My late father, Mr W F [Bill] Gilroy, an experienced gold miner and prospector, used to tell me of the many old bushmen he had known, during the years he spent in the Adelong district of southern New South Wales, and also in the NSW central west, particularly in the Wisemans Creek area south of Bathurst and near Oberon. One old fellow he met, ‘Mick’ had grown up in the Wisemans Creek-Oberon district, on a property established by his father, who had emigrated from Britain in the 1850’s. With the discovery of gold in the area hundreds of “get rich quick” hopefuls swarmed into these hills. Some of these ‘diggers’ were lucky and returned home rich, but many failed to make the “big strike”.
Some hopefuls stayed on in the area after the ‘rush’ was over. These men, camped out under the stars, often spoke to others about strange lights seen moving across the sky. These claims, according to Mick dated back to the 1870’s and 1880’s. Similarly, miners in the Adelong district mentioned experiences of this sort to my father when he spent some time prospecting there in the late 1920’s and these tales probably dated back to the turn of the century.
A mystery object was reported seen flying over Beechworth in Victoria in October 1874 and early settlers of the Snowy Mountains and eastern fringe of the Victorian side of the Australian Alps during the 1880’s periodically reported having seen strange lights in the night sky, or shining silvery objects by day flying over the ranges.
Returning to the Bathurst district in central western NSW, in 1893, a farmer claimed that a saucer-shaped flying craft landed on his property. Puzzled at this amazing sight he approached it on foot to get a close look at the craft. As he drew nearer, a human-looking figure in strange garments emerged, raised its right arm in which it held a wand-like object, then shone a beam of light at the farmer, throwing him to the ground, knocking him out. When he came to, the saucer-shaped flying machine was gone with its occupant. The light had struck the man on a hand, which for the rest of his life was paralysed!
About 1900 a large saucer-shaped silver craft was seen hovering over the Byng area near Bathurst in broad daylight. A number of property owners watched it as it flew low over the tree-covered hillsides.
In the first years of the 20th century there were some remarkable reports published in Western Australian newspapers. The North Coolgardie Herald published the following on 29-3-1904:
A REMARKABLE PHENOMENON.
Sub-Inspector Clode informs us that on the night of the 13th February
the blacks on Toolachie Run saw at about 11 o’clock what appeared to
be two large balls of fire high up in the heavens. The natives were
awe-struck at the sight. That evening a white man had camped near the
place. The blacks rushed down to his camp, aroused him and drew his
attention to the unusual spectacle.
The white man informed Sub-Inspector
Clode the following day that the phenomenon looked like two immense
red-hot cannon-balls, thousands of miles in the heavens. For fifteen
minutes the huge globes loomed overhead, and then gradually disappeared.
Four of the blacks substantiated the white man’s report, and one stated
that he had witnessed a similar sight twenty-five years ago. The natives
belonged to the Cooper tribe.
And then there was this lengthy report from the West Australian, Saturday 14th August 1909:
“MYSTERIOUS LIGHTS” IN THE SKY
SEEN AT PINGELLY AND VICTORIA PARK.
Residents of Victoria Park were worked up to a high pitch of
excitement yesterday by a report that mysterious lights supposed
to have been attached to an airship had been seen gyrating in the sky
immediately above the suburb during the previous night. Some colour
was lent to this report by a telegram sent to the Government Astronomer
from Pingelly stating that two mysterious lights a few feet apart had
passed rapidly over that town travelling in a southerly direction at 7.30
on Tuesday evening. Fully a dozen people in Pingelly are said to have
seen these mysterious lights, and it was thought that they might have
had some connection with the lights that were seen in Victoria Park later
The matter was reported to Constable Lewis, of Victoria Park, yesterday
morning and after having had a conversation with Mr and Mrs McIntosh,
of Canning Road, Victoria Park, who described the nature of the lights
and the way they had moved about the sky, as if they were attached to an
airship, he decided to report the matter to the Central Police Station.
After the message had been received, two constables were sent to Victoria
Park to see what was the matter. Shortly before 8 o’clock last evening,
Constable Lewis received a message from Canning-road to the effect that
the “lighted airship” – for that is what it was supposed to be – had again
made its appearance, and the constable set out on his bicycle with a pair of
glasses to try to get a look at the stranger.
Two pressmen left the city at the
same time in order to investigate the mystery, and on reaching Victoria
Park Hotel they met Constable Lewis and a number of residents. They
were all gazing at a little innocent star high up in the heavens, and told
the pressmen that it showed red and blue lights. The newspaper men
grabbed the glasses and examined the astral speck without result, but
after gazing at it until their eyes got tired they began to imagine that
red and blue colours were distinguishable, and if they had gazed much
longer they would have given evidence on oath to that effect.
the glasses, however, they began to compare the “blue and red light” star
with some of its neighbours, and soon concluded that they would be
able to see the same red and blue lights in every star in the heavens
if they gazed at them long enough. Just at that time attention was
directed to another star, which subsequently was identified as Mars,
and once the glasses had been focused on it the same red and blue colours
could be seen – by looking long enough. Most of those present were
inclined to the belief that it was a new and mysterious light, but it
behaved so orderly that the gazers were eventually found to conclude that
it was only a star.
Before leaving the locality the pressmen conversed
with Mr and Mrs McIntyre, who had seen the mysterious lights the
previous night. Mrs McIntyre said she noticed them at half past 12,
and called her husband and children out to see the sight. They assert
that they saw light in the sky in the shape of a boat, some of them
coloured, and that they moved rapidly across the sky. Once the lights
disappeared from sight, but soon afterwards reappeared. They seem to
have been fairly close to the earth.
Reports that the mysterious lights were again to be seen over Victoria
Park reached the Observatory last night, and the telescope was put
over the suburb without leading to any discovery. No explanation
could be offered with regard to the light alleged to have been seen
either at Victoria Park or at Pingelly.
Of course critics of these early press reports would put them down to hot-air balloons and zeppelins, particularly during the First World War period [1914-1918]. Yet these craft were unknown to Australian skies at that time, certainly the zeppelin. Could these Zeppelin-type craft have been the cigar-shaped UFO’s widely reported seen in more recent generations in Australia and throughout the world?
UFO’s have been recorded by the scribes of the civilisations of the Old and New Worlds stretching back thousands of years, including in the rock inscriptions of the Uruan civilisation in Australia well before those times, as we have seen.
There would have been many mystery objects seen in the sky by our early pioneers over a wide area of the Australian continent. Yet the people of that age, unfamiliar with the aircraft of later times and perhaps having only a vague knowledge of balloons, if having seen objects in daylight, either passed them off as such, or if at night, meteors, meteorites, or even comet