Australian ufology

Australian ufology

Australian ufology refers to a historical series of Australian events and or activities pertaining to government departments, civilian groups or individual Australians, which centre on or around the study of Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) reports, sightings, encounters and other related phenomena, known as ufology within the Australian context before 1982.


The modern Australian ufological era

Numerous early reports about aerial phenomena around Australia date back prior to 1947. However, it is widely accepted that the modern ufology starts with Kenneth Arnold case (June 1947) and the infamous Roswell UFO Incident (July 1947), both cases became international press items and appear in Australian broadsheet newspapers [The Argus (Australia)" for 7th 1947 - "FLYING SAUCERS' To Be Hunted Down" - Mystery has U.S.baffled. New York (AAP)- Image Source PRA Melbourne] . See the 1947 Flap [NICAP 1947 Flap & UFO Chronology -] [] [] [NICAP - List - 1947 - and MONTHS -] .

Groups and organisations


The first gathering of enthusiasts occurred in Melbourne Victoria (Australia) in March 1949 [NAA: 2307] at the "Aeronautical Research Laboratory" – Melbourne, Victoria (ARL) [ARL - Notes] [ [ 60 Yrs Research ] ] . The non-government meeting minutes show an attendance of 23 enthusiasts from various state and local groups such as the British Interplanetary Society [The Melbourne Branch forms in 1951] , Royal Aeronautical Society (RAS - Melb) [] , "Commonwealth Aircraft Corp" - Melbourne (CAC) [CAC - Notes] , RAAF and the Army Research Establishment. By May 1949 this early gathering became known as the "Aeronautical & Meteorological Phenomena Research" (AMPR) [AMPR and AFSIC are the same group Doc NAA Point #2] under Mr. Brian Boyle and Jack Seers. AMPR started to list and research “Flying Saucer” stories and produced a small limited quarterly publication called “Interplanetary Saucer” [Boyle: 1961] .


AMPR work load increased as the world ran into its next major sightings flap. See the 1950 Flap [] [NICAP 1950 UFO Chronology] [1950 Ufo Flap - FOTOCAT is an in-progress project from the Anomaly Foundation, managed by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, with the purpose to create a catalog of world-wide UFO photo events. See Graph] [] [] [NICAP - List - 1950 - and MONTHS -] . The world press reports started to collect in greater numbers as Americans began to deal with the "Flying Saucer" age.In 1951 AMPR changed their structure and name to the "Aeronautics & Phenomena Research Victoria" (APRV).In May, 1952 Mr. R. M. Seymour, Superintendent of the "Federal Civil Aviation Department", Air Traffic Control Branch Melbourne, reported that Australian Intelligence officers had refused his Department permission to investigate flying saucer reports on the grounds that UFO's were "security matters". [See Australian Flying Saucer Review, vol1, #, 2 April, 1960, p1] .

The sighting activity increased around the world and by July 1952 a "Edger. R. Jarrold" from Queensland, starts a private one man group in Sydney, New South Wales. Jarrold named his group the "Australian Flying Saucer Bureau" (AFSB). (See Doc National Archives of Australia: A705/1, 114/1/197, digital image p169] ). Jarrold group starts to get a state membership base, by May 1953, AFSB; published their first magazine called the "Australian Flying Saucer Magazine". ["Australian Flying Saucer Magazine" No 6, February 1955, 8 pages, 21cm x 28cm - Image Source PRA Melbourne]

Jarrold’s activities in NSW were noted by APRV, who made contact. An agreement was made that the two groups would assist each other when possible. APRV nominated "John. M. Anderson" (See Doc) as their AFSB representative on the condition that his appointment is seen only as being neutral, there will be no branch affiliation with AFSB. Jarrold was seen by APRV as an independent secretive “"loose gun"” [Boyle: 1961 p12] , however, both groups maintained an average working relationship.

