Australian UFO Researcher
Bill Chalker


by Bill Chalker

To all Australian UFO researchers.

Attached is a document detailing a project devoted to the preservative of Australian UFO history. This part of a much wider programme. Everyone can contribute to UFO history by circulating your contributions about your knowledge of Australian UFO history information.

Everyone involved in this subject over the years has contributed in some way. Maybe you know of "gems" re Australian UFO history which may be hidden from general view away discovery.

I also have a 30 page document: "UFOLOGY DOWN UNDER Notes towards a short history of UFO Groups in Australia" which is available on request.

I look forward to your feedback. Feel free to circulate this material. I hope it encourages you to do your bit towards preserving and circulating a bit of our UFO history,
regards, Bill Chalker

Bill Chalker

I have joined the newly formed US based SIGN HISTORICAL GROUP (SHG) whose statement of purpose is given below. People associated with this group include Jan Aldrich (Project 1947), Jerome Clark (The Encyclopedia of UFOs), Dr. Michael Swords, Wendy Connors (Projects Sign & Grudge research), Loren Gross, Barry Greenwood, Dr. Eddie Bullard, Richard Hall, and Dr. Mark Rodeghier (CUFOS). The Sign name is a reference to Project Sign the first USAF UFO project.

Both as an Australian associate of SHG and because I have had a long term interest in Australian UFO history, I am trying to encourage serious research and preservation efforts of Australian UFO history
along lines similar to those described in the SHG statement of purpose:

Statement of Purpose of the SIGN HISTORICAL GROUP (SHG)

(SHG) is an association of serious researchers who have come together to facilitate and promote the discovery and preservation of materials, and the production and dissemination of publications, about the history of the UFO phenomenon and the institutions and persons who investigated it. The SHG pursues these goals in the traditional manner of historians and archivists working on a subject of widespread public interest and cultural impact.

Interests of the SHG include the interface of the UFO phenomenon with governmental, military, and academic concerns, folklore and popular culture, technological advances, and whatever aspects of the human, technical, and natural landscapes may serve to illuminate the history of the UFO phenomenon and our various human responses to it. The SHG espouses no theory as to the cause of the UFO phenomenon, though individual members may well have their own beliefs. The SHG is an independent, non-profit, association of persons who adhere to this Statement of Purpose and is not affiliated with any other group or philosophy.

The SHG shares, whenever possible, its information and archives with all group members and all interested researchers worldwide. Membership in SHG is not open to general members of the public and is by invitation only. As a starting point the following document was provided to the SHG:

by Bill Chalker

Australia's experience of the UFO controversy has a rich history. There has been a wide range of contributions to detailing that history. There remains many areas to address and elaborate.

The phenomenon - its natural history down under

The body of evidence that has developed, that describes UFO sightings in Australia, has emerged from both civilian and official sources.

Official data
Most of the governmental investigations of UFOs has been carried out by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Records indicate data back to 1950 with fragmentary evidence suggesting some activity as early as 1930. These investigations continued for decades, with formal downgrading in 1984 and curtailment in 1993. Most of the official data was inaccessible to civilians, although selective case files, with some censorship of witness details, were acquired by individual researchers and groups on a selective basis. That changed in the period from 1982 to 1984 when Bill Chalker succeeded in gaining comprehensive access to those files in a number of visits to the Defence department headquarters in Canberra:

1955 to 1974 in File series 580/1/1 Parts 1 to 35

1974 to 1983 in file series 529/1/3 Parts 1 to 15

1893 & beyond in file series 84/3265

Bill Chalker pubished the results of his file reviews in extensive detail.

The most detailed version of his study exists in "UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under - the Australian Military & Government role in the UFO controversy" which has been circulated widely and is available on the Internet at:

Other sources of Bill Chalker's descriptions of the RAAF file research include:

"The RAAF Investigation of UFOs", MUFON UFO Journal, No. 143, January, 1980, pgs. 3-6. This article first appeared in the ACOS Bulletin, No.20, August, 1979, and in UFOs over Australia, ACUFOS, 1985.

"UFOs and the RAAF - the Inside Story", UFORAN, Vol.3, Nos. 2,3 and 4, March-April, May-June, and July-August, 1982. This article appeared in abridged form in the MUFON UFO Journal, Nos. 175 (Sept. 1982) and 176 (Oct. 1982).

"UFOs: Australia's Secret Documents Revealed", OMEGA-Science Digest, Sept.-Oct. 1982. This article appeared in the APRO Bulletin, Vol.30, No.10 (Oct.'82) & Vol.30, No.11 (Dec.'82) as Australian A.F. UFO Report files.

