Thursday, November 17, 2016

A strange series of sightings - Hobart, Tasmania - 1959

Hi all,

Yet another interview from the 1967 McDonald collection.

Identification Code/CD Number: 3T18S202/CD55
Date Recorded: 6 July 1967
File Size: 10.1 MB
Interview Duration (m:s): 10:33
Interview Details: James McDonald interviews Alan D Shaw (Part 1)
Sighting Date: 8 January 1959
Sighting Time: 0900 hrs
Location of Sighting: Hobart Bay, Risdon, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Duration of Sighting: 15 minutes
Witness(es): Alan D Shaw and W L Newton; both electrical engineers for the Tasmanian Hydroelectric Commission.


The two men were inspecting a transmission structure near the Electrolytic Zinc Company of Australasia.  They were outside during the observation.

Shaw read a typed statement to McDonald, that Shaw had prepared on the day of the incident.

At 0920 hrs Shaw drew Newton’s attention to what appeared to be a piece of newspaper in the air.  The object may have been caught in an updraft, over the zinc works, at an estimated height of 1000 feet (300 metres), it floating downwards to about 200 feet (60 metres).  It then accelerated to a high speed and disappeared between two buildings, about a quarter of a mile (400 metres) away.  It was travelling at about 30 to 60 mph (110 to 220 kilometres per hour), and appeared ‘flexible’ in shape.  They later searched the area and found nothing to account for this sighting.

Newton then saw a similar second object, and both men watched it until it disappeared, behind the admin building, a few seconds after the first object disappeared from view.

Image courtesy Google maps
To the north-west, both men then saw a third, high flying, high speed object, which travelled across the sky and disappeared behind Mount Direction, that is 1469 feet (448 metres) high.  This one was small, and flashing a white light at 1500 cycles per minute.  It appeared to be several thousand feet (over 300 metres) high.  In one second it travelled through an angle of 20 degrees.  A similar object was seen to the north-east.  At one time this object made large clockwise circular motions in the sky.  This object hovered, then moved towards the sun, before being stationary.

After seeing these four objects, the men witnessed two more.  The latter two were jet black in colour and elongated, and observed to the north of the sun.  Mr Newton thought they had emerged from the fourth object seen.  They looked like inverted bowling skittles with the ball leading.  The men each watched one of these black objects to watch.  Shaw’s one neared the Derwent River which at this point is 600 yards (550 metres) wide.  He thought his black object was three to six feet (one to two metres) long and 300 yards (275 metres) away.  When it got to about 100 feet (30 metres) above the river it stopped, then moved horizontally to the south for about 100 feet (30 metres).  It descended vertically and entered the water with no splash, at 1800 feet (550 metres) from Shaw.  Two seagulls were passing by and they appeared to momentarily stop and investigate the area where the object entered the river.  The time was 0945 hrs.

The weather was sunny, with a light southerly breeze with sparse clouds.  Both men were wearing sunglasses during the observation.

Identification Code/CD Number:  3T19S101/CD56
Date Recorded: 6 July 1967
File Size: 19.3 MB
Interview Duration (m:s): 20:09
Interview Details: James E McDonald interviews Alan D Shaw (Part 2)
Sighting Date: 8 January 1959
Sighting Time: 0900hrs
Location of Sighting: Hobart Bay, Rison, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Duration of Sighting: 15 minutes
Witness(es): Alan D Shaw and W L Newton


Mr Shaw advised McDonald, that he (Shaw) had, the previous year, given a talk to the local Astronomical Society about the events of 1959.  Shaw had prepared slides illustrating the event, which he and McDonald viewed as they spoke.

Shaw said that both the weather bureau and the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF) had been informed of the observations but that no one had an explanation for what was seen.  A check for weather balloons found that on this day none were released, apparently due to faulty equipment.

Shaw advised McDonald that on that day, a total of six objects had been seen.  Two ‘paper’ like ones; two flashing ones and two black ones.

When viewing the slides, McDonald clarified various points which Shaw read out from his prepared statement (without the slides it is difficult to follow parts of the conversation).

The newspaper like objects that appeared to be a 2:1 ratio in size, and they were ‘flexing’ as they moved.  The second one at times had a shape similar to a carrot or a turnip.  These disappeared behind buildings.

The black objects were near the sun.  With sunglasses, and obscuring the sun, the black objects were clearly outlined and visible.  They had no surface features.  They were dull, jet black.  When the object had entered the water he had seen no obvious splash.

McDonald states that objects entering the water is of interest to him.

Shaw said that the resident RAAF officer commented to Shaw that he may as well forget what he had seen.

Shaw gave a talk about the incident to members of the local Astronomical Society, as he was a member of that group.

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