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Westall April 6th 1966

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). According to reports, the object then ascended in a north-westerly direction over the suburb of Clayton South.

At approximately 11.00 am on Wednesday, 6 April 1966, a class of students and a teacher from Westall High School (now Westall Secondary College) were just completing sport on the main oval when an object, described as being a grey saucer-shaped craft with a slight purple hue and being about twice the size of a family car, was alleged to have been seen. Witness descriptions were mixed: Andrew Greenwood, a science teacher, told The Dandenong Journal at the time that he saw a silvery-green disc. According to witnesses the object was descending and then crossed and overflew the high school's south-west corner, going in a south-easterly direction, before disappearing from sight as it descended behind a stand of trees and into a paddock at The Grange in front of the Westall State School (primary students). After a short period (approximately 20 minutes) the object - with witnesses now numbering over 200 - then climbed at speed and departed towards the north-west. As the object gained altitude some accounts describe it as having been pursued from the scene by five unidentified aircraft which circled the object.[5][6]

Media

The Dandenong Journal covered the encounter in detail and ran two front page stories (see images). The first was on 14 April.[7] and the next was on 21 April.[8]

Broadsheet newspaper, The Age ran a very small article about the Westall incident on 7 April 1966, on page 6:

"Object Perhaps Balloon - An unidentified flying object seen over the Clayton-Moorabbin area yesterday morning might have been a weather balloon. Hundreds of children and a number of teachers at Westall School, Clayton, watched the object during morning break."

The newspaper also said a number of small aeroplanes circled around it. However, a check later showed that no commercial, private or RAAF pilots had reported anything unusual in the area. The Weather Bureau released a balloon at Laverton at 8:30 am and the westerly wind blowing at the time could have moved it into the area where the sighting was reported".[9] Witnesses and researchers were surprised when The Sun News-Pictorial (a tabloid) ran no story, yet The Age (a broadsheet) did.

The Sun and The Herald newspapers, while not mentioning the Westall incident, both published cartoons in the following day's editions that made light of the flying saucer phenomena.[10]

GTV Channel 9 television also ran a news report about the encounter. A student, Joy Tighe, described the event for the reporter. However, a copy of this film is not available. Channel 9 reports that it was removed from their archive and not returned.[citation needed]

Unofficial investigation

The alleged sighting was investigated by two groups: The Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society (VFSRS)[11][12] and Phenomena Research Australia (PRA).[13][14] Both groups described it as being one of Australia's major unexplained UFO cases. The VFSRS team arrived on the site on 8 April and spoke to students and viewed the ground mark. The VFSRS printed an image and a small report in their magazine "Australian UFO Bulletin" in December 2000. An investigator, Brian Boyle (PRA), arrived at the site on 9 April with four army investigators. Boyle did a number of interviews, which he recorded on tape, over a number of days and took samples from the ground mark.[15] These investigators were able to speak to many of the witnesses as it was over the Easter holidays (8–11 April).

Proposed explanations

Conventional

Although some witnesses reported five Cessna-type aircraft around the object, investigators were unable to find any record of such aircraft. Moorabbin Airport, which is 4.76 km (south-west) from the location, was checked but no aircraft from that airport entered the airspace. The RAAF also reported no military activity in that area.

The Australian Skeptics described the object as potentially having been an experimental military aircraft.[16] They suggest that it may have been a nylon target drogue, like a wind sock, towed by one plane for the others to chase and known to be in use by the local RAAF at the time.

Reunion

A witness reunion was held at Westall Tennis Club Hall, on 8 April 2006, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the incident.[17][18]

Recent media

Documentary

A 50 minute HDTV documentary called “Westall ‘66: A Suburban UFO Mystery” first aired on Australian TV on 4 June 2010.[19][20][21][22] It was funded by the Australian Government Screen Australia,[23] and was directed by Rosie Jones and produced by Carmel McAloon. Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper, on 3 June 2010, had an article on page 37 promoting this documentary. The Herald Sun article featured drawings of the incident and a photo of four witnesses.[24] The documentary was featured on the 4 June 2010 cover of "Times 2" magazine in The Canberra Times.[25]

On 4 June 2010 a Seven Network TV program, Today Tonight, produced a segment about the Westall case and documentary.

