“Stones have been gently falling on the Keninup, Boyup Brook property of farmer W. W. M. Hack for nearly two years. The occurrences have been intermittent and generally at the greatest intensity during the winter months.”
Daily News 1957
Dad telephoned yesterday to tell me that Aunty Susan had called. She remembered something about stones falling from the sky when they were kids in rural South West Australia. Something to do with the local Aboriginal people. And something about lights. And someone or some people were run out of town.
I was intrigued to say the least, particularly because I don’t recall even once hearing anything about Aboriginal people in the area when I was a kid. From what Dad said it sounds like the ‘falling stones’ gave local people the opportunity to tell their own stories about Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in the area at the time.
And then I found out that the abc has just put a documentary together about the whole episode. Its called ‘Spirit Stones’. I checked their website and it turns out that it was not an isolated, one off event. People witnessed stones falling from the sky in a number of communities in the Southwest from 1946 to 1962.
According to the documentary website there were four different locations in Western Australia that experienced the phenomena of “falling stones”, all within 300km of each other: Boddington (1946 unreported in press), Mayanup near the town of Boyup Brook (1955), Pumphrey’s Bridge (1957), and Borden (1962) where sandalwood nuts were involved. The reports include descriptions of stones ranging in size from a pebble to a stone of approximately 35 pounds. The stones along with other objects were primarily reported as “falling out of nowhere”, landing in paddocks and even inside buildings. The frequency of the events varied. Sometimes stones would fall several times in one night. In one location the stones fell intermittently for weeks and in another for 2 years.
As the incidents became more frequent they also became more complex with accounts of objects doing ‘impossible’ things e.g. stones coming through roofs without leaving holes. The the broader public became curious and people started traveling to the communities in order to investigate. The media gave the stories significant coverage as well.
“Just after the natives shifted camp stone phenomenon was witnessed by dozens of independent white witnesses. At 5:30pm yesterday, when he returned from a nearby stock sale, he found a crowd of people in a half-circle behind his house. Stones were falling. They were picking them up as fast as they fell.”
Jack Coulter, Daily News 1957
How curiously wonderful . . . . I wonder if my grandparents got caught up in the story.