Due to a greater public demand for research and information (1953 Flap [] [NICAP 1950 UFO Chronology] [1953 Ufo Flap - FOTOCAT is an in-progress project from the Anomaly Foundation, managed by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, with the purpose to create a catalog of world-wide UFO photo events. See Graph] ) AMPR decided on 6 February 1953, to form an auxiliary group called the "Australian Flying Saucer Investigating Committee" (AFSIC) [Australian Flying Saucer Investigating Committee (AFSIC) Doc NAA] [] [] [NICAP - List - 1953 - and MONTHS -] , in partnership with the "Astronomical Society of Victoria".

Such was the interest, on the 20 November 1953, a question was asked in the House of Representatives 'Question time' by Mr Downer (MP), about numerous sighting of UFO's over Australia. The then Minister for Air, Hon. William McMahon (MP) (later Prime Minister) replied that the "saucers" were a problem more for the psychologist than the defense authorities. (See Doc [ National Archives of Australia: A705/1, 159/2/304, digital image p7] ).

Jan 1954 also proved to be a very active period as reports increased at such a rate that researchers become bogged down with the load. Out of this 1954 flap, also known as the "Victorian invasion", come the seeds of future groups and the first hints of the stress associated with this subject. In July 1954, AFSIC released a study of 55 sightings from the flap. This 1954 event is well documented in a 1987 publication called "“The Victorian UFO report, 1954: a compilation of reports from the Victorian press”" [By Ray Fischer and Les Bristol, VUFORS, Report at - - State Library of Victoria] .

The conference is also important for other reasons, a new public group structure is discussed and developed and takes the name "Commonwealth Aerial Phenomena Investigation Organisation" (CAPIO). The assembly voted it into existence, out of proceedings lawyer Peter E. Norris LL.B(Melb) becomes CAPIO's first President, under the patronage of Air Marshal Sir George Jones (See Doc [ National Archives of Australia: A8520, HM1/30, digital image p50] ).

October 1965, after some delays, the "Tasmania UFO Investigation Centre" (TUFOIC) was founded under Keith Roberts and Paul Jackson [Roberts, Keith, A Short History of TUFOIC, Tasmania UFO Investigation Centre (TUFOIC), 2000, pp1] . Built around a strong state membership, TUFOIC went on to produce one of the most detailed catalogue of local case sighting, called TASCAT [TASCAT - TASCAT] . By 1999 it had over 500 case studies. [See 1970 -] In 1966 a new group based at Woomera was set up called the 'Scientific Technical and Astronomical Research Society". This group scientific and technical personnel collected UFO reports from the Woomera rocket range and local area. With the With the demise of the British and Australian rocket program, the group was disbanded in 1968. [WOOMERA Scientific Technical and Astronomical Research Society part 1 NAA 978675 Ser No D250 Control 56/3568 Part 1 pp100 [] ] On the 12 October 1966, the Department of Air wrote to the CSIRO advising that "“…Sighting of Unidentified Flying Objects have during recent months been receiving considerable publicity... it is important that the system of investigation should make the best use of resources available in Australia.”" National Archives of Australia: A8520, HM1/30, digital image p49] . The DOA invited the CSIRO to comment on specific UFO cases to be sent to them by the RAAF. The minutes of the 92nd meeting of the CSIRO executive committee on 25 October 1966 (See para 10) revealed that the CSIRO agreed to the DOA’s request. They responded on 7 November, 1966 "“The organisation is quite happy to assist in this way...and too provide you with comments...”" [ National Archives of Australia: A8520, HM1/30, digital image p47] .

tate collaboration fractures

For years there was a general underground friction or competitiveness between groups, focused primary on Victorian groups. The general causes were numerous, but the primary motivation was around power or leadership. Lawyer Peter Norris LL.B, was a very active and methodical spokesman. Norris and his group VFSRS pressed the need for Government research and created many of the opportunities with various Government bodies. Add the fact; all reports came to Victorian Government files and VFSRS proactive case research record, made those outside this power house feel isolated. One can see the friction in this document to ASIO in which AFSRS President Fred Stone describes his lack of trust in the Victorian group and that they were associated with a Sydney UFO Group that was controlled by people with "“Pink”" tendencies.(See Doc [ National Archives of Australia: A6122, 2004/00053526, digital image p17] ).