"The RAAF files", Journal of ACUFOS, Vol.3, No.3, May/June, '82 and UFORAN, Vol.3, No.4, July-Aug.'82.

"Study of Official Australian Government Involvement in the UFO controversy - A progress report", An ACUFOS Bulletin Appendix, 1983.

"The UFO Connection - Startling Implications for NW Cape and Australia's security", OMEGA-Science Digest, March/April, 1985. This article along with Addendum (letter) appeared in FSR, Vol.31, No.5, July, 1986.

"Yes, There is a UFO Cover-up", OMEGA-Science Digest, Nov/Dec,1983. "The North West Cape Incident: UFOs and nuclear alert in Australia", IUR, Jan/Feb, 1986, Vol.11, No.1.

"Working with the Government", in Spencer/Evans Phenomenon, Futura,1988, and Avon, 1989.
"History of Involvement of Official Government Organisations", in The Australian UFO Experience, ACUFOS, 1988.

"UFO Sloring (UFO Coverup)", produced by SUFOI/Kim Moller Hansen, from a selection of Bill Chalker's RAAF research papers, 1985 (in Danish).

"The Australian Government and UFOs", in the International UFO Reporter, Fall, 1997

"Imlicacion militar y gubernamental en la controvesia de los OVNIs en Australia" in Cuadernos de Ufologia, Spain, No.22-23, 1998

Most of the RAAF UFO files are currently accessible in visits to the Australian Archives , principally housed at Canberra. The 30 year rule applies in terms of general access, ie. the records must be 30 years old and the Freedom of Information Act permits access to document from 1976 with significant exemptions. Therefore the gap prior to 1976 will not close until 2006.

Bill Chalker between 1982 to 1984 was able to examine a continuous run of files from 1955 through to June 1984. His access occurred before the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.

Other official enquiries though less in quantity have been examined in Department of Civil Aviation files. Information exists indicating other government organisations have been involved in the UFO controversy including:

Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) which became the Joint Intelligence Organisation

(JIO) and now operates as the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO)

Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Australian Security & Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)

Other branches of the Department of Defence - the Army & Navy

Keith Basterfield used the Archives act to expand on Bill Chalker's research, securing copies of RAAF files from 1955 to the early 1960s.

Bill Chalker has duplicates of these and a cross section of the more interesting cases and material from 1953 to 1984, from his own research of the Air Force Intelligence files. The latter collection is in excess of 500 pages of material.

Civilian data
Extensive collections of data exist in the various groups. Some of this material has appeared in reports, publications, catalogues & web sites. Accessibility to group data varies and has been and is contingent on the ebb and flow of group and individual researcher cooperation and "politics". The Internet and email has increased the sharing and accessibility of some of the group and individual collections of data and material.

"The Australian UFO Experience" (1988) by Bill Chalker represents a general overview of the phenomenon in Australia

"Australian Ufology: A review" by Keith Basterfield, Vladimir & Pony Godic and Mark Rodeghier, in the Journal of UFO Studies, New Series, Vol.2, 1990, describes and references a number of these data collection efforts.

A few books have appeared that include or list sightings data such as:

James Holledge "Flying Saucers over Australia" (1965);

Richard Tambling "Flying Saucers - Where do they come from?" (1967, 1978);

Michael Hervey "UFOs over the Southern Hemisphere" (1969 & 1975);

John Pinkney & Leonard Ryzman "Alien Honeycomb" (1980);

Kevin Killey & Gary Lester "The Devil's Meridian" (1980);

Keith Basterfield "UFOs, Close Encounters of an Australian Kind" (1981), revised & updated as "UFOs: a report on Australian encounters" (1997);

Vladimir & Pony Godic (editors), "UFO Research in Australia & New Zealand" (1992);

Bill Chalker "The Oz Files - the Australian UFO Story" (1996);

Moira McGhee & Bryan Dickeson "The Gosford Files" (1996)

Amongst the numerous Australian group magazines that have carried extensive UFO reports are:

Australian UFO Bulletin (VUFORS)
UFOIC Newsletter (UFOIC)
UFO Newsletter (SA)
The AFSRS Magazine
The Tasmanian UFO Annual Report
UFORAN (UFO Research Australia Newsletter)
UFO Reporter (UFOR(NSW))
UFO Encounter (UFOR (Qld))
PRA Journal
Only a few of these continue today.

The Australasian Ufologist has begun publishing as a newsstand publication in 1999 and includes a cross section of Australian UFO research.

"The Jarrold Listings", edited by Robert Frola (1990), provided an extensive collection of data from pre 1947 to 1979.