 

(SOURCE OF INFORMATION - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Article by Shane Ryan

 An Ongoing Mystery: The Westall Flying Saucer Incident

The Westall Flying Saucer incident represents one of the best perhaps the

best of the category of UFO sightings described as daylight, mass-witness,

school-based sightings and landings. And it all happened in Westall, in

what was then the City of Oakleigh, but which is now the City of Kingston.

 It was the Wednesday before Easter: April 6, 1966. Westall was, and is, a

small community – a neighbourhood – within the larger suburb of Clayton

South, 21 kilometres from the CBD of Melbourne. This was just ten years

after the very successful Melbourne Olympics, but somehow the celebratory

and optimistic vive of that time had given way to a certain torpor, as

Australia – even with the tyranny of distance – felt keenly the

ever-present threats of the Cold War, and sank ever deeper into the mire

of the Viet Nam War.

So, on this Wednesday in April, with the first school term about to finish

the following afternoon, followed by two weeks of school holidays, it's a

fair bet that the students, and teachers, were focussed on their imminent

vacations. At about 10:15 that morning, however, two groups of students

were involved in Physical Education classes on the school’s playing field,

where the kids learnt and played cricket, hockey and football. One of the

teachers, Miss Jeanette Muir, from New Zealand, was probably the first

adult to notice the object, alerted to it by the cries – and shrieks – of

her students. As the object had made no sound as it approached the school

oval, it was right overhead when it was spotted. For several minutes about

fifty Form 1 and Form 3 students, and their two teachers, watched as this

silver/white, shiny, metallic-looking flying object, about the size of one

or two cars, and shaped like an upside down bowl, flew low over their

heads. It flew so low - as low as the tops of nearby gum trees and

football goal posts - many students thought it was readying to land, or

feared an imminent impact with the ground. Some of the students reacted

with panic, and many became distraught. Miss Muir and another male teacher

attempted to gather the students and shepherd them back towards the safety

of the school buildings. The sight of this strange craft was overwhelming

for many. It had appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, but it seemed to be

flying and hovering with intent, as if it was under control, indeed as if

it was a vehicle with something inside. Mystifying for those watching,

however, was the fact that it was clearly not an aircraft or a balloon:

there were no windows; no visible engines or propellers; no wings or fins;

no flashing navigational lights; no markings, or letters or numbers of any

kind; no ropes or strings. Its shape was clear, its lack of sound obvious,

but both incongruous; it was flying, not floating. For others, something

else was startling: there seemed to be one, perhaps two other objects just

like it, but further up in the sky, keeping their distance.

 By this stage, one extremely agitated Form 1 student had broken away from

her class and the control of her teacher, and had run back into the school

building, bursting in on a Form 2 science class under the control of

teacher, Mr Andrew Greenwood, blurting out that “there were flying saucers

outside, flying saucers outside!” Mr Greenwood reacted harshly to the

intrusion, attempted to settle his class, who were by now craning their

necks at the windows which looked out towards the oval. A few minutes

later, the recess bell sounded, and Mr Greenwood, with students in tow,

went to look for themselves. He was the science teacher after all! When

the excited student ran past the ablution block to burst in to the science

lab with the amazing news, she had run past another Form 1 student who was

standing nearby. This girl had a sick note and so wasn’t doing PE, but was

watching from the sidelines. She had watched in utter amazement as she saw

the objects first appear and silently fly in, and is sure that at least

one of them flew down so low over the oval that it disappeared behind the

wooden paling perimeter fence where, she presumed, it landed in the grassy

paddock adjacent to the school. Later, classmates would lead her to that

fence so that she could see the marks left behind from where the flying

saucer had touched down.

      Students at work at Westall High School 1963. Courtesy Leader Collection.

