Go Back Report # 1314




Strange Lights at Sea


The mysterious airship, so frequently seen in New Zealand last year, now appears to be visiting foreign parts, as witness the following from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Adelaide correspondent on August 4:


Captain Nelsson1, of the coastal steamer Wookata, the second engineer, Mr. S. Arnold, and helmsman, Mr. G. Rudd, are at a complete loss to explain the meaning of curious lights which they witnessed when the vessel was passing Althorpe Island on the way to Port Adelaide early the other morning. "Bright lights as distinct as masthead lights of a steamer, but high up in air," were observed by the trio, and a strange thing was that they circled around the Wookata in a tantalising way. "It was about 3 o'clock," says Captain Nelsson, ‘that the man at the wheel remarked, “Do you see these lights flying about?’ I replied, ‘Yes, there are a great many more lights about than I have ever seen here.’ Just then I saw a mysterious light off Cape Spencer, which disappeared as suddenly as it came into view. Presently the helmsman said, 'It is strange, but I have seen lights on the port bow, then right ahead, then on the starboard side.’ I stepped inside the wheelhouse, and on coming out again saw two lights just over the starboard bow, no distance away, but high up. They seemed to pass us. They were as bright as our masthead lights, and as far as I could judge, were 200 or 300 yards distant. The lights appeared to be 10 yards apart, one a little above the other. I could not make it out. I said to the man at the wheel, ‘Did you see them?’ He answered, ‘Yes, they are like German airships flying about.’ I did not know what to think. I feel sure I saw something unusual—something which in my 45 years’ experience at sea I had never observed before.”

     The second engineer also declares he saw the strange lights.


NOTE 1: In the text of the 9 August 1910 newspaper, Captain Nelsson’s (sp?) name was spelled with one “s” in the first sentence and then with two “s’s” later in the text. In this 18 August 1910 reprint of the same article, the name is spelled with two “s’s” in both places it appears. And the variation of the name goes on. It was discovered in yet another text as: Captain C Neilson. (See: http://www.mlssa.asn.au/journals/2009Journal.htm-13.html)


Reference for the above text is: Papers Past: The Airship Again? Marlborough Express, Volume XLIV, Issue 190, 18 August 1910, Page 6.

Reference: http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=MEX19100818.2.39


Clarence and Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW 1889-1915), Tuesday 9 August 1910, page 7.

Reference: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/61525225?searchTerm=wookata

Original reference: E-mail from Keith Basterfield, forwarded to me (CF) by Chris Aubeck dated July 09, 2011.       


Australia – South Australia

Althorpe Island   Latitude 35-23-00 S, Longitude 136-51-00 E (D-M-S)

Port Adelaide      Latitude 34-51-00 S, Longitude 138-28-00 E

Reference: http://geonames.nga.mil/ggmaviewer/


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