Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fire balloons were being launched in 1920!

Hi readers,

In a recent post about a mystery light at Taree, New South Wales, on 18 June 1933, I asked the question as to whether or not, individuals were launching "fire balloons" in those times? I noted the similarity of details given about the Taree light, to one of today's hoax hot air garbage bag balloons. US researcher Barry Greenwood wrote and advised me that, yes, fire balloons were suspected in reports in 1909 and 1915.

Well, today during a search of the TROVE digitised collection of Australian newspapers, I located an account which agrees with Barry's assessment.

Fire balloon lands in Lambton

The Friday 16 January 1920 edition (page 5) of the "Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate" ran the following article. Today, Lambton is a suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales.

"A Lambton Mystery

Residents at Lambton had an unusual experience last night, at about eight o'clock. At the time stated a strange light was seen in the sky and presently it was noticed descending.

Mr F Le Cornu, who lives in Lambton-road, saw the object pass near his house, and finally land in a piece of vacant ground between 180 and 200 yards distant.

Other persons who had seen the object fall went to the spot and there saw what they described as a wire cage, about eight foot square and containing two pieces of coke, which were burning, and a quantity of pieces of coloured paper. It was also reported that Lambton residents had also noticed an unusual light moving in the air last evening.

From later information, it is believed that the object seen was a fire balloon, which was sent up from North Waratah,  and the coke and paper would be used for creating the hot air to give the balloon the necessary buoyancy."

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