Sunday, April 28, 2013

Was there a connection between the Westall incident and the Balwyn photograph?

Hi all,

Many Internet accounts seem to assume an automatic link between the 2 Apr 1966 Balwyn, Melbourne, Victoria UAP photograph (click here to see photo) and the 6 Apr 1966 Westall incident (click here.) However, almost none of the Internet sources provides the text of original documentation on Balwyn. This post provides such text.

May-Jun 1966 issue. APRO Bulletin:

“Best Photo Yet – In Australia

Peter Norris has forwarded a print of the clear colored photograph taken by a prominent Melbourne businessman on the 2nd of April. Although the photographer asks anonymity, he is a member of the VFSRS and is known and vouched for by Mr Norris.

2.20pm on the 2nd, the man was in his garden using up the remainder of the film in his Polaroid color camera. Suddenly, a bright reflection caught his eye, and he looked up and saw a bell-shaped object hovering, on its side, over the house. The man snapped the photo, whereupon the object accelerated at great speed and took off in a northerly direction. He estimated the object was about 20 to 25 feet in diameter, and at about 150 feet altitude.

If at all possible, the photo will be included with this article [KB – it was.] In the black and white print the bottom appears black but in actuality, in the color photo, it is pink, reflecting the color of the roof over which the object hovered.”

Australian Flying Saucer Review (Vic edition) July 1966:

“VFSRS member snaps a UFO

A Polaroid colour photograph of a UFO is now under investigation by the VFSRS.

The photograph was obtained in Balwyn, Victoria at 2.02pm on Saturday, April 2nd by a society member who has requested that his name be withheld for business reasons.

The member’s description of the incident is as follows;

“It was a warm, clear day, and suddenly the whole garden became lit up. It was like a reflection from huge mirror being shone on the garden.

I looked up and saw an object bright and shiny coming towards me. It would have been 20 feet to 25 feet in diameter and was about 120 feet up in the air.

It seemed to float towards me. It resembled a big mushroom with a stalk pointing towards the earth.

Then it spun through an 180 degree angle on its vertical axis to take up the position in which I photographed it.

Then it turned slowly through another 180 degrees on its horizontal axis, to bring the stalk facing me.

From an almost stationary position it shot off northwards at terrific speed, accelerating to what seemed to be hundreds of miles an hour in seconds.

I ran and got a carpenter who was working on the house. Seconds after took off we heard a boom, similar to the sound jets make when going through the sound barrier.”

One interesting aspect of the photograph is a shading of pink directly on the bottom part of the UFO. This appears to be a reflection of the pink tiles of the roof over which the UFO was apparently passing at the time the photograph was taken.

When details of the photographic experts’ analyses are to hand they will be published in an issue forthcoming.”

Sep-Oct 1966 issue. APRO Bulletin:

“The Balwyn Photo

A complete photo analysis of the photograph of a bell-shaped object hovering over a residential section of Balwyn (Melbourne suburb), Australia, has arrived at headquarters.

Along with the analysis which proves the photo authentic (see page 1, May-Jun issue) was the identity of the photographer, and the office was surprised to find that he is one of our many Australian members.

Mr X has an extremely important position in Melbourne, and it is easy to see why he would hesitate to be identified with a UFO picture, or incident considering the controversial nature of the subject. The full story:

Mr X was in his garden of his home when his attention was attracted by a brilliant flash, as if some huge mirror was reflecting light to the garden. He looked up and saw the object coming in his general direction. It appeared to be between 20 and 25 feet in diameter and about 150 feet altitude. It resembled a big mushroom with its short stalk pointed earthward.

Mr X ran to get a carpenter who was working in the house so that he could watch the object also.

The object spun through a 180 degree angle on its vertical axis ending up with its rim pointing down. Mr X who had been using up film in his Polaroid color camera snapped the photo and waited from the timing process before pulling it out. The object then turned slowly through another 180 degrees on its horizontal axis, whereupon the “stalk” part was facing Mr X.

From this almost stationary position, the object shot off to the north at great speed. Seconds after it took off the two men heard a boom, “similar to the sound jets make when going through the sound barrier.”

Peter Norris, APRO’s Australian representative interviewed both Mr X and the carpenter (who also wished anonymity.”

The carpenter emphasised that he had Mr X in sight when the photograph was taken and that Mr X was alone all the time. The two stood shoulder to shoulder waiting for the photograph to process.”

McDonald interview:

The following text is taken from the book “Firestorm: Dr James E McDonald’s Fight For UFO Science” published in 2002 by Wild Flower press, Columbus, NC. ISBN 0-9-26524-58-5. Kibel was interviewed in mid 1967 by McDonald, when McDonald was in Australia.

“On April 2, 1966 James J Kibel was supervising alterations at his parent’s home in Australia. He decided to use up the film in his Polaroid 800 camera on the beautiful garden.

The film was so old, the witness told McDonald, that it was of altered speed. “Kibel tried one shot, which turned out badly. He adjusted the speed setting.”

Suddenly he noticed a bright flash on the ground. Although it was full daylight, half of the garden lit up. Startled, he looked up and a peculiar shiny object, descending downward. The top was shaped like a bell, and a “stalk” projected from the bottom. The object bounced up and down in “yo-yo” fashion. Kibel had difficulty describing how far the object descended. “Two hundred to three hundred feet,” he estimated. “It’s terribly hard to say.”

It was a warm, sunny day with a strong northerly wind, gusting to 30mph, yet the wind seemingly had no effect on the object’s bouncing motion. At one of its descents, the object’s bouncing motion stopped and flipped up on its lower edge. It hovered a half second and Kibel hastily shot a photo. In his haste and excitement, the camera hit his nose so hard that it hurt afterwards.

He lowered his camera , he was unable to shoot again immediately because the color Polaroid film demanded a 60 second wait between pictures. McDonald’s journal continues

“Rolling to the north, it then seemed to lose a bit of altitude, maybe 15-20 ft bottom of drop, it jerked violently upwards 30-40 feet at an angle 30 degrees to horizontal. Then curved over and accelerated at very great rate. Disappeared behind trees.

Kibel ran around the house trying to find other witnesses, pulling the film in the Polaroid to start the developing process. A worker, Mr D English, was bending down in the yard; he had seen nothing. Kibel pulled the picture out, startled by the clarity of the photo. He looked for other witnesses, but could find none. It was an exclusive neighbourhood where not many people spend time outside, he explained. He told McDonald that the object, in his opinion, was definitely “manufactured” and that its motion were “mechanical.” He estimated its size as between 15-25 feet diameter.

Jim Kibel had seen two other UFOs from that same garden when he was still living at home. In late afternoon August 1954, at the age of 15, his mother had called him suddenly into the garden to view a disc which was flipping in the sky, showing alternately a shiny side and a dull, dark bottom. Its angular size was equal to an Australian ten cent piece at arm’s length, very much larger than the moon.

Mrs Kibel reported the object to the staff of a Melbourne  newspaper, who ridiculed her, suggesting she’d been drinking too much!

After a sighting in 1958 which was also witnesses by his fiancĂ©e Jim Kibel reported it to Peter Norris of VUFORS, whom he knew personally. Remembering his ridicule his mother had sustained, he didn’t report it to anyone else. McDonald wrote in his journal “All Jim Kibel knows is that the objects were definitely there.”

Photographic analysis:

If any blog reader has a copy of the Balwyn analysis, would they kindly scan it and forward it to me at in order that I might share it with readers.


  1. I know where the hoaxer got his inspiration from and can supply a photo of the bell shaped object he used for the Balwyn photo.

  2. Really - I've seen the original photo - it's in the family album.............


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