Friday, 29 January 2016

Significant Release Of Never-Before-Seen Australian Government UFO Policy.... 

And Get Excited.... Because Some Of It Is Still Classified 

Part 2   


In 1994, the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) policy of accepting and investigating UFO sightings, or “Unusual Aerial Sightings” (UAS) as they called them, was downgraded to virtually no policy at all. But, like all things in modern government, there had to be a paper trail. In September, 2015 I submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Department of Defence (DOD) for any material that “went into” this policy downgrade, and I was recently provided with never-before-seen administrative records from that era. I have discussed some of these records in Part 1 of this series, which can be found here:

In this Part 2 of the series, I aim to continue providing imagery and discussion regarding this important release of information. In Part 1, the main item I studied was Wing Commander (later Group Captain) Brett Biddington’s (ret) lengthy draft of background information and suggestions which would soon morph into the 1994 downgrade of their UAS policy. One surprise was the level of security classification on much of this material. I also emphasized that some of it remains classified, and has been redacted (blacked out) so it could be released to me.

So what of RAAF Biddington’s final draft for the Chief of Air Staff? At 7 pages long, it differs somewhat from the first draft that Biddington wrote. Firstly, it has a cover page as one may expect, and is somewhat more formal, as we shall see. Firstly, the front cover page has “COVERING SECRET” stamped squarely in place. The title states “BREIF FOR CAS” – “CAS” is the acronym for Chief of Air Staff. Below this is “UNUSUAL AERIAL SIGHTINGS POLICY”. And in the bottom left, is the all-important “Brief prepared by WGCDR B. Biddington.” I have imaged this below. 


The next page is has SECRET stamped at the top, as well as “Page 1 of 7” directly underneath. Below that is “DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE” and “(AIR FORCE OFFICE)”. A line of text referring to the existing UAS policy states “Ref: AF 84 3508 Pt l (14)” and is followed by a center-of-page heading “BRIEF FOR CAS” and “UNUSUAL AERIAL SIGHTINGS – POLICY” underneath. The first sub-section is headed here, not surprisingly titled “BACKGROUND”. The remaining text on this page, originally UNCLASSIFIED states:

“1.       (U) The RAAF has been responsible for collecting and collating material on unusual aerial sightings (UAS) for many years. Policy was last reviewed in 1984 following two separate incidents that attracted wide publicity. One involved strange lights in the sky in Bendigo and the other caused Mirages and F-IIIs to be brought to high states of alert because of a series of low-level Mach3 paints on the Sydney radar. The Bendigo investigation was inconclusive and the Sydney radar was found to have been faulty.

2.         (U) Recently, HQTC sought guidance on UAS policy because of the reduced numbers of out of hours duty personnel at a number of bases. This has prompted a review of policy as it should apply across the RAAF.”

At the end of this Page 1 a new sub-section titled “DISCUSSION”, with a sub-title “Current Policy” completes the page with:

“3.       (U) Current policy on UAS is at FLAG 1. The key element is:”

This page finishes here, and I have imaged it below.


Page 2 continues on this “Current Policy” section with:


“The RAAF accepts reports on UAS and attempts an allocation of reliability. Those which                         suggest a defence or security implication are further investigated and a probable cause                           determined.

Where the RAAF is notified about sightings deemed not to have a 'defence or security implication', the sightings are not investigated and the person making the report may be referred to a civil UFO research organisation.

4.         (R)   There are two basic problems with the current policy:

a.     It is impossible to assess in advance whether a sighting may have defence or security significance.

b.        Resources devoted by RAAF to UAS investigation have dwindled over the years to the point that our stated commitment to investigation is not put into effect.”

A new sub-title, “Community Interest” begins here, and was originally RESTRICTED. It states:

“5.       (R)   There remains a small but committed element of the community which devotes considerable effort and resources to the study of extra-terrestrial phenomena. Also, there is a much wider but mostly latent general community interest in UAS. In the past, the RAAF has been accused of:

a.         withholding documents about particular sightings or incidents, and

b.         neglecting our national security obligations by not taking UAS matters seriously.”