On the grassy oval, and in the adjacent asphalt quadrangle, pandemonium

had broken out. Word of the arrival over the school of between one and

three flying saucers had spread like a bushfire. Boys were shocked to see

girls, still in their PE uniforms, hanging off the fences! When Andrew

Greenwood and his class arrived, the closer flying saucer had begun to

move away from the school, but was still very visible in the sky, above a

copse of pine trees at a property called The Grange, about 400 hundred

metres away. To the amazement of everyone watching, the larger (or closer)

flying saucer flitted from one side of the sky to the other, as if it was

just blinking off and then on again at spots hundreds of meters away. It

ascended and descended and turned at incredible speeds. It was like

watching a dragon fly trapped in a bottle, except this dragon fly had no

wings, and the bottle was the size of the sky – a cool blue Autumn sky,

with nothing but a few white fluffy clouds off in the distance. Nothing

else, that is, until the silence in the sky was broken by the sound of

five small planes suddenly appearing. Everyone at the Westall schools knew

the sight and sound of planes very well. One of Australia’s busiest

airports – at that time Melbourne’s second main airport – Moorabbin

Airport, was a mere four kilometres away. The skies above Westall were

constantly abuzz with the sound of planes flying in and out and doing

their circuit-and-bumps training. So when these five planes appeared it

was obvious that they were Cessna-like aircraft, and that the flying

saucers bore no resemblance to them in any way. But these planes didn’t do

what the planes over Westall normally did. They didn’t drone high overhead

in the direction of the nearby runways. Instead, they flew low, down

towards the flying saucer, as if trying to get closer to it. And every

time they seemed to edge towards the strange craft, it just flitted away,

as if playing a game with them of cat-and-mouse. And although these

encircling cats outnumbered the mouse, the cats could not match this

mouse’s speed nor agility. And then, without warning, the flying saucer

descended behind the copse of pines and vanished, temporarily, out of

view.

By this stage about 300 of the high school’s 485 students had amassed on

and around the oval, many climbing the high wooden fence on the school’s

western boundary, and the wire fence at the foot of the huge high-tension

electric power pylon that stood in the school’s south-western corner. Two

huge pylons at either end of the extremities of the school property

carried high-voltage power lines. The flying saucer had lifted off and

over these power lines as it ascended into the sky from the school and

moved south towards The Grange. At the sight of the flying saucer

disappearing behind the pine trees, a huge group of students jumped the

low wire fence that separated the school from the drainage ditch that ran

alongside the dirt Fairbank Road on the school’s southern flank, and ran

towards The Grange in hot, excited pursuit of the flying saucer. The cries

of several teachers to return to the school property fell mostly on deaf

ears as dozens of these 13-16 year-old adventurers traversed dirt tracks

and paddocks in search of their quarry.

 A “lucky” few arrived before the main horde of kids at the site beyond the

pine grove. One Form 1 witness remembers arriving in time to see the

flying saucer lifting off from where it had settled, or perhaps had been

hovering. On the ground were two other girls – one fainted in the dirt,

the other just getting up but still dazed. She thinks there were a few

boys there too, keeping their distance. While she tried to take all this

in, the craft ascended, turned onto its side, and then flew up and away at

a great rate, vanishing from view. Another Form 2 student told of running

after her Form 1 friend who was much faster than she, and finding her

three-quarters of the way between the school and where the craft appeared

to have landed. Her younger friend was hysterical and had already started

running back towards the oval; she tried to calm her and question her but

the girl was too wrought, and broke free from her friend’s worried

embrace. The Form 2 girl then decided not to venture any further into The

Grange and returned to school, in time to see her friend overcome, falling

into the arms of a teacher. Shortly afterwards she watched as an ambulance

arrived, drove onto the playing field, and transported her friend away.

Forty-five years later she still wonders about her friend, as she never

returned to school, and was not sighted again.

