updated May 2011
NEWSLETTER FOUR SEPTEMBER 2003
Combining the resources of all
Secretariat: the Australian UFO Research Association
Requests have been made for copies of twenty five of the forty nine files located at the National Australia Archives (NAA). Due to limitations on the number of requests for digital copies of files per person per year, six members of the Secretariat have participated in the request process. Thank you to these individuals. Out of the other twenty four files; some we already have copies of; others are already available digitally, and some have low value to us.
It should be noted that the NAA Web site advises that although that you can search some of their holdings electronically, that these electronically accessible items represent only 10 % of their entire collection. The forty nine files we located electronically, may therefore only represent a part of their records held pertaining to UFOs. The Secretariat is now working on a strategy of how to search the remaining 90% of the NAA holdings for items of interest to us, starting with the Adelaide based records.
As advised in Newsletter Three, file D174, control symbol SA 5281 covering the period 1952-1955, was located at the Adelaide office of the Australian National Archives. It was titled “Unusual Occurrences Flying Saucer at Woomera.” We know (see attachment one to Newsletter three) that sightings continued to be reported from Woomera through the years, and we also recently came across a tantalising hint of more Woomera files dealing with the subject of our interest. Peter Morton was commissioned, in 1984, to research and write a technical, political and social history on the Anglo-Australian joint project at Woomera, South Australia. The work appeared under the title: “Fire Across the Desert: Woomera and the Anglo-Australian Joint Project, 1946-80” (Canberra, AGPS, 1989, 1997 ISBN 0 644 47500 5.)
On Morton’s current web site is an excellent paper titled “Engaging With Leviathan:A Historian’s Perspective on accessing the Woomera records.” In this paper appears the following, which is of great interest to us:
“The voluminous records relating to the history of the town of Woomera itself have not, I think, ever been catalogued. The last time I saw them, which was about 1985, they were in the form of great boxes of files, piled chaotically into a storeroom in the abandoned Technical Area offices of the rocket range. Some, I recall, had intriguing titles, such as “Sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects.” They could be there still, for all I know.”
The Secretariat is therefore, now pursuing records from Woomera in the years 1956-1972, with the assistance of the NAA Adelaide staff. This “paper trail” started on 21 August, when members of the Secretariat began looking through four boxes of reams of paper, listing hundreds if not thousands of file titles, for titles bearing something to do with the UFO phenomenon. Naturally, this tedious job is going to take some time.
Among copies of NAA records requested by the Secretariat, is a copy of file C273 control symbol 1957/619, 1954-1960, bar code 3348107 titled “Reports on ‘Flying Saucers’ and strange sky lights (Department of Civil Aviation, NSW).” A prompt from Bill Chalker on the AUFORN e-mail list reminded us that the Victorian Office of the Department of Civil Aviation was publicly collecting reports of ‘Flying Saucers’ in that same period. An Internet search of NAA records reveals no such files, in the 10% of the collection available through RecordSearch. A request has therefore been made to the Melbourne Office of the NAA for assistance in locating such records.
Goulburn radar visual case:
A classic Australian radar visual event occurred on the 31st August 1954, near Goulburn NSW. A bright light was seen by a Navy pilot, which closed in on his aircraft. It crossed in front of the plane and appeared to then orbit on his port beam. Another, similar light was seen to his 9 o’clock position. Nowra radar advised they had two “paints” plus the Navy aircraft. The lights departed to the north-east. The pilot described “…a vague shape with the white light situated centrally on top.”
The Secretariat has received copies of two files which relate to this event. One file, MP926/1 was already known to researchers; however another file has now been uncovered by us.
What the latter file shows, which was previously unknown to UFO researchers, is that there was an internal debate at RAN Nowra, as to whether or not the reports should be forwarded to higher authority.
“Men from Mars!”
One of the files which is digitally available from the NAA, is 56/2773 titled: “The Australian Flying Saucer Research Society.” Interestingly, the file cover indicates it was a file of the “Commonwealth Investigation Service Canberra.” The Australian Flying Saucer Research Society was a civilian UFO group. The Commonwealth Investigation Service’s functions included, according to NAA “Agency notes for agency CA 650, “…maintenance of liaison with customs, postal, taxation and state police services; security at Government factories, dockyards and facilities; and provision of personnel as required for special investigations…” In 1949 some of the roles of CIS passed to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), while the rest of the CIS role went to the Commonwealth Police Force in 1960.