This finishes the page, which I have imaged below. 


The “Community Interest” sub-section continues on Page 3 with:

“Neither accusation has caused the RAAF serious embarrassment or concern. The change of policy in 1984 was notified by Ministerial Press Release and passed with cursory comment.

6          (U)    Since 1984, the number of UAS reported to the RAAF has significantly reduced. This may indicate that civilian organisations are better known and are meeting community requirements. It may also reflect that current policy of referring individuals who wish to report sightings directly to civil UFO research organisations, has been successful.”

A new sub-section begins titled “RAAF Interest”, and, like the draft version, we now see heavy redaction under Section 47E of the FOI Act. The text states:

“7.       (S)  In the past, responsibility for UAS X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X  X X X X X X X X X X The most recent example is thought to have occurred in the late 1970s/early 80s when a RAAF SQDLDR was dispatched at short notice to central Queensland X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X ”

8.         (U)  At a more mundane level, the UAS mechanism has provided information about missing and crashed aircraft.

9.         (U)  The enormous improvements in surveillance technologies in the past 20 years make it possible to predict when large items of space junk are likely to fall to earth and where they are likely to fall; this occurred with SKYLAB in 1983. Civil and military aviation

Thus ends Page 3. Again, I image it below.


Page 4 begins with a continuation of the “RAAF Interest” sub-section with:

“communications in Australia are highly developed and initial indications that an aircraft is in difficulty are increasingly likely to come from within the system and not be dependent on external observation of flaming wreckage and falling debris. Witness observations of such events remain important but not from the UAS perspective.”

At this point, an entire new section begins, and is titled “SUGGESTED POLICY”. All UNCLASSIFIED, this page finishes out with:

“10.     (U)  To account for the changes that have occurred since UAS policy was last reviewed, a new policy is proposed. This policy reads:

For many years the RAAF has been formally responsible for handling Unusual Aerial Sightings (UAS) at the official level. Consideration of the scientific record suggests that whilst not all UAS have a ready explanation, there is no compelling reason for the RAAF to continue to devote resources to recording, investigating and attempting to explain UAS.

The RAAF no longer accepts reports on UAS and no longer attempts assignment of cause or allocation of reliability. Members of the community who seek to report a UAS to RAAF personnel will be referred to a civil UFO research organisation in the first instance. Known organisations are listed at Annex A to this policy.

Some UAS may relate to events that could have a defence, security, or public safety implication, such as man-made debris falling from space, a burning aircraft or an aircraft making an unauthorised incursion into Australian airspace.”

With that, the page ends. It is imaged below.


Page 5 continues with:

“Where members of the community may have witnessed an event of this type they are encouraged to contact the police, civil aviation authorities or Coastwatch.”

That ends the “SUGGESTED POLICY” section, which immediately gives way to a new section titled “POLICY IMPLEMENTATION”, which is made up of 3 sub-points, all UNCLASSIFIED. It reads:

“11.     (U) The strategy proposed for implementing this policy is based on discussions between Mr Llewellyn, DGPI and DGSS. A Press Release is not favoured by DGPI because it is seen as likely to generate unnecessary publicity. DGSS has suggested that members of the public should not be discouraged from reporting unusual aerial activities, especially in northern Australia, because of the potential value to Coastwatch. The final paragraph of the new policy incorporates this point.

12.       (U)  The proposed publicity strategy is to send a letter to known UFO research organisations, notifying them of the change to policy (draft letter attached). In addition the policy would be promulgated within the RAAF via normal channels.

13.       (U)  A longer term task will be to centralise all sighting records held by RAAF and to place them in the Australian Archives. The privacy implications of placing the records in the Archives will need to be understood before this occurs.”

“POLICY IMPLEMENTATION” finishes there and the all-important “CONCLUSION” section begins. Classified RESTRICTED, it reads:

“14.     (R)  The RAAF's commitment to UAS has declined over the past decade to the point that current policy is not”

The page ends at this point, and I have imaged it below.