  It appears that the flying saucer was on, or near the ground, beyond the

trees, for only a few minutes. More and more students – and some teachers

- arrived, fanning out across the expanse of The Grange, to find that the

object had gone. Those who stayed back at the school were able to watch it

ascend and fly away, but many of those at The Grange had this view

obscured by trees. Those at the school attested to the incredible speed

with which the main flying saucer, and the other two, departed – as if in

the blink of an eye. The five planes, which were still circling overhead,

were left in their wake as if they were standing still, although of course

they themselves were moving at some speed. These planes then moved away

from the view of the school, and they too, like the objects they were

hopelessly attempting to pursue, were not ever seen again. For those brave

souls who ventured to The Grange, however, an unexpected reward was

waiting for them. Although the flying saucer had departed, left behind in

its place was a huge and perfect circle of flattened grass, with the

stalks of grass swirled around in one direction, with a distinct ring of

discoloured grass around the perimeter. Many recall that the perimeter

seemed to be singed, or a little burnt, or scorched. Others also recall

three indentations in the grass around the circle. Strangely, for those

who first arrived, there seemed to be no vehicular, animal or human tracks

in the grass surrounding the circle. For these witnesses there was no

doubting the obvious correlation between the bowl or saucer-shaped craft

they had seen in the sky, and then descending to this spot behind the

trees, and the tightly wound circle of flattened grass before their eyes.

Although teachers – and prefects – soon arrived on the scene to haul the

students back to the relative safety of the school grounds, these older

teens and adults themselves became witnesses too. One of them, the

woodwork teacher, Mr Gerry Shepherd, found it difficult to believe the

stories of flying saucers – he had not seen any – but he could not deny

the sudden and unprecedented appearance of this circle in an area he knew

like the back of his hand. The school used The Grange for its

cross-country running, and students and locals used it for all manner of

other activities – licit and otherwise! In the two decades Mr Shepherd

taught at the school, he had never before, nor since, seen such a

perfectly formed circle in such an unlikely place. Nor was the pandemonium

of that day ever to be repeated in his career. As he described it,

“Westall High School, as a teaching institution, ceased!” in the immediate

wake of these extraordinarily unexpected events. The headmaster, Mr Frank

Samblebe, and his staff, tried to wrest control back over his school, as

was their responsibility, of course. At a school assembly called after all

the students had been returned to the school grounds, Mr Samblebe made it

clear to the student body that flying saucers did not exist, and that they

had not seen anything of importance, and that, despite this, they were not

to speak again of the day’s events, and most importantly, they were not to

speak to the media which had begun to gather at the school’s front gates

in Rosebank Avenue. Several students recall that standing alongside the

headmaster at the assembly that day, were several people they had never

seen before. Some recall that they wore dark suits, others that they were

in dark blue uniforms; all agree that they were “from the Government”.

Several students were to have up-close encounters with these “suits” in Mr

Samblebe’s office over the following hours, and for them there was no

doubt that they were there to put a lid on things and to keep what had

just happened in Westall, in Westall.

Over the coming hours that day, and especially after school, however, many

people, including students from the primary and high schools, and their

families and neighbours, made their way down to The Grange to see the

circle. They were gob-smacked by what they found, and for those students

who went down with their parents, no doubt relieved that their parents now

believed them. Unfortunately, for most of the Westall students, that

wasn’t their experience…and to this day, after 45 long years have passed,

many are still hurt that their own parents and siblings refused to believe

them, or at least were reluctant to. Someone who definitely still believes

that the students saw something extraordinary is Albie, a fire-fighter

from nearby Springvale Fire Station, who, with his crew, was despatched

that day in response to a report of something strange crashing or coming

down amongst the trees at The Grange. To this day he clearly recalls the

route their fire truck took as it crossed over busy Westall Road and

negotiated the bush tracks and brambles, and heath and gum and pine trees

that made up The Grange. The fire crew did not have exact coordinates, and

so drove around looking for the “crash site”. When they arrived they found

a swarm of school kids running around looking for where the craft had gone

to; someone said it had skipped over the fence and into the adjacent

Spring Valley Golf Course, but Albie said no such reports came in of that

happening. Another branch of the emergency services had also been alerted

that day. David, the then Deputy Controller of the Civil Defence

Organisation, now known as the State Emergency Service, informed me they

too had received a report of something in trouble – perhaps a crash - at

The Grange. A crew was despatched from the Oakleigh depot, but they also

arrived too late to see any craft, but in time to see the melee happening

in and around The Grange. Both emergency crews returned to their

respective stations with many unanswered questions.

 Between the towering pine tree canopy, and the almost impregnable

blackberries and heath, the volunteer fire fighters and civil defence

crews may not have known exactly where they were going (or what they were

looking for!) when they arrived at The Grange in Westall. However, it

seems that the police and the military who arrived on the scene did.

