In 1972, in the neighboring Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales, several UFO encounters occurred within several months of each other. The sightings themselves were seemingly part of what appeared to be significantly increased UFO activity in Australia during that time. Two incidents, in particular though, stand out.
One would feature a university student, Greg Hardy, who would experience an otherworldly encounter while working on a friend’s farm. The incident was investigated by UFO researcher, Bill Chalker, who had experienced a close encounter of his own several months earlier. Chalker would also note many similar incidents occurring in the region in previous years, as well as investigating another similar sighting only weeks after Hardy’s encounter, in the opening days of January 1973. The fact that Australian Naval bases are within relatively close location to these sightings perhaps only makes them more intriguing.
Perhaps it is worth noting the southeast coast of Australia and its proximity to the Bass Strait, where not only UFO sightings, but strange disappearances are common place, sometimes of entire planes or boats at a time. And what’s more, this activity, as we have examined before stretches back hundreds of years.
It was late in the evening of the 15th December 1972 when university student, Greg Hardy, was enjoying his summer vacation by laboring on a friend’s farm, near the town of Garah close to the New South Wales-Queensland border. On this particular evening, Hardy was sat in the driver’s seat of a large tractor, plowing weeds in one of the farm’s fields. At around 1:30 am, under the clear star-filled sky, he brought the tractor to a stop, so he could take a cigarette break.
As he was dragging on the cigarette a sudden noise like a “high-powered engine” filled the night air. He looked around, expecting to see a low-flying aircraft, however, he could see nothing unusual. The noise continued, sounding as if it was approaching him from the farm house.
Suddenly, the sound changed, as if the engine had simply cut out. A “decelerating” sound was now audible, appearing to now move away from him. He moved his focus around the night sky, which had perfect visibility, but could see nothing that might be the source of the strange noise. It appeared “to land” somewhere in the distance in the heavy bushland ahead of him.
Finishing his cigarette, he climbed back into the tractor, thinking no more of the incident as he carried on plowing. However, around five minutes later he noticed a strange light approaching his vehicle.
The Strange Light
Once again, he brought the tractor to a stop, however, this time he kept the engine running. He continued to watch the glowing object as it continued its approach. If he had been on a road he would have presumed the light was an approaching vehicle. However, given that he was in the middle of a farmer’s field, in the middle of the night no less, he was at a loss as to what the source of the light was. The strange engine-noise came back into his mind.
The light was coming at him in a straight line telling him that it was something in the air as opposed to on the ground as the plowed, uneven surface would have made the light move up and down. It appeared to be around ten feet in the air and moving at a pace of around thirty-to-forty miles per hour.
The closer it came, he could make out that a very definite structure was behind the light. A circular object of some kind, which illuminated the area around and underneath it as it moved ever closer to his position. Suddenly, it turned slightly before stopping and hovering around twenty yards away from him. It appeared not to be solid, although the inside of the object appeared to be “more concentrated” than the rest. Around this central sphere were “three or four ill-defined lines”. These circles were all clearly separate from each other and rotated around the object vertically.
The inner light was constant. However, Hardy would notice that it appeared to “flicker” on the ground instead of a constant glow. He remained in the seat of the tractor in awe of the fascinating display in front of him.
As fascinated as he was, though, there was also an increasingly growing uneasy feeling. For reasons he couldn’t explain, he knew that he was witnessing something unnatural and otherworldly. He also had the feeling that this glowing object was “analyzing and gathering information”, about its surroundings and even himself as it hovered. Then, without warning, it simply vanished. He spun around in his seat looking to locate the mysterious orb. It reappeared, as if out of nowhere behind him a little outside the field he was working on. It hovered for a moment before moving away at a steady pace, eventually disappearing into the blackness of the night.
Now, perhaps realizing just how alone he was in the middle of the field, he leaped from the tractor and ran back to the farmhouse. He banged on the door loudly, waking his colleague, Rowen Hickson, who had only finished the day shift in the farm several hours previously. Before he could shake sleep fully from his senses, though, Hardy would demand, “Where’s the shot gun?” It was then that Hickson noticed how pale and unwell his friend looked.
As the two would-be farm helpers made their way back to the tractor, Hardy filled Hickson in as to what he had seen. The two remained at the lifeless tractor, looking around for anything unusual, Hickson now as nervous as Hardy. Aside from the occasional noise from the nearby sheep, however, everything appeared serene and peaceful.
Report Arrives With Bill Chalker
Hardy refused to report the incident initially. However, after speaking about it to a friend he discovered they too had witnessed an almost identical object only a month earlier. Through acquaintances, Hardy would disclose his sighting to Bill Chalker who, as we shall see shortly, had a close encounter of his own several months earlier. Interestingly, a story in the Moree Champion newspaper at the time of the sighting would report that another local farmer, on the same night of Hardy’s sighting, had witnessed an identical object while driving.
