During the winter of 1909, much of southeast Australia was abuzz with reports of mysterious lights flying through the skies, leaving witnesses baffled as to what they were and from where they had come. Some thought them planets, others thought them lanterns attached to kites, while one witness thought they might be “Japanese airships”. Following sightings of similar mysterious lights in the skies above New Zealand, reports soon appeared in newspapers across Australia of similar unknown lights observed in the heavens. One such sighting, by a reliable witness it must be said, appeared in Broken Hill’s The Barrier Miner on 9 August 1909. “The Rev. B. Cozens, of the Port Melbourne Seamen’s Mission, tells an interesting story regarding the mysterious lights which appeared in the air over the Dandenong Ranges on Saturday night. “Going outside at 10 o’clock, he saw, half a mile up in the air, two revolving lights moving over the ranges. They slowed down, dipped, and rose up again, then changed from white to red and to blue. Mr. Cozens called his wife and three neighbours. They all watched the lights until midnight, by which time one had almost moved out of sight over the ranges. Again at 2 o’clock Mr. Cozens saw the second one, which almost crossed the ranges. Five more appeared in the distance, moving in the direction taken by the other two.” The following day, another report of strange lights appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald. “A good deal of excitement was occasioned tonight by the appearance of a mysterious light or an illuminated body to the south-east of the town [of Moss Vale]. Quite a number of people gathered in the main street, and speculation was rife as to the meaning of the strange illumination. Above the large light some large body was distinctly visible, as the rays of light were reflected upon its surface.” Soon, these strange lights were seen in the skies across the Southern Highlands of New South Wales as well as much further a field. For example, on 19 August, The Mercury reported that: “Goulburn has had a week’s display, during which the light has, according to report, been observed to move ‘up and down and sideways,’ and once gave a pyrotechnic exhibition, several stars falling about it.” The flight capabilities of those mysterious “airships” of 1909, according to accounts, certainly appeared to defy what was possible back in those early days of manned flight. Read more about the airships of 1909.  NOTE: The above image is a rendering.





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