VICTORIAN UFO ACTION
Westall April 6th 1966
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.
The Dandenong Journal covered the encounter in detail and ran two front page stories (see images). The first was on 14 April. and the next was on 21 April.
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". 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.
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.
The alleged sighting was investigated by two groups: The Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society (VFSRS) and Phenomena Research Australia (PRA). 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. These investigators were able to speak to many of the witnesses as it was over the Easter holidays (8–11 April).
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. 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.
A witness reunion was held at Westall Tennis Club Hall, on 8 April 2006, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the incident.
A 50 minute HDTV documentary called “Westall ‘66: A Suburban UFO Mystery” first aired on Australian TV on 4 June 2010. It was funded by the Australian Government Screen Australia, 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. The documentary was featured on the 4 June 2010 cover of "Times 2" magazine in The Canberra Times.
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
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
Shane L J Ryan
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Westallhighschoolufo/ or visit
Westall Flying Saucer Incident on Facebook.
Libbi Gore Radio Show
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.