There are several other similar sightings on record also. On 26th November 1968, for example, at a little after 9:30 pm, Mr. Wyatt and Mr. Bolton were driving between Maitland and Port Victoria when a “circular light” followed the vehicle for almost ten miles before making a sudden turn and hovering in front of their car. It would change colors from a bright white to a deep orange before speeding off and vanishing into the distance.
On the evening of 5th January 1972, an unnamed man from Wahroonga was followed by a similar object as he drove home from work. It would approach his vehicle before dropping back again, repeating this for several miles before speeding away and disappearing.
Across The State Border – The Earle Page College Sighting
Over the state border in New South Wales, on the late-afternoon of 15th September 1972, UFO researcher, Bill Chalker, had a UFO encounter of his own. Following a full day’s teaching at the Earle Page College, Chalker was heading home to relax and have something to eat. It was shortly before 6 pm as he was walking along the college grounds. He became aware of two students up ahead. More specifically, he noticed their attention was turned upwards to the sky. He followed their gaze and much to his amazement he could see “a metallic egg-shaped object traversing the twilight sky”.
He watched the object for around fifteen seconds before it vanished behind the college campus buildings. Chalker immediately dashed to the door of the nearest building and out through the other side. Now, he had a “clear panoramic view” and could see clearly ahead for “some considerable distance”. However, much to his surprise and disappointment, the object was now nowhere to be seen. It had seemingly vanished into thin air. He was only inside the building for a matter of seconds. Certainly not long enough for it to have covered the distance that was now visible to him.
Although it was no longer visible, Chalker immediately took note of its appearance. He would state that it was a silent object “in contrast to the noisy aircraft that frequently pass over the university”. He would state that its shape was “very well defined” with “no protrusions” visible. Whatever it was, it didn’t have any of the attributes of the airplanes, helicopters, or balloons that were familiar to him and the students.
Another Similar Sighting, Early-January 1973
Chalker would also note that there were considerably higher than normal reports in the newspapers over the days previous to his sighting. For example, reports of a “bright silvery light” surfaced in the town of Taree. Not once, but on two consecutive days. While many of the newspapers would report these reports with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, sightings were seemingly heavy in Australia at the time.
An incident late one night in early-January 1973 in Nowra, along the coast of New South Wales shared similar details. That evening, “Elizabeth C” was driving with four of her friends. As they made their way along the highway, Elizabeth noticed a light ahead. It appeared to be heading straight for them. And fast.
She alerted her four passengers and they watched as it suddenly changed direction and passed over them. Then, before any of them had a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, the light turned around. And began to follow them. It quickly caught up with their vehicle and remained alongside them for over twenty miles.
Elizabeth would later state that the object had “red lights under portholes” and appeared to be a disc-shape. Although the bright glow made it difficult for her to make out specific details, she believed that a rotating searchlight of some kind was in operation along the underside. One of the passengers, an army officer, would offer privately that they witnessed “figures” in the interior of the craft.
As the car approached the HMAS Albatross Naval Base, the strange craft suddenly disappeared for a second. It would reappear but at a considerably higher location. From there it would head out to sea. However, events would take a particularly disturbing twist later that morning after the group had arrived at their campsite.
A “Fiery Mass” In The Water
As the group set up camp at the Shoalhaven Heads campsite they would notice how a large group of fellow campers were watching some strange activity seemingly out at sea. As they went to see what the commotion was, they witnessed a large number of military helicopters flying relatively low. All of them were heading out to sea. When the group looked out over the water, they could see a strange “fiery mass” on or in the water. The attention of the helicopters was this mysterious burning. Incidentally, when reports arrived at the local Navy base, they would respond that they knew nothing of any such activity.
Due to their sighting only several hours earlier during their journey to the campsite, Elizabeth and her friends would make the decision to visit HMAS Albatross. They would report both their sighting along the road and the incident off the New South Wales coast.
However, little did they expect to be subject to highly detailed and highly intense interview. One that, at times, bordered on interrogation. According to the group, they were told that “numerous witnesses” had seen UFOs in the area. And furthermore, the radar systems at the base had been affected by these aerial visitors. They were allowed to go following the detailed interviews. The army officer, though, would later report a visit from military intelligence when he reported back for duty. Incidentally, when UFO researcher, Bill Chalker, made contact with the base for confirmation, they denied all knowledge of the incidents. And the report made by Elizabeth and her friends.
Whatever the events of 1972 and early-1973 in southeast Australia may one day prove to be, there was certainly something strange taking place. The video below features a talk from UFO researcher, Barry Taylor.