By 1963 the South Australian group was finished, this led to a push from Sydney, in which by taking control of the state groups magazine, UFOIC hoped that the authority would shift too their sphere. So on the 23 February 1967, UFOIC V/Pres Mr. Harry O’Brian (See Letterhead [National Archives of Australia: A1336/1, 68837, digital image p12] ) made an application [National Archives of Australia: A1336/1, 68837, digital image p16] for copyright on the states groups magazine "“Australian Flying Saucer Review”". This application was made without the knowledge of the other groups, when discovered the manoeuvre ‘backfired’ totally damaged the previously semi harmonious state of collaboration. Victoria and Queensland protested and the application failed, however, that was the end and VFSRS closed the door on Sydney - the fracture was complete. The relationship between southern groups and Queensland (QFSRB) remains strong to this day. UFOIC continued with a temporary name change (UFO Research (NSW) 1977 - 1991). [ [ Ufoic been dead for years ] ] publishing a newsletter from 1964 until late 1979 when a cooperative semi-national UFO Research Australia newsletter emerged in 1980. [ [ UFOIC History & Formation ] ] [ [ UFO Investigation Centre Australia: The evolution of UFOIC ] ] In 1968 the "Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society" (VFSRS) was re-organised and its name was again altered - this time to the "Victorian U.F.O. Research Society" (VUFORS). [] []

Then on the 26 June, 1968, in a letter from the Australian Governments Department of External Affairs to the Secretary Prime Minister’s Department, the following policy observations are recorded; "“…the history of this subject reveals that the more time and effort that is spent by experienced scientists in investigating the smaller becomes the residue of unexplained phenomena…in spite of these difficulties the Australian Government continue to keep records of all “sighting” and associated phenomena reported within Australian and associated territories.”" (See Doc [ National Archives of Australia: A8520, HM1/30, digital image p7] ).

By 1969 Phenomena Research Australia (PRA) change their policy and open limited membership to the general public with a new newsletter called "UFO And Phenomena" [ National Library Of Australia Call Number: Nq 001.942 UFO] . [Auchettl, John, The Roots of Australian Ufology, Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS), 1985]


In late 1970, Tasmania UFO Investigation Centre (TUFOIC), produced the "Tasmanian UFO Report" later "TUFOIC Newsletter", a magazines that covered 86 issues (1970 to 1999).

On 30 October 1971, a symposium was held in Adelaide. The symposium, on UFOs, was organised by the SA Division of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science [ (ANZAAS)] .

Victorian groups VUFORS and PRA invite Dr. J. Allen Hynek to visit Australia. Hynek accepts the invitation and in 1973 Hynek arrives in Australia, spending 4 days in Melbourne, followed by short stops Sydney, ACT, Brisbane and then finally Papua New Guinea. While in Victoria, Dr. Hynek was also able to meet with Rev. William Gill who was involved in the famous "close encounters of the third kind" case that occurred in the Anglican mission village at Boianai, Papua, New Guinea, he also journeyed to Papua, this enabled him to undertake a detailed on site investigation into this famous case. Victorian members of VUFORS and PRA arranged that, during his stay in the ACT, he was able to talk with Shamus O'Farrell, discussing O'Farrell’s famous 1954 Sea Fury incident.