Several studies and reports have focused on the earlier historical phase of sightings, including:

"Early Australian historical encounters" by Bill Chalker, on the Project 1947 web site at:

"Historical reports in Australia" by Bill Chalker, ACUFOS Journal, Vol.2.1 to 4, 1981, reproduced in "UFOs over Australia" edited by Mark Moravec & John Prytz (1985)

"Items from the Australian flap, 1909-1910" by Paul Norman, FSR,Vol.22,No.6, 1976

"A UFO Vision? The mystery of 'A machine to go through the air', 1873, Parramatta, NSW, Australia", by Bill Chalker, UFORAN, Vol.3, No.1, Jan./Feb.1982.

"An Old Australian Phenomenon" by John Auchettl, in the Jarrold Listings (1990)

"UFOs in Australia and New Zealand through 1959", by Bill Chalker, pages 333 -356 in Jerome Clark's The UFO Encyclopedia, Volume 2, The Emergence of a Phenomenon, Omnigraphics/Apogee, February, 1992.

"The Terror Down Under", by Bill Chalker, Fate, September, 1988 (re 1927 Fernvale, NSW, UFO milieu).

"Australian 1947 UFO cases" by Bill Chalker, in "Project 1947" by Jan Aldrich, 1997

"The Victorian UFO Report, 1954" by Ray Fischer & Les Bristol, VUFORS (1978)

"1954 - A turning point in the Australian UFO controversy" by Bill Chalker, in seminar papers of "50 years of flying saucers", Riverwood, NSW, June, 1977

"The 1954 UFO Invasion of Australia" by Bill Chalker, in "UFO 1947-1997", 1997 & "A World History of UFOs", 1997.

The social history of the controversy down under
The social history of the UFO controversy in Australia has been elaborated in a number of diverse ways, sometimes detailed and other times fragmentary. There are many areas requiring more detailed elaboration. Civilian group publications are rich sources of information in a somewhat fragmented way. Very few have described their own social histories.

Stan Seers described some local Queensland group social history in his book "UFOs - The case for scientific myopia" (1983).

His reminiscences were augmented with Annette Bramelt's account "From One man's vision ... A brief history of UFORQ Inc 1956-1973" which appeared in UFO Encounter (Queensland) magazine during 1995-96.

Other items have appeared over the years including:

"UFOIC" and "Ballarat - First Australian convention of UFO groups" in the Australian Flying Saucer Review Sydney Edition, No.8, June, 1965.

The Victorian UFO Research Society carries a brief account in its publication "Australian UFO Bulletin" entitled "Society history 1957".

"The UFO Phenomena and its investigation by UFO groups within Australia" by Keith Basterfield in UFORAN, Vol.3, No.2, March-April, 1982

"Who's Who in Australian Ufology" compiled by John Prytz, ACUFOS, 1982.

Edgar Jarrold's involvement, as the founder of Australia's first group, is described in some detail by Bill Chalker in "1954 - A turning point in the Australian UFO controversy", "The 1954 UFO Invasion of Australia" and "UFOs in Australia and New Zealand through 1959" and further information on Jarrold is contained in extensive correspondence files between Harold Fulton of New Zealand and Jarrold.

This correspondence was made available to Project 1947 by Murray Bott of New Zealand. A copy is also held by Bill Chalker, courtesy of Project 1947/Murray Bott.

Peter Norris' contribution has been described in "Peter Norris 14 years after" by John Auchettl, in PRA Journal, No.7 Sept 1992.

Other researchers have recorded extensive oral history in the form of notes, tapes etc of the social aspects of the Australian UFO controversy by undertaking interviews with people who have contributed to the subject in Australia, including Harry Turner, Colin Norris, Peter Norris, Rev. William Gill, Air Marshall Sir George Jones, Stan Seers and many others.

The collections of individual researchers and groups have not been described in any detail and it is hoped that they can be encouraged to do so. As a starting point some preliminary information on Bill Chalker's collection of information and files is given as a guide:

The Bill Chalker collection
Extensive collection of UFO books, magazines & materials Extensive audio & video archive.
Extensive files in the following principle areas:
pre 1947 Australian cases
Australian government & military involvement
Australian UFO physical trace (CE2) cases
Australian abduction cases
Australian social & natural UFO history materials

Storage per files is in the form of computer disks, 8 filing cabinet drawers, numerous archive boxes, box files and display folders.

Materials vary in the degree of organisation and accessibility, but serious research efforts are supported within the limits of time and resource availabilty.

Compiled by Bill Chalker - September, 1999
I am contactable on: 02 9484 4680
P.O. Box 42,
West Pennant Hills,
NSW, 2125


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