Twenty-four of the witnesses – including a teacher - have recounted

memories of people in police and/or military uniforms (some say army, some

air force, some aren’t sure) coming to the school or to the site of the

circle at The Grange. Some recall police, army and fire vehicles

responding within twenty minutes, and still remember the sight of their

small convoy raising dust as they raced along what were mainly unsealed

roads at the time. Another witness recalls about twenty soldiers dressed

in khaki uniforms alighting from two jeeps and two long-bed trucks with

camouflage tarpaulins over the top, taking charge of a paddock containing

a circle. Another, an apprentice, who had two younger siblings at the

school, remembers taking cover behind pine trees as he and his high school

sister watched four soldiers – two enlisted men in camouflage and two

others in officer dress – examine the circle with special equipment.

Another, who was an electrical engineering student at nearby Monash

University, rode down and met his uncle at The Grange, who showed him the

circle. The following day he returned with mates from university, and was

surprised to find the same place completely sealed off with barricades and

soldiers on point duty. In the distance, however, near the paddock

containing the circle, he could see soldiers alighting from trucks

wielding what appeared to be Geiger counters and metal detectors. They

were told to “piss off” by the guards in no uncertain terms! A week later

he went back again. The barricades and the soldiers were gone, but so was

the circle! At first he noticed that the grass had been cut between the

road and the paddock, and then, in the paddock itself, the whole area had

been burnt, leaving no trace of the remarkable circle he and his uncle,

and hordes of others that day, had clearly seen. Several boys from the

high school, who a few short years later became police officers

themselves, clearly recall seeing two types of uniforms present around the

school on the day of the sighting. One of the students was the son of a

serving police officer and knew the uniforms well. Clearly, some were

police and some were military. They were working together, or at least,

alongside each other. Lastly, a freelance news reporter, alerted to the

incident by a radio news flash, raced over to Westall only to find his

path blocked at every entrance to Westall by a cordon of what he was later

told were Commonwealth Police officers and cars.

Fortunately, the military, police and emergency services weren’t the only

ones called. A couple of female students raced outside and down the street

to the phone box outside the Westall shops in Rosebank Avenue and called a

TV station. Local residents called the district newspaper The Dandenong

Journal. By the afternoon, a TV crew from Channel Nine was at the front

gate attempting to interview excited witnesses. Several students managed

to give their version of the events before a police officer and a teacher

intervened and ordered the students back inside. The story, including

vision of the interrupted interview, aired on Melbourne TV news that

night. The Dandenong Journal was able to interview Mr Greenwood and a Form

2 student, Marilyn Eastwood. Both teacher and student were severely

reprimanded by the headmaster for doing this. The story, deliciously, was

the leading front-page story for two weeks running, and remains an

important primary document from the event. Strangely, even though the

newspaper’s contract photographer is sure he took photos of the circle at

the time, they were not published as part of the articles. Incredibly

frustratingly, Channel Nine, after a search in both its Melbourne and

Sydney film archives, was not able to locate the original news story which

all of the witnesses recall watching that April night. I contacted the

original news reporter, who had clear memories of the story as, although

flying saucer reports were fairly common at the time, he had never covered

one then nor since that involved schools and with so many witnesses – and

in broad daylight. He put the loss of the film containing his news story

down to the vagaries of time!

 Front page of the Dandenong Journal in which a report on the Westall

Flying Saucers affair was published,1966. Courtesy Kingston Collection.

   Investigators from the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society arrived on

the scene two days later – Good Friday. By this stage however, the school

was closed for the vacation, and the students had dispersed for the Easter

break. They did manage to speak to some locals, however, and take photos

of the circle in the grass. The Society now says it cannot locate those

photos, nor any investigation notes that may have been taken. The

Dandenong Journal writers Des Carroll and Dave Oakley, as well as a

Government meteorological physicist, Dr F.A. Berson, attempted to follow

the incident up with the school authorities, local residents, Moorabbin

Airport, the Department of Air, and the Army, but were told they knew

nothing. Victorian researchers, Paul Norman and Peter Norris, contacted

American atmospheric physicist and researcher Professor James McDonald,

and he interviewed both Andrew Greenwood and Dr Berson in 1967 whilst

visiting Melbourne, and his notes have become an important source of

information about their reflections on the incident. Andrew Greenwood has

always stood by his story, without being able to offer an explanation for

what he saw. He told Professor McDonald that Miss Muir had also seen the

object when it first appeared, but that she had clammed up about it and

would not talk. He believed three teachers in total had seen the object,

but would not have been surprised if there had been more, but that such

was the adverse reaction from Headmaster Samblebe, and others, towards

those who spoke up, nothing more would probably be said.

