February 15, 1963
Location: Near Moe, Australia
Brew, with his 20 year-old son Trevor, was at work in
the milking shed on their farm, 'Willow Grove', when he
saw a strange object appear and descend very slowly towards
the milk shed, to a height of about 30 metres. The object
was metallic grey, measured 8 meters in diameter, and
had a transparent dome with a 2-meter mast or aerial.
After hovering for a few seconds the object began climbed
away into the clouds.
The Willow Grove UFO based on witness sketch in RAAF files.
Bill Chalker (1996)
WILLOW GROVE ENCOUNTER
7 a.m., on 15 February, 1963, Charles Brew bore witness
to a classic close encounter. With his 20 year-old son,
Trevor, Brew was at work in the milking shed on their
farm, 'Willow Grove', near Moe, Victoria. It was light,
but rain clouds lay overhead. Charles Brew was standing
in an open area, with a full view ot the eastern sky.
It was from that direction that he saw a strange object
appear and descend very slowly towards the milk shed.
The object's approach was coincident with the cattle and
a pony reacting violently. The two farm dogs fled. A local
newspaper even reported that the cows turned somersaults,
a suggestion the Brews later denied.
UFO descended to a height of about 30 metres, hovering
over a stringy-bark tree. It was about eight metres in
diameter and three metres high. The top section appeared
to be a transparent dome of a glass-like material, from
which protruded a two-metre high mast or aerial. The 'aerial'
appeared to be as thick as a broom and resembled bright
chrome. The top portion of the disc itself was battleship
grey in colour and appeared to be of metallic lustre.
The base or underside section glowed with a pale blue
colour and had 'scoop-like protuberances around the
outside edge'. This section rotated slowly at about
one revolution per second. This spinning motion apparently
caused the protuberances to generate a swishing noise,
somewhat like a turbine noise, that was clearly audible
not only to Brew but also to his son Trevor, who was located
inside the shed near the operating diesel-powered milking
Brew felt his eyes were drawn towards the object 'as
though beams of magnetic current' were between it
and him. He also experienced a peculiar headache which
came on with the approach of the object. After hovering
for a few seconds, the object began to climb, continuing
on its westward course and passing up into the cloud deck
again. Trevor did not see the UFO, but confirmed the unusual
sound, like a didgeridoo or bull-roarer aboriginal
artefacts which can produce pulsating, wind-rushing noise.
Lieutenant N. Hudson and Squadron Leader A.F. Javes of
the RAAF interviewed Brew. While impressed with his credibility,
the weather at the time of the sighting heavy continuous
rain with very low cloud and poor visibility, and with
a fresh wind in an easterly direction seems to
have led them to focus on weather-related explanations.
Their report describes the basis of their somewhat extraordinary
'explanation' for the incident: 'On 6 March
Dr Berson and Mr Clark, Commonwealth meteorologists, were
interviewed to see if clouds give this type of phenomenon.
They agreed that a tornado condition could give this effect.
The direction of rotation of Brew's report of the object
was consistent with known facts for the Southern Hemisphere.
The blue-ish colouring has been reported previously and
is probably due to electric discharge and there would
be a smell of ozone. The only difference in Brew's report
was that the object moved from east to west, because all
their previous reports of this nature have been from west
to east. Mr Brew stated that the wind was fresh from an
easterly direction. However, a meteorological report states
that wind was westerly at eight knots.'
report notes that the meteorological report was from a
Yallourn observer, about 20 kilometres away, therefore
local variations in the weather would not have been unusual.
Despite this lack of rigour in determining how relevant
their hypothesis was, the RAAF officers' report concluded,
'There is little doubt that Brew did witness something,
and it is most likely that it was a natural phenomenon.
The phenomenon was probably a tornado. There was no reported
damage along its path, therefore one could assume that
it was weak in nature.'
Department of Air responded to a civilian UFO group enquiry
about the incident with the following statement, 'Our
investigation and enquiries reveal that there are scientific
records of certain tornado-like meteorological manifestations
which have a similar appearance in many ways to whatever
was seen by Mr Brew. The information available is such,
however, that while we accept this is a possibility, we
are unable to come to any firm conclusion as to the nature
of the object or manifestation reported.' The official
sighting summaries removed any such doubt. By then, the
'possible cause' was listed as a 'tornado-like
Berson and an associate visited Brew at the Willow Grove
property. According to Brew, Dr. Berson was interested
in the headache that he had, and indicated that Berson
had said that it tied in with his theory of a possible
electromagnetic nature of the incident. What the Department
of Air referred to as a 'tornado-like meteorological
manifestation' elicited the following comment from
Charles Brew. He said, 'I wished it would come again.
It was beautiful. I could feel the life pulsating from
James McDonald visited Charles Brew during his 1967 Australian
trip, interviewing him at the site of the 1963 incident.
McDonald concluded, "like that of many other UFO
witnesses, it is extremely difficult to explain in present-day
scientific or technological terms."
the extraordinary nature of the Willow Grove incident
and the high level of official interest in it, the sighting
was listed in a subsequently released "Summary
of Unidentified Aerial Sightings reported to Department
of Air, Canberra, ACT, from 1960" as having a
possible cause of "tornado-like meteorological