AN EXTRAORDINARY AFFAIR NEAR NOWRA
Elizabeth C and her family regularly took their Christmas holidays on the South Coast of New South Wales. One evening, Elizabeth was driving an old Valiant car carrying four other people. The encounter occurred in early January of 1973 just as the group passed the turnoff to Sussex Inlet. Elizabeth drew the attention of the others to the presence of a light ahead. To Elizabeth it looked like the light from an approaching semi-trailer. Then it seemed to move to her left and approached the car like an aircraft passing by. It was then that events took an extraordinary turn. The object, perceived as a bright light, appeared to reverse direction and began to travel alongside the car. This represented a 180 degree change in direction for the UFO. At this point the object appeared to be very large, at ground level and quite close. It maintained a parallel course with them for approximately the next 24 kilometres.
Elizabeth described the object as large, with red lights under portholes. The red lights looked like a thin ribbon of light. Elizabeth said the night was very dark. At that point the UFO was apparent as a large disc-shaped object with possible ‘window’ features along its length. There appeared to be a distinct ‘searchlight’ beam effect that rotated around the bottom of the object. At least one of the witnesses, an army officer, who was in the best position to see the extraordinary display, was certain that figures could be seen in the windows of the object.
At a point near the turnoff to HMAS Albatross Naval Base, the object seemed to suddenly vanish. It appeared to have instantly relocated to a high altitude and moved in a large arc around Nowra and then headed out to sea, where it was lost to sight.
Later that morning, one of the group saw something decidedly odd at their campsite at Shoalhaven Heads. A large number of holidaying campers were gathered at the ocean edge. They saw a number of helicopters passing low over the campsite, heading out to sea. The helicopters were flying over a fiery mass in the water. Yet the Navy later said it knew nothing of this incident. Because of their earlier experience and the campsite events, three members of the group, including Elizabeth, went to HMAS Albatross to report their experience. They feared a light-hearted or even an unwelcome reception; instead the group was the subject of a high level and detailed interview. They were told that the UFO had had numerous witnesses, and that the base radar had been affected by the UFO during the incident. The army officer in the group said that after he had returned to his unit he was interviewed about the South Coast experience by intelligence officers.
I later interviewed Elizabeth C and the army officer who was with her, and found them to be impressive and compelling witnesses. There seems little doubt that something extraordinary happened, but no official confirmation has been made. I contacted the Navy, which denied all knowledge of the incident.