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NEWS DESK

The truth is out there about UFO IT wasn’t a bird. It wasn’t a plane. People in Westall who saw an unidentified flying object hovering over the suburb in 1966 are still sure they saw something extraordinary and unexplained on 6 April that year. A flying saucer-shaped object was seen by more than 200 witnesses in broad daylight including schoolchildren and teachers at Westall Primary School and Westall Secondary School. ‘The Westall Incident’ as it came to be known has long fascinated UFO watchers and some of the eyewitnesses on that April day five decades ago will gather to recall the strange events surrounding the mass UFO sighting. Rosebud resident Marilyn Smith will join others who saw “a silver flying saucer� hover and fly overhead in 1966 to “recount their own personal experiences of the day and reflect on what it means to them today� at Screening of Westall ’66: A Suburban UFO Mystery in Parkdale. Mrs Smith, who works at Frankston Hospital in pathology, has often thought about the day, at the age of 14, when she and her school friends saw the UFO. “It all began when a girl burst into our classroom and screamed a UFO had landed nearby,� she said. “The teacher told us all to stay in class but then the bell rang so we all ran outside. We saw a silver flying saucer hover then take off at great speed.� She said a Channel 9 TV news crew visited Westall Secondary and spoke to students in the aftermath of the incident

but a news report never aired and footage has never been found amid theories of a cover-up by authorities. Several people claim “military peopleâ€? visited eyewitnesses and warned them to keep quiet about what they had seen over Westall. The Victorian UFO Action group will host a screening of a documentary about the incident following by a question and answer session from a witness panel including Mrs Smith and several others who saw the flying saucer in 1966. Documentary filmmakers Shane Ryan and Rosie Jones will also appear to discuss their research into the Westall sighting. “Hundreds of people saw it and not only did they see the object in the sky — it came down to the ground and landed. It was on the ground for some time at The Grange,â€? Mr Ryan said in 2013. As for Mrs Smith, she says no-one saw “little green menâ€? so she keeps an open mind about the origin of the UFO. “It may have been from outer space, it may have been a secret military craft. It definitely wasn’t a weather balloon which was the official version.â€? ď Ž Westall - The Witnesses Speak is at the Shirley Burke Theatre, Kingston Arts Centre, 64 Parkers Rd, Parkdale on Sunday 2 April, 12-5.30pm. See eventbrite.com.au and search for ‘Westall’ or call the Shirley Burke Theatre on 9580 4998 for ticket prices and more details. Neil Walker

Pensioner cheered by tyre pay out Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au

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Survey extended MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has extended the date of a survey on residents’ views on protecting the environment to midnight on Friday 7 April. More than 150 people have completed the survey, with more than 50 people registering their interest to attend workshops. The environment project was last year flagged as a priority in the shire’s Your Peninsula 2021 survey which showed many residents saw protecting and maintaining a clean environment “as the number one challenge�, according to a shire news release. The shire says it will support the community to protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions and prepare to cope with changing environmental conditions. To access the survey or register to attend a workshop on 27 or 30 March visit mornpen.vic.gov.au/cleanandgreen, visit a shire customer service centre or library; or call 5950 1000.

Keep watching the skies: Marilyn Smith was one of many people who saw a silver flying saucer at Westall in 1966. Picture: Gary Sissons

‘Fire danger’ has ended, but register burn-offs THE CFA is urging landowners in the cities of Frankston and Kingston and Mornington Peninsula Shire to register burn-offs and avoid unnecessary call-outs. With the official end of the fire danger period on Monday (27 March), CFA operations manager Mark Kennedy said there would be a lot of private burn-offs over the next few weeks due to vegetation growth caused by heavy rainfalls at the start of the year. He urged people to check conditions and register their burn-offs. Mr Kennedy said every year firefighters had to respond to calls from the public concerned about smoke in the air from unregistered burn-offs. He said this left firefighters and fire trucks

unavailable for other emergencies, and took volunteer firefighters away from their workplaces and families. Landowners can register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) by calling 1800 668 511 or emailing burnoffs@esta.vic.gov.au Mr Kennedy said people should give information about location, date, expected start and finish times, estimated size, and what they intended to burn. Other precautions include checking fire restrictions and weather conditions, warning neighbours, stayingnearby and having sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading.

A FRENCH Island pensioner who says Mornington Peninsula Shire’s negligence cost him $368 for new tyres has had his refund claim belatedly paid by the council’s insurers. John Woolley said protruding spikes on star pickets “sliced the wallsâ€? of two tyres near roadworks on Graydens Rd, Hastings, last month. Furious, he called the RACV which towed his VW Transporter to Balnarring Motors where the tyres were replaced. “The $368 does not include all the inconvenience and time wasting caused by the incident,â€? he said. The spikes – 600mm in from the edge of the bitumen – were a hazard to motorists and their removal since the incident proves it, he said. “It was a clear case of negligence by the shire or the roads contractor and the council had neglected its duty of care.â€? The council’s insurer, Echelon Claims Services, agreed the claim was based on “negligenceâ€? – but pointed out that the term weakened Mr Woolley’s grounds for compensation. “As the council’s public liability claims managers we have an obligation to only recommend compensation when a clear legal liability has been established as the money you are seeking would come directly from ratepayers ‌,â€? it stated in a letter to Mr Woolley. “Under the Road Management Act 2004 council is only required to inspect roads and/or effect repairs [under] its Road Management Plan [once every 12 months]. “[The Act] requires individuals ‌ seeking compensation for vehicle damage arising from the condition of the roadway to pay the first $1380 of any claim – regardless of issues of liability.â€? It then rejected Mr Woolley’s $368 claim as being below the threshold. Undaunted, Mr Woolley fought on. “I was not going to let them treat me like a nobody,â€? he said, adding that the shire should assess damages claims on an individual basis. Help arrived on Friday, after Cerberus ward councillor Kate Roper took on Mr Woolley’s case and helped negotiate a settlement with the shire’s legal department. “We reviewed the situation and agreed to compensate Mr Woolley for his new tyres,â€? she said. “It was an unfortunate incident and it didn’t seem fair [that he had to pay] as he was not doing the wrong thing.â€? Mr Woolley was elated by the decision but believed the shire “should have paid out in the first placeâ€?.

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BLAIRGOWRIE • DROMANA • MORNINGTON • ROSEBUD • SEAFORD • TOORAK PAGE 6

Western Port News 28 March 2017

28 March 2017  

Western Port News 28 March 2017

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