Monday, July 25, 2016

Balwyn Polaroid photograph and visual sighting - 2 April 1966 - stage two report available

Introduction

Blog readers may recall that, along with Melbourne researcher Paul Dean, I published a post earlier this year about the classic, 2 April 1966, Balwyn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia visual sighting and Polaroid photograph. In that post, we provided details of all the known primary and secondary source materials.
One of two known APRO Bulletin articles


Since then

In the period since that post was published, Paul and I have been busy preparing a second stage report on the incident. We located:

- rare magazine articles on the event

- papers dealing with a number of analyses conducted on the photograph.


Investigation

In conducting this 'cold case' analysis, Paul and I, with the assistance of others, among other things:

- Visited the site of the observation

- Obtained an aerial survey photograph of the house taken in April 1966

- gathered weather data for that day

- listened to, and summarised, a number of original audio interviews conducted by the late Professor James E McDonald, with members of the Kibel family

- communicated with Jim Kibel using emails, and a personal discussion in Melbourne

- communicated by email with one of the original US photographic analysts.


Project 1947 website

Both the stage one, and stage two reports, are now available on the Project 1947 website, thanks to Melbourne webmaster John Stepkowski. PDF versions of the reports may be downloaded from the site.

A copy of this stage two report was supplied to Jim Kibel, and the next blog post will contain comments by him about the contents of the report.



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My research - stepping back into the shadows for a while

Hi all,

After 48 years of researching the phenomenon, I am about to make a few changes to my research program and methodology, effective 1 August 2016, in order to re-focus my available time and finances.

1. I recently gave a series of talks and workshops in Sydney, New South Wales.


I have decided that these will be the last physical talks/workshops I will undertake. While talks and workshops have, over the years, proved a very useful way to share information and network, I can see that today's digital world which we all live in, provides other means of communicating my research findings and interacting with other researchers.

2. I will be integrating my two blogs, this one and 'Magonia Down Under' and publishing material solely on this blog. In addition, I will be ceasing publishing blog posts on new books on UAP, as these posts do take up quite a bit of my time.

3. Many people I have spoken to, find that publishing material on UAP on Facebook, is a most unsatisfying experience. However, for whatever reason, be it vanity, or fear of missing something, few have quit using Facebook for this purpose. I personally have found that keeping track of the contents of some 45 Australian Facebook pages on UAP, is both time consuming and, ultimately of very little research value. So, I am taking a personal stand and ceasing using Facebook as a means of communicating my work on UAP.

4. I have spent much time in the past compiling a number of catalogues about UAP cases, many of which can be found on the Project 1947 website. I have recently, updated my major catalogue of interesting Australian cases, but will in future no longer undertake any new cataloguing work.

5. One of my current Projects is Project Newsprint. I started off the Project last year in order to see if there were unknown, current or past UAP reports in regional and isolated Australia. After the Project's success in Western Australia; Victoria and Queensland, I can answer that yes, indeed that are many previously unreported accounts. I see no need for me to continue the Project in other states. Naturally, if other researchers interstate wish to conduct their own Project Newsprint, I wish them well.

6. I am going to severely reduce my interaction with the media. In recent years, I have turned down requests to visit Toronto, Canada for a History Channel documentary; a request to be involved in the making of a documentary on the1988 Mundrabilla, Western Australia case; as well as multiple requests from overseas television production companies to be involved with filming segments. In addition, I have not appeared on a television segment on UAP for many years, as I regard these as simply providing entertainment and not advancing research.

7. I will now longer be investigating the numerous sightings which flood us all, unless they are significant in nature. I would however, be happy to work with anyone on good, solid, close encounter style events.

What will I be doing in future?

1. As long-time blog readers will know, my main interest for many years has been the undertaking of 'cold case' analyses, and then publishing the results. I intend to undertake more of the 'cold case' analyses, on both Australian and overseas cases. Shortly, I, along with Melbourne researcher Paul Dean will be releasing a stage two report on the 2 April 1966, Balwyn, Melbourne, Victoria, visual sighting and photograph. If you haven't read our stage one report you can find it here.

2. I will also be continuing my travels through the Australian Government records system, looking for new material to report upon. At the moment there are files, being processed for me by the NAA,  originating with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

3. I will be continuing to report, via this blog, on my future research. Thank you to all my current readers.

4. In addition, I will be continuing my collaboration with such researchers as Anthony Clarke of  UFO Research (NSW) Incorporated; and Paul Dean of Melbourne, on special projects we are currently working on.

