A previous post (click here) detailed a Melbourne, Victoria, Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar only observation of what they termed an "unidentified aerial object" on the evening of 3 Apr 1966, just three days before the 6 Apr 1966 Westall High School event.
When I was reading the file about the incident, (found by Melbourne researcher, Paul Dean,) a question came to mind. "Was there a radar observation of the object at Westall?"
The existence of one Department of Civil Aviation ATC report of an unidentified aerial object on 3 Apr 1966, made me take a look to see if I could find any other similar reports in Australian government files. I looked at National Archives of Australia file series A703, control symbol 580/1/1 parts 4 to 6. I found two additional reports.
5 May 1966 Tullamarine:
An air traffic controller followed an unidentified radar target from a bearing of 330 degrees to 280 degrees. Speed observed between 0805/0814z was 87 knots. "Echo signal strength was good-with the exception that between 0802 and 0804 the return was intermittent..."
10 May 1966 Melbourne:
Air traffic control reported a radar trace at ranges 140-150 miles at a bearing of 261 degrees (true.) The trace disappeared and reappeared at intervals in the same place. There was no known civilian aircraft in the area.
Interestingly, a check of the RAAF UAP files between Jan 1963 to Dec 1966 showed only these three radar reports, all packed in the months of Apr and May 1966.
So, we have three radar only observations on 3 Apr; 5 May and 10 May 1966 reported by Melbourne air traffic controllers employed by the former Department of Civil Aviation. This indicates to me that there was a system for reporting such observations between DCA and the RAAF. It seems to me, that if a radar observation had been made by ATC of the Westall object then it may be found on RAAF UAP files. It is not. There are no such records.
There could be a number of reasons why not, including:
1. A radar contact was noted by ATC and reported, but the papers have disappeared over time.
2. A radar contact was observed but the details have been suppressed because authorities were expecting the Westall object to be there.
3. The Westall object, despite being reported as a solid object; at light aircraft altitude, and disappearing at a terrific speed, did not have a radar profile.
It should also be noted that there is no radar observation on file, corresponding to the date and time of the 2 Apr 1966, Balwyn, Melbourne, observation and photograph, by James Kibel.
In response to the question "Was there a radar observation of the Westall object?" all I can say is that "If there was, there is no documentation to be found today (or as early as 1984 when Sydney based researcher Bill Chalker looked at the RAAF's UAP files.)"
The lack of any documentation on the 6 Apr 1966 Westall High School, Clayton South, Melbourne object has always puzzled me.
I can see two possible and diametrically opposite reasons:
1. If it was a UAP, and the event was supressed by the authorities, as many people believe it was; then we would not expect to find any paper trail.
2. However, the lack of offical documents could equally mean that the event was a non-UAP one, hence no reason for there to be any papers on the RAAF's UAP files.
For some thoughts on the nature of the Westall object, by former co-blogger, Pauline Wilson, please click here and here.