Page 6 continues with:

“followed and cannot be sustained. In the past, UAS has provided evidence of human activities of interest to the RAAF X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X   Should unambiguous extra-terrestrial contact with earth occur (which may or may not be associated with UAS), however remote that possibility might be, levels of organisation well beyond the RAAF will be interested and involved. Should the RAAF be required respond, how we do so will be defined not by extant UAS policy but by instructions from Government. It follows that there is no valid reason for the RAAF to retain a formal interest in UAS.”

The very final section on this page, and for the whole main textual part of the document, is “RECOMMENDATION”, and it reads:

“15. A change to current UAS policy is recommended. You are requested to agree:

a.         to the new policy, stated above in para 10, and

b.         to the proposal for publicising the change outlined in para 12.”

There is a redaction for the signatures of Wing Commander Brett Biddington and an Air Commodore S. T. James, DGPP-AF. I am fairly sure that DGPP-AFv  was the abbreviation for the old Director General of Plans and Policy, for Air Force. The document was signed by WGCDR Biddington on the 15th of October, 1993 and by AIRCDRE James the 19th of October, 1993. The page is imaged below.


Page 7 is administrative form for further clearing signatures, and a list of annexes, including “List of known UFO Research Organisations” and a “Draft letter to UFO Research Organisations”. I have imaged it below.


Now that I have presented the final copy of the massive policy change material that the Chief of Air Staff saw and approved, it is worth having a look at the differences between WGCDR Brett Biddington’s draft and the final product. The draft, which can be examined in my Part 1 of this series, is shorter in regards to page numbers. This is because the line spacing and text is more tightly packed. Also, the final product for the Chief of Air Staff came with a front cover. The level of detail that Biddington goes to in the two products is somewhat different, also. Most importantly for us is the text that discusses RAAF interest in Unusual Aerial Sightings, especially around what I believe to be discussion on re-entered space debris and new (at the time) long-range aerospace surveillance.

For example, in relation to an “extra-terrestrial threat” to Australia, the draft version states on Page 2:

“I think that an extra-terrestrial threat to Australian security is not likely to develop without some foreknowledge from astronomical and other surveillance systems.  X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X The means by which such searches might be conducted are numerous and will vary with particular circumstances.”

Compare that to the same topic in the final version, on Page 6:

“Should unambiguous extra-terrestrial contact with earth occur (which may or may not be associated with UAS), however remote that possibility might be, levels of organisation well beyond the RAAF will be interested and involved. Should the RAAF be required respond, how we do so will be defined not by extant UAS policy but by instructions from Government. It follows that there is no valid reason for the RAAF to retain a formal interest in UAS.”

In the draft version the redacted text is, I believe, most likely discussing long-range radar systems (and possibly other aerospace monitoring technologies) that were being evaluated or in initial stages of operation back in the early 1990’s. In the final version, the “extra-terrestrial threat” isn’t mentioned until Page 6. Also in the final version, there is an extra segment in the “RAAF Interest” sub-section which is worth an extra look and comprises lightly of material in the draft, as well as new discussion:

 “The enormous improvements in surveillance technologies in the past 20 years make it possible to predict when large items of space junk are likely to fall to earth and where they are likely to fall; this occurred with SKYLAB in 1983. Civil and military aviation communications in Australia are highly developed and initial indications that an aircraft is in difficulty are increasingly likely to come from within the system and not be dependent on external observation of flaming wreckage and falling debris. Witness observations of such events remain important but not from the UAS perspective.”

Another difference between the two versions of this policy change material, although small, is the reference to the vanishing of pilot Frederick Valentich and logistical concerns. Paragraph 5, Page 2, of the draft version reads:

“At a more mundane level, the UAS mechanism has provided information about missing and crashed aircraft. The disappearance of the pilot Valentich into Bass Straight (flying a Cessna) is a case in point.”

Paragraph 8, Page 3, of the final version reads:

“At a more mundane level, the UAS mechanism has provided information about missing and crashed aircraft.”

