to control the situation but I don't believe he really knew what was going on.

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  7. What about the teacher who took the photos of the flying saucers? What did Mrs Edwards think if that?

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  8. Gitanoz, from memory I think that Hazel would say that no photos were actually taken that day, to her knowledge. Some students, however, do have clear memories of photos being taken, and most recall that those photos were taken by one of the science teachers, either Barbara Robins (and this was shown in the "Westall '66" documentary) or Andrew Greenwood. Andrew has said to me that he did not taken any photos. Barbara, I believe, when interviewed by Rosie Jones, had no recollection of this aspect of the story - and had very little memories at all, partly due to ill health, unfortunately.

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  9. I wish to make a few comments on the remarks reported as being made by Hazel Edwards in Paul's article. I start with ten comments, covering Hazel's introductory remarks and answer to Paul's first question. I make these comments with all due respect to both Hazel and Paul. The comments are not meant to be critical, but clarifying.

    1. “Dear Paul, I just found your query relating to UFOs and Westall. I’ve always maintained that there was no UFO landing at the school that day, where I was an English and Maths teacher. Two other former teachers agree with me." Most witnesses would agree with this, as most witnesses who saw the UFO on or near the ground, say that it was outside the school property, either over the western boundary fence, where Brady Avenue is now, or in the paddock between Fairbank Road and The Grange, or near the pine trees at The Grange itself. Given that Hazel never went and looked herself, though, it is not clear how she knows this for sure.

    2. "The supposed site of the landing where the UFO playground is now situated is so far from the back of the original school that students could not have reached it within the break." The playground is close to one of the main locations many witnesses recall seeing the UFO come down, and/or where they saw the circle(s) in the grass. It may not be the exact location, and other locations have been indicated as well. It is simply not true that it could not have been reached within the break. It only takes around five to ten minutes to run or walk that distance.

    3. "Mr. Samblebee, the principal, did tend to be authoritarian, but had to retain order in a new and raw school, and was strict on the day." The headmaster's surname was Samblebe.

    4. "One student rang the TV station mid afternoon on a slow news day and things escalated from there." How does Hazel know it was a slow news day? I have been told that two female students, having received permission from a senior female teacher, went down to the public telephone at the Westall shops and called the media. One of those students has contacted me. She herself was a witness to the flying saucer.

    5. "I’ve looked at the supposed witness accounts, and most are built on suppositions." Which witness accounts - and how does Hazel know they are built on suppositions?

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  10. 6. "The flattened grass was part of the area where teenage students messed around between school and the migrant camp." The Enterprise Migrant Accommodation Centre did not open until 1970.

    7. "The journalist from the Dandenong Journal agreed that he had reported what students and staff said, but he was cynical about ‘ the little green men’ which was the level the story reached very quickly." When did this conversation with the journalist occur? I have interviewed the journalist from "The Dandenong Journal" who covered the story, and he made no mention of meeting with any teacher other than Andrew Greenwood. The journalist was shown one of the circles by students. I have never heard mention of "little green men" from anyone connected to the Westall story.

    8. "...one of my former students asked me to keep quiet about my UFO qualms because she stated, ‘It’s my only chance to be famous and you’re not going to take that away from me.’ " This comment more than surprised me as it seems so at odds with my experience of the Westall witnesses.

    9. "As a professional writer of fiction, I was asked by the documentary-maker, not to write about the subject as he wished to do so himself." As Hazel repeatedly seems to refer to me as the documentary-maker, which I was not, that was Rosie Jones, this comment seems to be referring to me. I have absolutely no recollection of making any such comment to Hazel, and nor would I. This seems to be some sort of miscommunication or misunderstanding.

    10. "I think it’s possible there was some type of flying object which went across the area, but it didn’t land.” Again, how would Hazel know if anything landed or not...she never went outside to look.

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  11. Reading all this as an outsider, it would seem to me to be a case of a naturally sceptical teacher being unable to accept an event happening close to her but probably regretfully she chose not to investigate.
    Maybe not exactly sour grapes but close!
    Interesting that although she has no actual evidence herself she has enough respect for the pupils or other witnesses to concede there may indeed have been an unusual sighting.

