Charles B. was a sober sort of man.* An inspector with the Lands and Surveys Department at Bridgetown, he was definitely not the sort of person to simply make up a UFO for the attention it would bring him. Yet report an alien ship he certainly did.
On 28 November 1951, at 11.03pm he was sitting in his station wagon in Chowerup, some 60 km east of Bridgetown, listening to the ABC news broadcast. Suddenly Charles saw what he initially thought was an aircraft at about 600m altitude. It didn’t take him long to realise that this was definitely no plane.
It had no wings, but did have orange lights on the port side, with green lights on the other. Five portholes on the left glowed an eerie orange. It was impossible to say if there was a tail.
Charles first saw the mysterious object in the east and it was travelling as fast as any jet plane. Yet it made no noise
He got out of the station wagon to get a better look when it suddenly gained altitude and disappeared from view. Its lights were quickly switched off, as if the occupants didn’t want to be observed.
Being a good government employee, Charles reported this enigmatic object to the police. Remember this was the beginning of Cold War paranoia and enemy attacks could be expected any day.
The police referred the issue to the Air Force, who were very, very fascinated by what Charles had seen. They sent a list of sixteen questions that the witness needed to answer immediately. Whether or not this list had been created just for UFOs, or whether it was adapted from a document from WWII is not currently known.
Charles B. has, therefore, the honour of being the first Western Australian to be interrogated by the authorities about flying saucers.
Surely this deserves some kind of plaque out at Chowerup.
* We know Charles’ surname, but have chosen to obscure it here. If you really, really need to know, ask the Men in Black sitting outside our offices right now.