by Diane Harrison
Before I start this article I would like to relate a little history of the small town called Guyra.
Guyra is loacted on the New England Highway some 40 kilometres north of ARMIDALE and 607km north of Sydney. It is a major road junction where roads from the west cross the New England Highway and link to the coast. The name Guyra is Aboriginal for "fish may be caught". I have it on good authority from a local Policeman Larry Hoffman the local streams are excellent fishing and are rich in fresh water yellowbelly. Guyra is 1400 meters, above sea level, nestled in the NSW Mountain region on the Great Dividing Range, which I might add locals are happy to boost, "Guyra is Gods own country, we live on top of the World, we are the highest spot in New South Wales and it is the bloody coldest", said with a smile.
The area is rich in mining history, but today it is known more so for its fat lambs, beef, wool and potatoes.
Guyra boasts a very colourful past dating back centuries, with tales of highway hitch-hicking Ghosts, to the Famous Poltergeist of Number 2 Manse Street and yes even a UFO case dating back to 1922 when stones where reported literally falling from heaven onto local homes.
Last but not least, lets not forget Australia's second Ned Kelly bush ranger, the wild bush bandet "Thunderbolt" who at every opportunity robbed someone while they travelled the lonely New England Hwy. The locals are so proud of Thunderbolt they even have a tourist attraction called 'Thunderbolts Cave', which is situated 10km south of Guyra just past Black Mountain.
Over time there has been many a tall tale circulating around this quiet country town from past to present, a mystery which appeared to have happened between Monday evening the 6th of December or Tuesday evening the 7th of December 1999 at 8.12pm?
The Guyra Mystery
"Who did it"
"What did it"
When, Why & How?
This is how the story unfolds...
The Australian UFO Research Network Hotline received a phone call from AUFORN investigator Kay McCullock at 6.30am, after she had just recieved a phone call from her mother in Manly West Qld at 6.00am. Kay's mother told her a mysterious object had landed in a dam in Guyra. I then got another call at 7.00am from our Northern Suburbs Brisbane investigator Martin Studer, he told me to turn on the TV and watch Channel 7 the 'Today Show News'. He said, "They're going to show a news report and some footage regarding an object that crashed into a dam called Gara". Knowing Martin was a local to the area, I asked him if he knew anyone he could contact. Martin being a keen AUFORN investigator started to contact some of his old friends to see if he could find out more. As it was so early in the morning I thought, now who should I call..."yes" the, RAAF base at Amberley Ipswich.
Report of telephone conversation
dated: 9th december
Time approx: 8.34am
I spoke to office staff at Amberley RAAF and they told me they had heard it wasn't a meteorite, that it was an object of some kind. It was funny they were having a laugh with me saying maybe it was a space ship, ha! I was told that people have been sent to measure radiation. I was aksed to hold the line and they would transfer me to someone who could help me with my enquiry. I got transfered to the, RAAF base at William Town NSW.
Report of telephone conversation
dated: 9th dec 99
Time approx: 8.47am
I spoke to Tracey at William Town RAAF base, she said: "We are on hold at present".
"The police divers are in the lake looking for what may have landed. Williams Town RAAF are waiting for the Police to report back before moving".
"It was still not clear what had come down, it could have been space junk or meteorite or a plane. Tracey said. It has been reported a (5 meter area of reeds was flattened by an object)".
Tracey said that she would keep me posted.
1800 Freecall UFO Hotline
Some readers might be aware I manage the Australian UFO Freecall Hotline and after looking back through the log, I did notice quite a few UFO Callins had been reported from Monday 6 th December to Tuesday 7th December 1999. I will endeavour to try and unravel and present all details of the interviews reported to AUFORN investigators. It will be up to you to make up your own mind . Lets start with the UFO Hotline and what happened over a three day period. Here are the reports for you to read. I might add this will probably add more confusion to the whole Guyra mystery, but I feel that it is very important to note all the strange occurances that happened in Guyra and around Australia.
UFO Sighting Reports
1800 Callin Code: 00424 07.12.1999
Time Reported: 7.02pm
Location: Waterford ,Brisbane
Description: Big, cigar shaped, white star, with a long tail.
1800 Callin Code: 00423
Time Reported: 9.00pm
Location: Kootigal NSW, Under investigation AUFORN
1800 Callin Code: 00422
Time Reported: 4.39pm
Location: South Australia,
Description: Big, white orange star, with a very long tail.
1800 Callin Code: 00421
Time Reported: 4.39pm
Location: Mt Tamborine
Description: Big Orange ball a foot wide, with a long tail.
1800 Callin Code: 00421
Time Reported: 8.47pm
Location: Moontar, SA
Description: Bright light with a tail.
