This national, as well as overseas, coverage was due to the discovery of flattened reeds of approximately 15 metres long by six metres wide caused by an object apparently plunging into the Guyra Water Supply Dam sometime between Monday 6 December and midday, Wednesday 8 December.
All of the major television networks, radio stations and newspapers covered this story. Following are a sample of the Headlines:
Sydney Morning Herald, page 1, Friday "There's an alien in Guyra's drink".
The Daily Telegraph Friday "Wishing for a star" - " Guyra hit by mystery flying object."
The Northern Daily Leader, Friday, page 1 "UFO splashdown - Divers search dam for mystery object."
The Armidale Express, Friday, page 1 "Day the sky fell - Nation's eyes turn on Guyra and mystery buried in mud."
Area of flattened reeds approximately 8 metres from the Western Bank
Some of the large media people at the entrance gate to the water supply area
Council Employees, Peter Starr and Don Campbell observing John McLeod wading into the effected area to investigate
The meteorite has penetrated the mud at the bottom of the dam and is now embedded about four metres into soft granite and unable to be moved.
The site is now reopened and all emergency services have left the area.
At approximately 2.10pm on the same day, the site was inspected by members of Council's Engineering Staff and Guyra Police. It was determined that an unknown object had fallen into the water supply with the possibility of contaminating the town's water supply.
A decision was made to turn off the water supply pumps so as to avoid the possibility of pumping contaminated water into the concrete storage reservoirs on Prisk Hill. The NSW Environment Protection Authority attended the impact scene along with the NSW Fire Brigade. Radiation levels were measured and water samples were taken for analysis.
In order to conserve the stored water in the concrete storage reservoirs on Prisk Hill, on Wednesday evening Council decided to impose water restrictions. In order to communicate the message to the community an announcement was made at the Guyra Central School end of year function on Wednesday evening and arrangements were made for emergency service personnel to hand deliver water restriction notices to every water user in town. This was undertaken very efficiently by the Guyra SES and Guyra VRA early Thursday morning. It is very pleasing to note the daily water consumption was reduced to 50% of normal useage. The response to this potential water supply crisis highlighted the professionalism of the SES and VRA and the responsiveness of the people of Guyra.
On Thursday afternoon, Police divers arrived to investigate the site. Some volunteer geologists also assisted to make an assessment of what had happened.
At 4.00pm Thursday, good news was received that the water source was not contaminated. Water restrictions were maintained until 6.00pm Friday to allow water reserves on Prisk Hill to recover.
The reeds made it difficult for the divers to work and on Friday 10 December 1999 Guyra Council's excavator was brought to the site to clear the way. Based upon evidence at the site and from reports of witnesses, it is most likely that the disturbance was caused by a meteorite about the size of a cricket ball falling from the sky. At the Guyra Council meeting to be held on Monday 20 December, councillors will consider how recovery of the meteorite might be arranged and in particular look at the possibility of calling for expressions of interest.
The event was managed within the framework of the Guyra Shire Local Displan. The Displan is the official local disaster plan for combatting emergencies in the Guyra Shire. Guyra Council is most apreciative of the support given by all the emergency service organisations in our community. Particular mention must be made of the work carried out by Guyra LEOCON Sgt Larry Hoffman, Police Local Area Command Duty Oficer Stuart Bartholomew, Dennis Saunders Local Controller of the Guyra SES and Geoff Thrift Captain of the Guyra VRA.
Guyra Argus - 16th December, 1999
Local poets, David Bearup and Myra Sweeney, have written the following about the incident.
An object from the sky, what's all the bloody fuss
David Bearup. Dec, 1999
They sent a probe to Mars,
Myra Sweeney, Dec, 1999