However, as this blog post title reflects, I will be lowering my profile quite a bit and spending a bit of time 'in the shadows.'

Would security agencies be interested in Australian UAP groups?

 
 
Back in 1956

The short answer is yes, they have been. As long ago as 1956, the Commonwealth Investigation Service, retained a file titled 'The Australian Flying Saucer Research Society.' It can be viewed on the National Archives of Australia (NAA) website, file series A1533, control symbol 1956/2773. The two pages are a file cover, and a newspaper article. The article included the statement that 'The Australian Flying Saucer Research Society (AFSRS) will have its telescopes trained on the planet (Mars)...'

Onto 2004
 
In 2004, I located a second security file, this time on the Queensland Flying Saucer Bureau  (QFSB). NAA file series A6122, control symbol 2155 has a date range of 1959-1973. It originated with the Australian Security Intelligence Service (ASIO).
 
The file features:
 

- A 1959 'secret' report on the group which in part stated 'There is some communist influence in the Bureau.'
- A listing of individuals who attended a 1959 'Play Reading' evening.
- A 1960 memo forwarding a letter from Adelaide UFOlogist Fred Stone.
- A 1961 memo concerning an employee of the Weapons Research Establishment.
- A 'secret' 1962 memo forwarding a report on the Australian Flying Saucer Research Society.
- Two 1963 Department of Supply memos about an individual involved in Scientology.
- A 1971 memo about the 1963 Scientology individual.
- A 1972 memo about Adelaide UFOlogist Colin Norris.


2016
 
No further security files concerning Australian UAP groups have come to light since 2004, until now. In April 2016, I submitted four requests, through the NAA, to ASIO, for any files they held on four Victorian individuals. At the same time, knowing that one of these individuals was a member of the then named Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society (VFSRS), I also asked for any ASIO files on the VFSRS.
 
Now, I should tell you here, that in 2004, when I located the QFSB file, I had asked if ASIO had a file on either or both the VFSRS or its later name, Victorian UFO Research Society {VUFORS). Their written response was that they did not.
 
Interestingly then, on 18 July 2016, I received an email from the NAA advising me that they were processing an ASIO file on the VFSRS, barcode number 13750288, which is not shown on the NAA's RecordSearch engine. What it will contain remains to be seen. Final processing may take another six months. We can only wait and see.   

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The search through Australian government UAP records - 2012 to 2016

Introduction
 
After the success of the Disclosure Australia Project (2003-2008) in locating and arranging to have digitised, a large number of Australian government UAP files, I returned to the search in 2012 to locate further such files.
 
In 2013, I was joined in this search by Melbourne researcher Paul Dean. This blog post aims to provide readers with a summary of what  has been found in the period 2012 to 2016.
 
 
1. File series A9755
 
In 1994, when the Royal Australian Air Force got out of the UAP business, RAAF bases across the country closed off their UAP files and sent them off to RAAF HQ. Once bundled together, the 24 files were sent in one batch to the National Archives of Australia (NAA.)
 
The NAA 'top numbered' these files, and they became NAA file series A9755 part1 through to 24. During 2012 to 2016, I requested that this series be examined by the NAA, opened and digitalised. Paul Dean and I paid for this digitisation. Thus, almost all of the papers on these files, some as late as 1994, are today, available for anyone to view, via the NAA's website.
 
However, there were some documents on this file series, which were outside of the date range available through the Archives Act. I therefore submitted a series of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the Department of Defence for those papers with a date range such that they were available under that Act. I received copies of many of these files and reported on their contents in a series of posts on this blog. About 95% of all the papers in this series are now publicly available. The other 5% still sit on the files, outside the date range of the Archive Act, but inside the date range of the FOI Act. The reason I have not obtained these pages is that in 2015/2016 the Department of Defence wished to charge the fees to provide them to me, which I felt was an unreasonable amount. In due course as the years go by, they will fall inside the date range of the Archive Act and thus become available in this way.
 
Anyway, we already know the details of the contents of all these files, as in the mid 2000's, Dominic McNamara and I, spent 18 hours at Edinburgh RAAF base in Adelaide, going through these exact files. We reported on the contents in a series of Disclosure Australia Newsletters, published at the time.
 
 
2. Previously unknown files
 
During the 2012-2016 time period, Paul Dean and I located a number of previously unknown NAA UAP files. These included:
 
1. NAA files series J63, control symbol 5/51/Air - about radar sightings from the Townsville area.
2. K95, control symbol 1986/871 - A Western Australian Aviation Department file.
3. Uncited file - A collection of already known papers, but being collected by someone in the DOD at Woomera, up to as late as 2006 (remembering the DOD got out of the business in 1994.)
4. M1148, control symbol "Unidentified Flying Objects" - The personal papers of the Rt. Hon. R G Casey, former Australian Prime Minister.
 