  In April 2011, Westalls’ flying saucer witnesses gathered to remember and

to seek answers. Despite the passage of time, around 50 people made their

way back to the modest quadrangles and playing fields of Westall Primary

School, to mark the 45th anniversary of the day flying saucers appeared,

out of the fine, blue autumn skies over Melbourne, in full view of

hundreds of people at the two Westall schools and surrounding areas.

 Reunion at Westall of those associated with the Unidentified Flying Object

incident of 1966. Members of the media were present to record the

occasion. Courtesy Kingston Collection.

Those gathered included former teachers and students from the high school,

former students from the state (primary) school – one of whom is now that

school’s bursar, a former university engineering student, a former market

garden worker, and a former engineer at the local bakery who was also then

a parent of two state school students. Two of those present had stood

within arm’s reach of the flying saucers as they sat on the ground, in

grassy paddocks adjacent to the schools. Two of those present had vivid

memories of being called to the headmaster’s office and being grilled

about what they had witnessed. Others had clear memories of seeing

uniformed police officers and soldiers – one was even tapped on the

shoulder by one and ordered back into the school!

 As part of the gathering, the witnesses and their friends recreated the

events of the day by retracing their steps. Starting at the high school

science room where a girl burst in from her physical education class to

let teacher Andrew Greenwood know that there were flying saucers outside;

to the headmaster’s office where, apparently, the phone rang hot that day

with everyone from the air force to journalists trying to make contact

with Frank Samblebe; to the playing fields of the high school and the

state school; and then finally down to The Grange where a flying saucer

was seen to descend behind century-old pine trees.

And so, the search continues. It seems that the answers to the mystery of

Westall 1966 lie within the memories of a few remaining people who were in

charge that day…and that only their willingness to talk will break the

back of this 45-year-old riddle. As always, we rely on fellow citizens to

be honest and courageous, open and transparent…as the witnesses have been…

for knowledge – of ourselves, and our world – to progress, and for truth

to prevail.

Author

Shane L J Ryan

References

http://www.westall66ufo.com.au

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Westallhighschoolufo/ or visit

Westall Flying Saucer Incident on Facebook.

Libbi Gore Radio Show

Shane Ryan and Kingston Council's Mr Steve Perumal appear on Sunday with Libbi Gorr.

Kingston Council to Build UFO Park in Recognition of the UFO Event

At "The Grange" Reserve in Westall, home of the famous 1966 school UFO sighting the City of Kingston is building a UFO Park, and upgrading faclilities at the area. This is a direct acknowledgement of the UFO event which occured and will also see the area become a greater attraction for locals and other people.


The UFO Park is due to be built early in 2013 and be operational mid year, we will cover the opening and bring you more news and pictures .

UPDATE - THERE HAS BEEN A DELAY IN CONSTRUCTION, DUE TO IMPROVEMENTS BEING MADE TO THE ORIGINAL PLAN AND WORK IS NOW SCHEDULED TO COMMENCE IN JUNE, 2013

THE PARK WONT BE READY FOR THE UFO EVENT ANNIVERSARY IN APRIL, BUT HOPEFULLY WILL BE COMPLETED BEFORE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS OF THE WESTALL HIGH SCHOOL, TO BE HELD AROUND OCTOBER, 2013.

WE WILL KEEP YOU INFORMED AS THIS PROJECT DEVELOPS.

The Grange Playground Construction Updates

We are committed to bring you progress updates on the now famous Kingston Council UFO Playground, keep checking here as we update information as work progresses.

 

14/06/2013

 

After appearing on the radio show "Sunday" with Libby Gorr, Steve Perumal advised work would begin straight after the Queen's birthday weekend. So it was to my surprise after visiting The Grange on Friday still no work has begun. In fact there was not one piece of construction work or building materials to be found. We can only assume after such a bad week for weather they were forced to delay construction. Here are some nice pictures I took today anyway. So stay tuned for the next update soon.