1800 Callin Code: 00418
Time Reported: 10.24am
Location: Brisbane? Under investigation
1800 Callin Code: 00420
Time Reported: 7.45pm
Location: Warwick township Qld
Description: Bright white & orange ball of light with a tail,travelling South West.
1800 Callin Code: 00419
Time Reported: 11.06pm
Location: Gold Coast QLD,
Description: Bright orange ball of light with a tail travelling from the South going North.
1800 Callin Code: 00405 06.12.1999
Time Reported: 10.20pm
Location: Texas QLD
Description: Big bright orange & white ball of light with a tail.. Travelling North Easterly.
1800 Callin Code: 00404
Time Reported: 10.24am
Location: Nundah Brisbane, Under investigation AUFORN
1800 Callin Code: 00403
Time Reported: 7.52pm
Location: Scarborough Brisbane travelling North.
1800 Callin Code: 00426
( CE2 )
Date Reported: 09.12 1999
Time reported to Hotline: 5.15pm
Date sighted: 06.12. 1999
Day Reported: Thursday
Day sighted: Monday
Time Reported: 2.30am
Location: New England HWY between Armidale & Glen Innes "Guyra area"
Reportee: Brian Renworth aged 74 years a credible witness
Description of object: Huge White Orange Object - lots of lights.
Report: Brian called to say he was a witness to a UFO. He thought he had better call because he had seen the report on TV about the Guyra object crashing into the dam. A very credible witness rang me on Thursday 8th December 1999, she told me she had called the Armidale police station to find out if anything strange had been reported on Monday 6th December 1999. The Police Woman said she had heard that quite a few reports of a strange red beam of light came down from the sky that Monday evening of the 6th December 1999.
Interview with Brian Renworth
Diane Harrison: You said you were travelling from NSW to Queensland between 2.00am and 3.00am in the morning?
Brian Renworth: Yes, thats right. That was on Monday morning.
DH: Brian, could you explain what you saw while travelling up the road near Guyra?
BR: Well, I don't know if I passed Guyra or if it was before Guyra. Now on this section of road there was hundreds of red and white reflectors, it looked like a busy traffic intersection. There were no vehicles other than myself and a trailer coming a long way back behind me.
DH: How far back would you say the trailer was?
BR: A quarter of a mile I suppose.
DH: Was the truck close enough to see what was going on?
BR: He had his big lights on and they were worrying me. I had mine on at low beam. When I saw all this frizel of lights ahead of me, I thought what the hell was it. It just looked like a landing strip and as I approached it I was struck with this red light. It just lit everything up and everything went red.
DH: Everything went red?
BR: Yes, and I could feel the heat of what ever it was.
DH: Brian, could I just clarify something. When you said you saw something that looked like a landing strip, what kind of shape did you see?
BR: Well, it was like both sides of the road looked like an Island, in the middle of the road on both sides.
DH: An Island? Did you see a shape at all?
BR: It's just a maze of reflectors ahead of me, so I had to slow down.
DH: Were the reflectors in any sort of pattern?
BR: They were on both sides of the highway, they looked like they where every 10 feet, for as far as you could see.
DH: You said when you got close they all turned to a bright colour, what was it?
BR: This red glow, what ever it was lit all the white reflectors, they went red. And, I was totally blinded.
DH: When that happened what did you do?
BR: Well, I just drifted along and slowed down on the other side of these lights, I got away, out of them and then I slowed down because I couldn't darn see.
DH: Where was the truck, do you remember the truck?
BR: Oh yes, he was way back. I don't know if it was a truck or a semi trailer, but he had his high beams on and then that made it worse, it lit everything up and caused my lights to....it's only a reasonably new motor car I got and it has bright lights too, but I was on low beam and you would have sworn you were coming into a Kingsford Smith Aerodrome with all these reflectors.
DH: Was it that bright?
DH: What kind of car do you drive?
BR: I dirve a Suburu wagon, a 98 model.
DH: Brian, what was the reason for going to Queensland?
BR: I was travelling up to visit my daughters for Christmas. I've been driving for some fifty odd years and I have never seen anything like this.
DH: When you said 'the lights blinded you, what did you do next?
BR: Well, I drifted through these rows of lights, they thinned out and I slowed down onto the side of the road and sat there for a little while because I couldn't see. Well, I really had been flashed in the eyes with all this reflection.
DH: When you said you drove through the reflection, what impression did you have of where the light was coming from, was it on the ground or above you?
BR: It seemed high and it seemed to be behind me, I could feel the heat of it. I copped it back in the rear view mirror, it hit me in the eyes.