In addition, under the FOI Act, I located a Bureau of Meteorology file, date range 1982-2006.
 
Previous blog posts have reported on the contents of all the above files.
 
 
3. Files concerning the disappearance of Frederick Valentich
 
Despite the fact that the Department of Transport had advised me in 2004, that they believed that the main file relating to the disappearance of pilot Frederick Valentich, in 1978, had been destroyed by the NAA, I found it, and two others in the NAA. The files were:
 
1. NAA file series B1497, control symbol V116/783/1047.
2. B638, control symbol M116/783/1047 part 1.
3. B638, control symbol M116/783/1047 part 2.
 
Melbourne based researcher Andrew Arnold located another Valentich file:
 
4. A4073, control symbol 1978/1205.
 
 
4. FOI Act requests
 
During the period, I also submitted FOI requests to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB); Air Services Australia (ASA); and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) asking for any documents they held on "Unidentified Flying Objects."
 
CASA responded that they had no such file holdings. ASA provided correspondence between themselves and various outlets, plus between themselves and a private individual seeking aircraft movements as possible explanations for sighting reports. The ATSB provide me with a number of proforma on incidents reported to them. However, I already had most of these details from an earlier ATSB FOI request. I posted about these requests earlier in this blog.
 
Paul Dean also submitted a number of FOI requests to the ATSB; ASA, and the Department of Defence, again, seeking documents relative to UAP. In addition, he submitted FOI requests to the DOD seeking documents about current areas of the DOD which might be concerned with tracking unknown objects over Australia. The DOD responded and provided numerous internal documents and manuals concerning tracking 'contacts of interest.' Paul has reported his findings in a series of posts on his blog.
 
5. A listing
 
An updated listing of Australian government UAP files may be found on the Project 1947 website.
 
 
6. Current situation
 
Paul Dean and I, and sadly no other Australian researchers, continue to look for further NAA UAP files. One I recently found was file series A4090, control symbol 529/1/16 part 1 titled 'DSTO records of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena' with a date range of 1974-196. I have a request in with the NAA to have this examined, (its current status is 'closed;' 'with held pending advice'), opened and digitised.
 
There is no doubt, that other NAA files on UAP are yet to be located within the NAA. It would be good if other Australian researchers contributed to this work.
 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Did the DSTO investigate UAP reports?


In my last post, I mentioned that details of  a file about UAP, originating from the Defence Scientific and Technology Organisation (DSTO) had, for the first time,  just popped up in the RecordSearch database of the National Archives of Australia (NAA.)  I wondered what references had been made to the DSTO in Australian UAP literature?


Bill Chalker

In part three of his 1996 article 'UFOs sub Rosa Down Under,' Sydney based researcher Bill Chalker, wrote in part:

"A firm proposal was developed with the team to operate within the Defence Science and Technical Organisation (DSTO.)"

Here, Bill was speaking of the year 1969, and a proposed 'Secret Military "Rapid Intervention" Team.' The architect of this team was Harry Turner, then in the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB) in the Australian Department of Defence.

I wondered whether or not, this reference to the DSTO, in the year 1969, was correct? Official government sources state that the DSTO was not created until 1974.

I therefore conducted further research. Firstly, I examined the digital copy of the JIB's UAP file in the National Archives of Australia (NAA.) NAA file series JIO63, control symbol 3092/2/000 titled 'Scientific Intelligence - General - Unidentified Flying Objects,' has a date range of 1957-1971. Although there are documents originating from Harry Turner on this file, there are no papers which mention the proposal for a 'secret' team, nor any reference to the DSTO (which of course wasn't created until 1974.)

Secondly, I read further portions of  'UFOs sub Rosa' and found "George Barlow of Defence Science and Technology (DST) had also offered the help of his group." So, here is mention of DST, but not DSTO.

George Barlow http://www.honeysucklecreek.net/supply/pioneers/index.html
I therefore searched the Internet, for information about the career of George Barlow. Did he work for the DSTO at any time? I found that in 1965 he worked for the then Department of Supply. In 1968, he was transferred to Canberra and took up the position of First Assistant Secretary/Defence Science. Then, in 1974 he moved into the newly created DSTO.

In summary, Bill's DSTO reference for 1969, seems to be incorrect, as the DSTO was not formed until 1974.