In 1974, Harry Griesberg and David Seargent established the "Australian Co-ordination Section" (ACOS) of the US based "Center for UFO Studies" (CUFOS). This followed the 1973 visit to Australia of Dr J. Allen Hynek, who requested that Australian ufologists forward copies of interesting Australian sighting reports to CUFOS in the USA. [Mark Moravec "Journal Cuadernos de Ufologia", 1997-98 then reprinted in the UK journal "Fortean Studies", 1999, Vol6 ISBN 1-902212-207, para 1 p110] Dr Martin Gottschall, ACUFOS -] Then in 1978, VUFORS changes direction following the resignation of Mr. Peter Norris, the current executive, Mrs. Judith Magee, Messrs. Paul Norman and Clive Yates, are placed in control, ensuring that continuing prosperity of VUFORS. At that time VUFORS has the largest membership of any U.F.O. organisation in the Southern Hemisphere. [] []

Defence UFO files open

Although the UFO files had been available to Defence personnel and Civilians Defence personnel for years, these files remained closed to outside researchers. Then in Oct 1979, extensively through the efforts of VUFORS researchers and Fl/Lt Brett Biddington [Bendigo Advertiser May 25 1983 Front Page] , (Later Group Captain - RAAF) , the RAAF invited Victorian researchers to visit the Intelligence Cell at RAAF Headquarters Support Command, Victoria Barracks, Victoria, to view all the files, and copy what they wished. [File note: “Note for further Intelos lumbered with questions about F…. V…. “In 1983 all paper work on V…..’s disappearance was photocopied by the UFO Research Society in Victoria and all enquiries should be directed to them.” CINTO. 10 Feb 1989. File 5/6/1/AIR Part 8. 9755-4 “UFO-reports” HQ Support Command. Folios 10 Jan 78 to 10 Feb 89] This was a significant ‘turn around’ by the Defence Force, but it was the start of a period of remarkable co-operation between Government Departments and Civilian groups. It was not until 1981 that another change in policy was instigated. Some general UFO files could be sent to Defence HQ, Russell Office, Canberra, when requested. The limited selection became open to other civilians for research after being vetted by a second controlling officer, but after their inspection they were returned to the Victorian collection. [Auchettl, John, The Roots of Australian Ufology, Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS), 1985, pp34]


By 1980 ACOS became the "Australian Centre for UFO Studies" (ACUFOS) by 1985 (to this day) under the control of Dr Martin Gottschall. "UFO Research Australia" (UFORA) is formed by Vladimir and Pony Godic. Their first newsletter is published in Jan 1980 in South Australia. [National Library Of Australia Call Number: Nq 001.9420994 UFO [,11&Search%5FArg=ufo&Search%5FCode=JALL&SL=Submit%26TYPE%3Das%7C0%26TYPE%3Dab%7C1&CNT=25&PID=20689&SEQ=20061230202718&SID=1] ]


The structure of Australian Government is in three tiers. The lowest level is "Local Council", above that is the "State Government" and over these two levels sits the "Federal Government". Throughout the modern era of Australian Ufology, departments of the Federal government have played the major role of official inquisitor. The State Government does play a minor role, however, evidence shows us that when a State body gets involved their primary object is to pass the case up to the Federal sphere. Fact|date=February 2008


* RAAF dealt with more than 400 between 1950<->1959 and over 1,300 reports between 1960<->1980. The Department of Air produced Unusual Aerial Sightings (UAS) lists for the public. Three such examples are:

* Summary No1 January 60 - Dec 68, [ National Archives of Australia:PP959/1/0, 5/3/AIR, digital image p5] .

* Summary No2 January 69 - Dec 69, [ National Archives of Australia:PP959/1/0, 5/3/AIR, digital image p31] .

* Summary No3 January 71 - Dec 71. [ National Archives of Australia:PP959/1/0, 5/3/AIR, digital image p39] .

These above samples lists are from the West Australian, National Archives of Australia (NAA) files. However, it is known that there are over 10,000 files in over 130 folders on the topic of UFO or Flying Saucers located within the NAA 60 million file collection. For some reason after 1980, Government UFO reports that were in external departments, were culled and then scattered through out Australia to NAA storage areas [The NAA advise Phenomena Research Australia [PRA] that the UFO files can now be viewed on the net. John W. Auchettl & Dr Ron Barnett - Australian DoD UFO File Location] , away from their original central point in Victoria.

"Looking at archival documents we see the following main player in UFO case research or information collection. Please note the list may not show all the upper administration levels of the departments just the units that have been involved with UFO case studies."