DH: Did you hear any noise at all?
BR: No, no noise, I had my windows up, it was quiet in the car. I didn't hear any unusual noise at all, I did have the radio on.
DH: Did anything happen to the radio?
BR: Well, it gave a screeching, thats all, other wise the radio's intact.
DH: How is your car?
BR: The car, yeh well, it seems alright, I drove it for the first time today.
DH: Is there any physical evidence or signs of any damage at all, like paint work damaged?
DH: What about yourself, how are you?
BR: Well, I had the shakes on Monday and my sight was affected. I couldn't stand any sunlight, I had to wear dark glasses and even on Tuesday morning I still had my dark peppers on and we went shopping. My daughter drove her car and took me shopping. I couldn't drive mine, and this afternoon I left Ipswich to come over here, a Bay Island.
DH: comment: Some details have to be left out to protect Brian.
BR: And thats the first time I've driven the car since I landed at Ispwich on Monday.
DH: Brian, you said you actually called the Ipswich police.
BR: I rang them this morning from Ipswich, because I heard on the radio all about this stuff down in that Guyra place, and hell nobody seemed to know what time it happened and this happened to me between the hours of 2.00am - 3.00am on Monday morning.
DH: What time did you end up getting to Glen Innes, which is the nearest town if you where heading that way to Brisbane?
BR: Look, I don't know, I can't remember, I fueled at Armidale and I had enough fuel to last me right through up to here (Ipswich). When I landed at Ispwich, my daughter said 'gee dad, what's up with your eyes?' like one eye was all blood shot, really blood shot.
DH: How are your eyes now?
BR: There's still a little bit on the blurry side, otherwise I'm alright.
DH: What about the rest of yourself?
BR: I'm a little pink just like I have a mild sunburn. I'm going to the doctors in the morning for my checkup.
DH: Could you let me know what the doctors says?
DH: When you rang the Ispwich Police, what did you ask them?
BR: I asked them if they got any or would they know of any laser beams or anything on the road like that, they said "no we don't use them", they said that the lights are a speed laser which they use here, its a red laser, but you don't see any beam from it. But this was, hell, I don't know, it sort of lit everything up.
DH: Brian, how did you feel at the time this was happening?
BR: Thats a silly question ha!! I didn't know how the hell I felt, I know I couldn't see properly.
DH: How long had you observed the reflector for?
BR: I could see them at least half a mile in front of me.
DH: What happened to the truck that was behind you?
BR: I saw it zigzag on the road then it pulled over about half a mile behind me. We we're the only ones on the road. I'm sure he must have seen what I saw.
DH: Do you remember if the truck passed you and what time do you think you got to your daughters in Ipswich.
BR: That puzzles me about the truck I can't remember seeing him pass me at all. It took me an extra hour and half as it only took me around 14 hours before. You know Diane, it was a laser type beam, the thickness of a broom handle, it hit the side mirror and flashed back in my face, I could feel the heat of this thing.
DH: I asked Brian not to wash his car, because we were going to have a magnetic anomalous signature of the car to see if anything strange had happened to the car itself. The first test proved very interesting. The drivers side door seemed to have a magnetic misprint which went off the scale.
Mr & Mrs Ward
After arriving in Guyra late Friday afternoon Robert, Vivian, Emma, Martin, Kay and I met up with Mr & Mrs Ward whilst dinning at their family restaurant 'Rafters' (which is one of the best places I have had the pleasure of dining at, the cuisine is excellent and the service is warm and friendly).
Like most investigations, you have to give a little nudge to get people talking. After dinner Ann had the time to have a chat. Ann invited the team out to her farm to chat about an incident that happened at her house on the night of the 6th December 1999.
Ann said "My husband and I worked the restaurant Monday evening, it was a steady night not to busy. After closing we headed home down Ward Mistake Road which is just out past Gara Dam".
"On arriving home we found our dogs barking their heads off out the back of the house. My husband called the dogs and they came running. We thought nothing of it at first, but the dogs went to the back of the house and continued to bark. So John went to investigate what was the matter".
"To his amazment he found our cows had run a 1.5 metre barbed-wire fence down".
John said "For cows to have done that something must have scared them pretty bad. I have never had any of my cows do this before and I've lived here for the past 18 years."
John took us out the back of the house to show us where the paddock was. Ann said "The dogs kept barking for hours after. It was as though something was still out there but we couldn't see it".
FIRST NEWS REPORT
On Thursday 9th December and Friday 10th December 1999, Guyra featured in all the major National Newspaper, Television and Radio headlines around Australia as well as on the BBC in London. This national, as well as overseas, coverage was due to the discovery of a circle of flattened reeds of approximately 15 metres length by six metres width caused by an object apparently plunging into the Guyra Water Supply Dam sometime between Monday 6th December and midday, Wednesday 8th December.