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  12. Bravo, Paul Dean, for unearthing and publishing this important testimony!
    Like all testimonies, it has to be treated critically, tested not only against the memories of the students but also against the near-contemporary testimony of Andrew Greenwood in his 1967 interview with James McDonald. (Which I described in detail, with my own interpretive comments, in a two-part post on my website, https://www.davidhalperin.net/the-westall-ufo-a-teachers.../. A CD of the interview is available from the University of Arizona at Tucson; I would value the comments of anyone who's heard the CD on whether I've made any errors in conveying its contents--whether or not you agree with my interpretations!)
    There are clearly some errors in Ms. Edwards' recollections. It doesn't surprise me that she misspelled the headmaster's unusual name. But it is strange that she so exaggerated the distance from the school to the supposed landing spot, and that she spoke so confidently of a "migrant camp" that according to Shane didn't exist until four years afterward. But by raising the "migrant" issue she opens a dimension of the story which I've never seen mentioned before and which may shed crucial light on the meaning of the Westall episode as a human experience.
    Can someone tell this American, unfamiliar with Australian history, who these "migrants" would have been and where they came from, and whether they were indeed the majority of the student body at Westall High School? (And can someone recommend for me something to read on the 1960s in Australia? There's a whole library of books on the 1960s in the US--but did Australia experience the decade the same way we did?)
    There is much in Ms. Edwards' testimony that will require leisured thought, and many questions I would like to ask. Most particularly: if I understand correctly what Greenwood told McDonald in 1967, Samblebe called him a drunkard at a special assembly in front of the entire school. This public humiliation of a member of the teaching staff seems to me totally out of bounds, and points to the UFO having become almost immediately a vehicle for the tensions between Samblebe and his teachers (or perhaps among the teachers). Does Ms. Edwards remember any of this? Can she shed any light on it?
    There is one point on which I enthusiastically agree with Ms. Edwards--that the interest and importance of the Westall event doesn't hinge on whether or not an extraterrestrial vehicle landed there 51 years ago. Indeed, as a purely human story it's far more interesting and important. I'm grateful to both Shane L.J. Ryan and Paul Dean for what they've brought to light about it--and Paul, I'm looking forward to further revelations!
    (I've also posted this comment to the Westall Flying Saucer Incident page on Facebook.)

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  13. My comments on Hazel's remarks in Paul's article continued:

    11. "Students had asked Andrew Greenwood the science teacher to have a look from the oval. I’m not sure if he actually saw anything but he was the one interviewed on the evening TV news.” I am not aware that Andrew was interviewed by the Channel Nine TV news crew. My understanding is that he only spoke to the journalist from "The Dandenong Journal". It is interesting that Hazel is not aware that Andrew Greenwood was a primary witness to the UFO and the five aircraft seen near it. He was, he said at the time that he was, and his account of what he saw appeared in the local newspaper some days later.

    12. "Where the current UFO playground is established is where it was supposed to have occurred. That is a LONG way from the back of the school oval of the secondary school. Students could not have got there and back at lunchtime, as they were supposed to be within the school grounds.” The playground at The Grange is within a short walking (or running) distance from the school, as I have mentioned before. That is why it was used for the high school's cross country running training and events. (The students, and other locals, used it for other purposes too!) It was also used as a short-cut home for both Westall State School and Westall High School students. The fact that the students were indeed supposed to be on the school property at all times, including at lunch time, is one of the reasons why it is such an important aspect that so many of the students, who knew better, ignored this iron-clad school rule, and left the school property at the time the event happened - just before and during morning recess - and later at lunch time. The lunch break, which in most secondary schools at that time was around 45-60 minutes in length, gave the students plenty of time to go down to The Grange, and return to the school. Former Westall High School school captains and prefects have told me they were given the task, by teachers, to go and round up those fellow students who had left the school property and to bring them back to school.

    13. “Within the school, students discussed their part in the afternoon, but as the media stories grew, there was a kind of ‘repressed memory’ exercise, where some began to remember things they hadn’t mentioned earlier. One student did leave a month or so after this, and that fact was picked up by one correspondent who claimed she vanished. Not so. Genuine transfer to another school which happened a lot with a transitory migrant camp community as parents got better jobs elsewhere. We did attempt to discuss in class the need for evidence before you claim something.” Who is the correspondent who picked up a fact and claimed a student vanished? Several witnesses reported to me that there was such a student, called Tanya, and that memory has been duly recorded, investigated and reported. The full truth of that situation remains unknown. Yes, school transfers would have been normal at that time, as they are now. However, as mentioned before, there was no migrant camp community at Westall at this time. Of course, there were migrant children in the school and wider community, as there are today.