The question arises as to why such an agency would hold a file on a civilian UFO research group in 1956? A second question is, what documents would you expect to find on such a file? The answer to the latter question is much easier to resolve, simply by looking at the archive file. The answer is that the archive file currently holds a single document, a copy of a newspaper article!
The article is headlined: “Men from Mars!” and concerns a close approach of the planet Mars to Earth in 1956, and notes in part that: “The Australian Flying Saucer Research Society (AFSR) will have its telescopes trained on the planet…”
One wonders if other papers were on this file at some stage, and if so what they concerned? Is it possible today, to find out? As mentioned above, part of the role of CIS transferred to ASIO and part to the Commonwealth Police Force. Records previously held by CIS should have followed these two agencies.
ASIO is an exempt agency under the Federal Freedom of Information Act, and anyway the file was of a 1956 vintage, pre FOI launch date. However, NAA fact sheet number 33 tells us that “…ASIO records are only available through the provisions of s40 of the Archives Act…An application for access to records held by ASIO is available in all reading rooms.”
We are therefore in the process of submitting an application to ASIO, under the Archives Act, requesting a search be undertaken for any files held by that agency relating to a number of the early Australian flying saucer groups, and individuals.
Sandy Creek and the South Australian Police Special Branch
Recently, while compiling the listing of South Australian UFO reports (1932-2003) which we have placed on the Disclosure Australia web site http://disclosure.freewebpage.org we came across a spectacular close encounter which was reported in the “Adelaide Advertiser” newspaper dated 10 July 1963. Details were given there, and subsequently in other sources (1. QUFO 1/3/26. 2. Hervey, M. (1969.) “UFOs Over the Southern Hemisphere.” Horwitz. Sydney. p128). Collating the published information reveals the following account.
The sole, male witness was travelling on the Lyndoch-Gawler road going to Gawler, when upon rounding a corner in his vehicle, the anonymous Willaston man came upon a blood-red coloured object extending across the roadway. This was near the Sandy Creek Hotel. He applied the brakes and was within three metres of it when it rose suddenly from the road. After rising one hundred metres or so, it turned on its side and sped off, streaming vapour. Described as eight metres across and four high, with a concave top and a flat base, it glowed blood-red when close to the ground and appeared to change to a light-red yellow as it gathered speed and flew off towards Two Wells. Hervey states that the sighting was reported to police and that a CIB Special Branch officer interviewed the witness. The Advertiser article, attributed to their “Police roundsman”, states:“…He later reported the incident to the Weapons Research Establishment which arranged for him to be interviewed by a member of the CIB Special Branch.”
To the knowledge of the Secretariat, no UFO researcher has ever interviewed the witness, and no WRE or Police documents have ever surfaced. Would such Police Special Branch records be available under the South Australian Freedom of Information (FOI) Act? A check of the Act reveals that the South Australian Police Department is an exempt agency under the Act “…in relation to information compiled by-(1) the former Special Branch…” It is therefore possible that such records of the interview may still exist, and that a request may be made for such documents. However, the SA Police could simply cite their exemption of such Special Branch records. So, we have written to the SA Police requesting, that as the matter could not be considered a criminal or intelligence matter, that a copy of the document, if it still exists, be made available to us outside of the provisions of the FOI Act.
South Australia Police records:
Over the years, in South Australia, there have been a number of reported instances where members of the Police force, have either reportedly witnessed Unidentified Flying Objects or been involved in investigations into reports made to the Police. An examination of the South Australian listing of UFO reports 1932-2003, revealed 16 such instances, between 1957 and 1997, drawn from a number of sources.
A request has been made to the SA Police, under the South Australian Freedom of Information Act for:
Four more cases have been added to our sample archive on the Disclosure web site at http://disclosure.freewebpage.org These are:
To UFO Research (Far North Queensland) and the Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre for permission to use their material on the Archive section of the Disclosure web site.
Contacting the Secretariat:
We welcome information which would assist the Project. Our details are
ATTACHMENT ONE TO NEWSLETTER FOUR
Ideas rolling action list:
In order not to loose any of the ideas which you submit, an “Ideas rolling action list” is in use. This ongoing list will be included in each Newsletter. So far it reads:
If you see any items in this list to which you can contribute, then please get in touch with us.