*Melbourne University [ National Archives of Australia: A705/1, 114/1/197, digital image p67]
*Local Police Stations
*Local Police CIB Special Branch
frame|Department_Of_Air_UFO_Folder_Cover_114/1/997_-_1953_to_1955_-_NAA_01948052_-_[] ]


*Air Board [ National Archives of Australia: B5758, 5/6/AIR Part1, digital image p160] .
*Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) [ National Archives of Australia: A6122, 2004/00053526, digital image p16] .
*Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)
*Australian Joint Service Staff (Intelligence)
*Bureau of Air Safety (BAS)
*Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI)
*Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) [ National Archives of Australia: A703/115, 580/1/1 Part 2, digital image p198] .
*Commonwealth Investigation Section (CIS)
*Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) [ National Archives of Australia: A9778/4, M1/F/31, digital image p6] . [ National Archives of Australia: A8520/1, HM1/30, digital image p27] .
*Defence Scientific and Technical Intelligence (DSTI)
*Director of Scientific Intelligence (DSI)
*Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI) [ National Archives of Australia: B5758, 5/6/AIR Part1, digital image p169] .
*Division of Meteorological Physics (CSIRO)
*Division of Radiophysics (CSIRO) [ National Archives of Australia: A8520/1, HM1/30, digital image p6] .
*Department of Defence (DoD) [ National Archives of Australia: A703/115, 580/1/1 Part 2, digital image p187] .
*Department of Air (DOA) (1939-1973) [ National Archives of Australia: A703/115, 580/1/1, Part 2 digital image p1] .
*Department of Aviation (DOA)
*Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) [ National Archives of Australia: A705/1, 114/1/197, digital image p69] .
*Department of External Affairs [ National Archives of Australia: A8520/1, HM1/30, digital image p7] .
*Department of Meteorology (DOM) [ National Archives of Australia: A703/115, 580/1/1 Part 2, digital image p198] .
*Department of the Navy [ National Archives of Australia: A705/1, 114/1/197, digital image p120] .
*Department of Supply (1950-1974) [ National Archives of Australia: A8520/1, HM1/30, digital image p17] .
*Department of Transport (DOT)
*Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB)
*Meteorological Branch [ National Archives of Australia: A705/1, 114/1/197, digital image p44] .
*National Standards Laboratory (CSIRO) [ National Archives of Australia: A8520/1, HM1/30, digital image p38] .
*Upper Atmosphere Section (CSIRO) [ National Archives of Australia: A8520/1, HM1/30, digital image p9] .

Note: This above list is far from complete; however, it does lists some of the main Government sections that held or handled UFO reports.

From 1930 to 1959 all Defence UFO files were held at HQ Southern Air, G Block, Albert Part Barracks, Melbourne. (See Doc [ National Archives of Australia: B5758, 5/6/AIR PART 1, digital image p173] ) with Army Intelligence. After 1959 the files were moved to RAAF Headquarters, Support Command, Victoria Barracks, Victoria Intelligence Cell, within the main building. These case files were controlled by the Australian Army through the Australian Army Intelligence Corps staff within the Australian Intelligence system [See Wiki Training in Australian Army Intelligence Corps "Intelligence Corps staff work with the Defence Intelligence Organisation, Defence Signals Directorate and Defence Security Authority".] , and they played a principle roll in the field investigation of any UFO phenomenon in Australia. However, the Army kept a low public profile but filtered reports for action. All Departments’ Central Offices were located in Melbourne, Victoria, between 1930 and 1969 [Location Changes: Historical agency address --> 1939-1959: Victoria Barracks,St Kilda Road, Melbourne --> 1959-1961: Administrative Building, Canberra, ACT --> 1961-1973: Russell Offices, Canberra, ACT - SEE End of NAA Page] , then due to Government restructure, a majority of departments moved to Canberra. The main collection of UFO files stayed in Victoria until 1989 later going to Canberra or the National Archives of Australia [The NAA advise Phenomena Research Australia [PRA] that some of the UFO files could now be viewed on the net. John W. Auchettl & DR Ron Barnett - Australian DoD UFO File Location] .