    14. "The enthusiasm of the documentary maker Shane(?) (who was always polite in his exchanges) kept interest in the subject. He was not present at the supposed UFO incident, but his wife/girlfriend lived in the area.” I was not present at the event. That is true. I was not born until 1967. My wife was not born until 1973, and did not live in the area. (Hazel has always been polite too! And I thank her for her that!) :)

    15. "The documentary maker was the most persistent interviewer. But the eventual documentary was comment on comment rather than facts.” Again, I think that is a reference to me, rather than to the actual filmmaker, Rosie Jones. And I do happily admit to my persistence (some have said obsession...). I think Hazel's comments on the documentary here are a little unfair though.

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  14. 16. “Possibly there was some kind of flying object, viewed by a few people. I seriously doubt it was a UFO." It is not clear how Hazel knew the (possible) object was viewed by only a few people. It is not clear either what Hazel means by a "UFO".

    17. "The real story is the subsequent sense of community created by this fiction. I’m in favour of scientific research. And posing hypotheses which then need to be proved. And of thinking outside conventional frameworks. But I need proof. Evidence. Not just opinion." Surely labelling the events at Westall as "fiction" is itself an opinion. Where is the proof and evidence that what was reported by witnesses was a fiction? What research, scientific or otherwise (e.g. historical), has Hazel done into the Westall Incident?

    18. “Other than the documentary maker, Shane Ryan, have you been interviewed by anyone in the last few years?” Here, Paul repeats in his question the mistake that I was the documentary maker. That was Rosie Jones and her crew.

    19. "Mrs. Edwards responded by stating: “At the Westall High School reunion, there were several journalists but the major involved one was the ex-Dandenong Journal reporter because he’d been on the spot on the day." I am not sure why several journalists would have been at the school reunion. It may be here that Hazel is confusing the filming of the documentary at the high school's 50th anniversary reunion in 2013, with the earlier filming of her interview at the school in 2008, which also involved the filming, separately, of "The Dandenong Journal" reporter Des Carroll. Des may be the person she is referring to here. If so, her interpretation of Des's take on the story and his involvement in it, differs from mine.

    20. "I think there were a few Age stories at various times (usually around anniversary dates) but most of the interest was drummed up by Shane Ryan who had managed to raise some funding for the doco." Describing me as drumming up interest in the story is not an accurate representation of my involvement in this research. Similarly, it is not at all accurate to say that I was involved in raising funds for the documentary.

    21. Finally, Paul quotes from a message, sent by me, in April 2006, to the Westall Incident Yahoo Groups list, in which I make clear the scepticism of both Hazel Edwards and fellow teacher Roger Adams. I mention this to make clear that more than 11 years ago I had already mentioned, publicly, (albeit in the context of the Yahoo Groups page...a forerunner, in a way, to the later Westall Incident Facebook page), the opinions of these teachers. I respected their opinions then, and I respect them now. I think they are flawed, in part...as many opinions are (mine included, I am sure). But, I would never consider hiding those opinions...ever.

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  15. Good report Paul and great follow up questions/observations from Shane BUT one constant annoying aspect Shane you have in your replies is referring to what was seen as "the Flying saucer" ... this connotes a belief system or at least a determination/belief of exactly what was seen. And your remark was always in the singular - weren't there supposed to be multiple objects that day? Better to have used the terminology pro reporters use when describing an clarified incident as the 'alleged' or replace the FS with the 'object. Anyway, time to let this one go I think. The collective confusion in this report is obvious. Regarding Westall the old adage "where there's smoke there's fire" is not all that applicable... sometimes, where there's smoke there's more smoke!

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  16. Flying saucer would have been the contemporary terminology and Shanes use of it probably reflects his reporting of others words on it as he is attempting to do. I don't think there is any need to let go of any mystery, it can be taken or left at will by anybody but no need to suggest others cease their interest because one's own has flagged.

    I for one was not even aware of this incident until now, am myself an Aussie and am old enough to have some insights of my own which inform how I view some of what is being said here which apparently is new albeit of minor import. If there are multiple witnesses claiming to have seen something then the testimonies of people not present to know but who have an opinion about what others saw even if they were minutes away themselves is meaningless and since the factual evidence provided as being against the witnesses' testimonies is shown to be flawed we're still looking at a credible incident report far as I can deduce from this page alone. I am off to look into it more, thanks all.

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  17. YOU ARE INVESTIGATING A HOAX BURIED IN THE GROUNDS OF MONASH UNIVERSITY

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