18/06/2013

 

Well construction is well underway with the dismantlement of the old playground. Amazing who you bump into when you go to The Grange, see who and more pictures by clicking on the link below.

To see more pictures of "The Grange" then click here

Over 100 photos available

The Grange UFO Children's Playground Begins Construction

2nd June 2013

 

Work is being done to begin the UFO playground construction. Thanks to the work of Shane Ryan and Kingston Council's Mr Steve Perumal this will be a memorial to one of Victoria's biggest UFO cases.

The History of The Grange

Farming

The Grange has been preserved for us due to the fortunes of history. Much of the surrounding Cheltenham heathland has been lost since European settlement. The land of The Grange has a rich and interesting European history, which gives us some insight into the history of Clayton as well. The Grange Heathland Reserve acquired its name from a large homestead known as the Richmond Grange built in the area in the late 1850's as a part of the Windert Station.

Duncan McLeod introduced dairy-farming in 1858

Duncan McLeod was a Scottish settler who arrived in Australia in 1852, at the age of twelve. He bought the Windert station, a new estate of 33 acres in 1858, where he built a weatherboard house and a dairy. He died of lung disease on 27th February, 1886. On 25th February,1890, his wife was killed in a goods train accident. Cr. Jago, of Richmond acquired the property in 1892.

Cr. Jago: Mayor of Richmond

Charles James Jago was born in Truro, Cornwall in 1836. He was the son of a merchant trader. He served in the Crimean War, after which he left the army and emigrated to Australia in 1858. He married a Miss Hughes of Sidmouth, England in 1863. She died in 1879.

Photographed in the 1980’s

“St. Elme”

The Richmond Jago Residence from 1890–5content. 

When Charles James Jago came to Australia, he spent some time on the gold-fields before going into the machine importing business. He resided in Richmond from 1863 and later Burnley, where, some years later, he built The Rising Sun Hotel. In 1890 he was elected to the Richmond city council, a position he held for many years. He served as Mayor for the City of Richmond on three occasions.

 

Charles James Jago owned The Grange from 1892–1914. He purchased the Richmond Grange homestead and 33 acres of surrounding dairy land in 1892. That year he married Agnes Pierce of Croydon Park. They had five children.

Mrs Agnes F Jago

Cr Charles James Jago

After buying The Grange country estate, he was elected to the North Riding of Dandenong Shire Council, and served for some time, and later as President of the Shire. He held this position at the same time that he was mayor of Richmond. Charles Jago was also a member of the Dandenong Agricultural Society. He was considered to be a "gentleman" in his day. Charles Jago died peacefully in 1914, he was 77 years old.

The Grange Homestead

(Sketch: P Thurbon)

Unfortunately, no pictures of The Grange have been located, since it was destroyed by fire, despite much effort. This sketch is based on the memory of May Keeley.

The Grange Building: Cr. Jago's Alterations and Additions

When Cr. Jago bought the Windent Estate, he expanded the eight- roomed weatherboard home, building onto the front using reddish-brown bricks. The roof was a double gable, which ran the length of the house.

 

The Richmond Grange became a high-class country home; boasting many rooms, including a large ballroom, which could accommodate up to 100 people. There was also a brick tower, flagpole and a portico. Large iron gates provided the entrance to a tree-lined carriage-way with a beautiful garden of large European trees such as Pine and Elm surrounding the homestead. The entrance to the estate was from Westall Road, named after Thomas Westall who lived opposite the property.

 

The stately house was located to the west of Westall Road, near the junction of Murchison Crescent and Spring Valley Drive. It was destroyed by fire in the 1940's. The remains of The Richmond Grange, together with its formal gardens and outbuildings were finally removed in the 1950's. The pine trees, which now dominate the entrance to The Grange, were once part of the original gardens.

Market Gardens

The area surrounding The Grange became market gardens. It is believed that the original heathland vegetation was preserved, in part of the farm, as a barrier to potential poachers, and to provide shelter for cattle.

 

SOURCE : http://home.vicnet.net.au/~grange/European.html 

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