A 'celestial bomb' in the Central West
This is the latest instalment in our 1917 historical feature where we look back at the stories, people and events that shaped our region from the 1917 editions of The Morning Bulletin.
On Thursday 27 December 1917 the Morning Bulletin reported on multiple sightings of a meteorite in Western Queensland which by the accounts below was a spectacular sight.
A CELESTIAL BOMB.
A peculiar phenomenon is reported to have been witnessed on Wednesday in many parts of the district, says the "Western Champion” (Barcaldine) of Saturday last. At about 3.45 p.m. a resident passing near the Post Office heard two distinct reports as if a field piece had been discharged a considerable distance away in a south-easterly direction.
Beyond wondering what the muffled noise could be, he took no notice of the incident. A gentleman who resided in the far south-eastern part of the town heard a similar report, which, he said, rattled the windows of the house as on the occasion of a violent thunderclap. However, when the evening train arrived the driver, guard, and passengers inquired if anything extraordinary had been observed in the afternoon, as at Jericho there had been an earthquake wave or something to cause an earth tremor.
One passenger reported that he was in Morgan's hotel having a drink prior to leaving for Barcaldine when there was a rumble overhead. Mr. Morgan called out "Stop pulling those beds about,'' thinking someone was upstairs. The noise was only momentarily.
Upon leaving the hotel a peculiar red flimsy cloud was observed, through which the moon could be observed. The time was 3 50 p.m. Another passenger was in the street, and, upon hearing a report, saw a whitish stream fall in a southerly direction. He at once concluded it was a meteorite and that its breaking up caused the report. Several others corroborated the incident.
A telephone report from Blackall was to the effect that in the direction of Yalleroi something fell from a peculiar-looking cloud, like a tongue projecting towards the earth, and a black cloud, in which fire was intermixed, rose from the earth.
It was reported also that there was a fissure in the earth near Yalleroi as if the earth had opened when a heavy body fell in it with force. The phenomenon was plainly observed at Aramac.
A number of people witnessed it from the racecourse, where hospital races were being held.
There was some cloud in the sky, but one, tongue-like, attracted special attention, and a long streak from it fell in the direction of Jericho. No doubt it was a celestial bomb of some description.
Others in various parts of the district endorse having witnessed the phenomenon, so that it was no conjuring of the imagination. Evidently a large meteorite had visited us.
Mr. R. F. Muir was along the Blackall road, across the Alice, on Wednesday afternoon and saw the peculiar cloud formation.
He also noticed a big flash and something falling, followed by two muffled detonations. The whitish cloud slowly dissolved away.