The Air Force depart Australian ufology

January 4 1994, RAAF Wing Commander Brett Biddington, on behalf of the Chief of Air Staff, informed all civilian UFO groups around Australia that "The number of reports made to the RAAF in the past decade had declined significantly, which may indicate that organisations such as yours are better known and are meeting the community's requirements." Therefore, the RAAF was not going to investigate or collect any more public reports from that date on. Although the RAAF have officially removed themselves from the public report collection phase, there is evidence that internal investigations, by other Government departments, still continue under the new title of Unusual Aerial Phenomena (UAP) or Unusual Aerial Sightings (UAS). Called the "“1996 - Defence Instructions (General) ADMIN 55-1”", this 1996 Department of Defence (DOD) policy document better known as 'ADMIN 55-1' concerns UAS Policy is still currently used. [Air Force file AF 84 3508 Pt 1 folio 18 - RAAF POLICY: Unusual Aerial Sightings. at Enclosure 1 - National Archives of Australia (NAA) files] [18 November, 1996 House Hansard - McLachlan, Ian, MP (Barker, Defence, LP) - Question on Notice: Unidentified Flying Objects: Reports Goto - [] ]

For further information on UFO and the Australian Government, files and case reports from 1950 to 1980 search the " [ National Archives of Australia"]

UFO investigation groups

* [ Australian Centre for UFO Studies] (ACUFOS)
*Australian International UFO Flying Saucer Research (AIUFOFSR)
*Phenomena Research Australia (PRA)
* [ Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre] (TUFOIC)
* [ Victorian UFO Research Society] (VUFORS)
* [ UFO Research NSW] (UFORNSW)
* [ UFO Research Queensland] (UFORQld)


*Auchettl, John, "Peter Norris:14 years after", 1992, in PRA Journal, No.7 September 1992, ISSN 1320-0763 [,1&Search_Arg=phenomena+Research+Australia&Search_Code=FT*&SL=None&PID=10539&CNT=25&SEQ=20060109203135&SID=3]
*Auchettl, John, "The Roots of Australian Ufology", Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS), 1985, pp34
*Auchettl, John, "An Old Australian Phenomenon", The Australian Annual Flying Saucer Review, Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS), 1983, pp18-22
*Boyle, Brian, "The Early Years: From Saucers to UFOs", Phenomena Research Victoria, 1961
*Bristol, Les, "The Victorian UFO report, 1954 : a compilation of reports from the Victorian press", Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS), 1978, pp22, [ State Library of Victoria Call Number: 001.94 F 52 V]
*Druffel, Ann, Firestorm: Dr James E. McDonald's fight for UFO Science, Wild Flower Press, 2003, pp609, ISBN 0-926524-58-5, pp170-171
*Fischer, Ray, "The Victorian UFO report, 1954 : a compilation of reports from the Victorian press", Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS), 1978, pp22, [ State Library of Victoria Call Number: 001.94 F 52 V]
*Holledge, James, "Flying Saucers Over Australia", Horwitz Publications Inc, Melbourne, 1965, NL 629.1334 HOL, Bib ID 2071722 [,1&Search_Arg=Flying+Saucers+Over+Australia&Search_Code=FT*&SL=None&PID=10539&CNT=25&SEQ=20060109202636&SID=2]
*Norman, Paul, "Some Highlights in Australian Ufology", The Australian Annual Flying Saucer Review, Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS), 1983, pp10-24
*Seers, Stan, "UFOs: The Case for Scientific Myopia", Vantage Press, 1983, pp224, ISBN 0-533-05271-8


See also

* J. Allen Hynek
* James E. McDonald
* UFO sightings in Australia
* Unidentified Flying Object
* Valentich Disappearance
* Westall High School UFO

External links

* [ Australia's 1868 UFO Buzz]

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