All of the major television networks, radio stations and newspapers covered this story. The following are a sample of the Headlines:
Sydney Morning Herald, page 1, Friday "There's an alien in Guyra's drink".
The Daily Telegraph Friday "Wishing for a star" - " Guyra hit by mystery flying object."
The Armidale Express, Friday, page 1 "Day the sky fell - Nation's eyes turn on Guyra and mystery buried in mud." "Wishing for a star" - " Guyra hit by mystery flying object."
The Northern Daily Leader, Friday, page 1 "UFO splashdown - Divers search dam for mystery object."
Guyra Dam Object Identified NSW Police Service Update issued 12.30pm, Friday 10 December, 1999
Police divers have finished their work in Gara Dam. The divers recovered sediment and fragments believed to be from the object. Those sediments have been tested by geologists on-site and the geologists have advised police they believe the sediment is from a small meteorite the size of a golf ball. The meteorite has penetrated the mud at the bottom of the dam and is now embedded about four metres into soft granite and unable to be moved. The site is now reopened and all emergency services have left the area.
GUYRA WATER SUPPLY SAFE
On Wednesday 8th Dec Guyra Shire Council's water supply operator Mr Peter Stan observed an unusual pattern in the reeds on the edge of Guyra No.1 Dam.
At approximately 2.10pm on the same day, the site was inspected by members of the Council's Engineering Staff and Guyra Police. It was determined that an unknown object had fallen into the water supply with the possibility of contaminating the town's water supply.
A decision was made to turn off the water supply pumps so as to avoid the possibility of pumping contaminated water into the concrete storage reservoirs on Prisk Hill. The NSW Environment Protection Authority attended the impact scene along with the NSW Fire Brigade. Radiation levels were measured and water samples were taken for analysis. In order to conserve the stored water in the concrete storage reservoirs on Prisk Hill.
On Wednesday evening Council decided to impose water restrictions. In order to communicate the message to the community an announcement was made at the Guyra Central School end of year function on Wednesday evening and arrangements were made for emergency service personnel to hand deliver water restriction notices to every water user in town. This was undertaken very efficiently by the Guyra SES and Guyra VRA early Thursday morning. It is very pleasing to note the daily water consumption was reduced to 50% of normal usage. The response to this potential water supply crisis highlighted the professionalism of the SES and VRA and the responsiveness of the people of Guyra.
Gary, owner of the local petrol station near the turnoff to Gara Dam, informed us the police divers have just arrived at the scene.
Gary stated the locals are saying something did land in their dam and its left a burn mark on reeds 6 meters by 15 meters. He said it may have been done on Monday night but found last night.
At 4.00pm Thursday, good news was received that the water source was not contaminated. He has also been told the divers have not detected any Radiation. Nevertheless, a two kilometre quarantine area has been set up.
Water restrictions were maintained until 6.00pm Friday to allow water reserves on Prisk Hill to recover.
Friday 10th December 1999
The reeds made it difficult for the divers to work and on Friday 10th December 1999 Guyra Council's excavator was brought to the site to clear the way. Based upon evidence at the site and from reports of witnesses, it is most likely that the disturbance was caused by a meteorite about the size of a cricket ball falling from the sky.
Members of the Australian UFO Research Association arrived in Guyra around 6.30pm for a three day investigation into the incident.
16th December 1999
Testing continued today on the water supply at Gara dam at Guyra in northern New South Wales after an unidentified object crashed into it. Emergency services have quarantined the dam and severely restricted the use of water until they know what the object is, and whether it has left any dangerous residue. If anyone would like to submit an expression of interest for the recovery of the meteorite, please forward to: The General Manager Guyra Shire Council, Bradley Street GUYRA NSW 2350 AUSTRALIA.
Monday 20th December 1999
At the Guyra Council meeting to be held on Monday 20 December, councillors will consider how recovery of the meteorite might be arranged and in particular look at the possibility of calling for expressions of interest.
The event was managed within the framework of the Guyra Shire Local Displan. The Displan is the official local disaster plan for combating emergencies in the Guyra Shire. Guyra Council is most appreciative of the support given by all the emergency service organisations in our community. Particular mention must be made of the work carried out by Guyra LEOCON Sgt Larry Hoffman, Police Local Area Command Duty Oficer Stuart Bartholomew, Dennis Saunders Local Controller of the Guyra SES and Geoff Thrift Captain of the Guyra VRA.
TO BE CONTINUED - See Issue 16