John Auchettl

At a 1998 Sydney UAP conference, Melbourne based researcher John Auchettl recounted an October 1997 'Pine Gap UFO intrusion' allegedly involving a UFO encounter leaving physical evidence. Bill Chalker in an 'Ozfiles' blog post dated 20 October 2011, cites details of Auchettl's presentation. In part, Bill wrote:

"I suspect that the Pine Gap people and DSTO (allegedly also involved in investigating the event)..."

However, nothing further is known about this alleged DSTO involvement.


Paul Dean

After reading my previous blog post, Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean, recalled that when the Department of Defence General Admin UAS policy was cancelled in 2012, that the distribution list of the cancellation memo had a DSTO officer on it.

The DSTO officer is listed as 'COO (DSTO) (F2-2-017.)' An Internet search found that COO stands for 'Chief Operations Officer.' F2-2-017, from FOI request knowledge, is a specific Department of Defence office address in Canberra.

Why a copy of a memo cancelling a Department of Defence UAS policy should be sent to the DSTO is unknown at this time.


Internet

There are other vague rumours on various Internet sites of UAP being seen in DSTO facilities in South Australia. These are simply rumours, with no hard documentation to back up the stories.

In summary, it will be fascinating to see what is actually on the DSTO file which has just surfaced in the NAA. Hopefully, I should have arranged for it to be examined, made available, and digitised, by December this year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

DSTO UAP file found in the National Archives of Australia

Hi all,

Introduction

The Defence Science and Technology Group, is part of the Australian Department of Defence. Prior to 1 July 2015, it was known as the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO.) Its current website uses slogans such as 'Science and Technology for Safeguarding Australia;' and 'The Brains Trust of Defence.' It has a number of 'Research Divisions,' including one named 'Aerospace Division.' The 'Our history' section of the website, states that the DSTO, as an organisation, came into being in 1974.

Archive and FOI Act research

Between 2003 and 2008, the Disclosure Australia Project located over 100 files relating to UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA.) For a current list of these files click here. Many of these were digitised by the NAA, paid for by members of the Project.

In 2008, (updated in 2011) this author, on behalf of the Project, prepared, and published, a 121 page document summarising the Project's findings, titled 'UAS files located in the Australian Government record system.'    UAS - Unusual Aerial Sightings - was the term used by the RAAF for UAP.

The Project found files originating with such government departments as the former Department of Supply; the former Department of Civil Aviation; the former Department of Territories; the former Department of External Affairs; the Commonwealth Investigation Service; the Australia Security Intelligence Organisation; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; and other agencies. Within the Department of Defence, files were located which originated from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Joint Intelligence Bureau.

In 2004, this author submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defence, for other areas of that Department, including the DSTO. The DOD response was that they were unable to locate any files originating in these areas dealing with the topic of UAS for the period 1977 to 2004.

DSTO

Imagine then,  the author's surprise last night, when conducting a keyword search of the NAA's RecordSearch, file database, to find a Department of Defence DSTO UAP file!

Screen shot of RecordSearch showing the file's details.

NAA file series A4090 (DOD Central Office), control symbol 529/1/16 Part 1, barcode 13685217, is titled 'DSTO records of unidentified Aerial phenomena.' It is held in the Canberra office of the NAA. Its date range is shown as 1974-1996. Its status is given as 'Closed.' The reason given for it being 'Closed'  is shown as 'Withheld pending advice.' This usually means that the file is with the originating body being examined for 'sensitivities.'

Archive request

I have today, submitted a request to the NAA to have the file 'opened.' This process usually takes up to three months. After that, I will be able to make a request for, and pay for, the file to be digitised, thus making it publicly available around Christmas 2016.

FOI Act request

I have also today, submitted an FOI Act request to the Department of Defence for copies of all parts of this file 529/1/16, held by them. 'Part 1' suggests there is likely to be a 'part 2' of the same file. There is no record of a 'part 2' in the NAA.

Now, all one can do, is await the outcome of these requests.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Updated Australian catalogue, and listing of Australian government UAP files

Hi all,

I have just completed work on an extensive update of one of my catalogues, titled 'A catalogue of the more interesting Australian UAP reports.'


I have included some new cases; checked sources for accuracy, and amended dates, times and other details, as necessary.

I have also just finished updating my listing of  known 'Australian government UAP files.' The list provides details of some 150 such files. Most of these may be read in digitised form, via the National Archives of Australia website.


Thanks to the good graces of John Stepkowski, who maintains the Project 1947 website, you can find my updated catalogue online here; and the files listing, online here.

Happy reading.