I can’t see any meaning to this variance in content. The audience (the Chief of Air Staff), one presumes, expects rapid-fire information with minimum distractions. However, it will be of mild interest to those who have studied the Valentich disappearance. Speaking of the Chief of Air, an additional sentence found in the final version, which may have been tailored especially for him, can be found on Page 2 within the “Community Interest” sub-section:

“Neither accusation has caused the RAAF serious embarrassment or concern.”

Another difference between draft and final versions, which could be easily missed, is within the mention of probable downed space junk. The draft says:

“The most recent example known to me occurred in the late 1970s/early 80s when a RAAF SQDLDR was dispatched at short notice to central Queensland..”

The final version says:

“The most recent example is thought to have occurred in the late 1970s/early 80s when a RAAF SQDLDR was dispatched at short notice to central Queensland”

See that? The passage of text “…example known to me occurred…” and “example is thought to have occurred” is subtly dissimilar. What meaning this has, keeping in mind the audience who was to review this material, is unknown to me. There are many other variances between WGCDR Brett Biddington’s draft policy review and the final product. Significant work would go into detail every single one. Even then, so little meaning can be attributed to many of them that attempting to do so scarcely seems worth the effort some twenty-two years later. In my next, and final, part of this series, I will discuss some of the other pages in the 42 page PDF that makes up this significant release by our Department of Defence. 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

UFO Cases Galore:  Thirty-Three New Australian Newspapers Digitised


Recently, a very impressive quantity – a total of 33 in fact – of digitally scanned newspapers have been added to the National Library of Australia’s (NLA) “Trove” archive. Like most other newspapers of old, these new editions are contain articles, editorials and opinion pieces about UFO’s and other unusual aerial phenomenon, Including material that appears to be new to us. Some of these newspapers date back to 1910. For those of you who don’t know, “Trove” is an online library “database aggregator” and “free faceted-search engine”. It successfully brings together content from libraries, newspapers, museums and other research organisations and helps users explore them. For us, Trove’s digitised newspaper section is what is most valuable. The NLA states:

“The digitised newspaper zone is the most heavily-used part of Trove, and no wonder – more than 100 million newspaper articles, documenting more than 150 years of Australian history. And it’s growing all the time. All digitised, all free, all for you.”

Searching Trove, and presenting some of the material, even if it is just a small fraction, has become a recent habit of mine. Again, I present some new material using 40 different keywords, or combinations of keywords, that I used tonight to discover some novel hitherto unseen newspaper articles.

The first one that jumped out at me was a 1954 article, Monday the 18th of January, titled “TO BE BELIEVED, PEOPLE MUST DEFINE SAUCER’S NOISE”. The newspaper this appeared in “The Evening Advocate” based in Innisfail, Queensland. The article reads:

“MELBOURNE. – If you see a “flying saucer” you’ll have to describe some sort of accompanying noise if you want your claim to be taken seriously by aeronautical scientists. Superintendent of the Commonwealth Aeronautical Research Laboratories L. P.. Coombes said that a flying object would emit some noise.

A flying saucer would have to have some sort of engine, either internal, combustion, jet or turbine, and any of these would make considerable sound. But what if the engines were turned off and the plane was gliding? There would still be noise, said Mr. Coombes.

No matter how aerodynamically perfect the plane was, its passage through the air would set up eddies which would emit sound waves. And what sort of sound would a gliding flying-saucer make? Mr. Coombes said he didn’t know. On the other hand, Department of Civil Aviation Superintendent of Air Traffic Control in Melbourne R. M, Seymour asked all people who had seen unidentified aerial objects to tell the department.”

This is a very early example of some form of official involvement, even if fleeting, from the Australian scientific community. Lawrence P. Coombes was Chief Superintendent of the Australian Aeronautical Research Laboratories (ARL) from 1938 until 1964. The ARL was, originally, under the umbrella of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. In 1949 the ARL was transferred to the Research and Development Branch of the Department of Supply (DOS), becoming one of the Defence Science Laboratories. Some of you may know that the DOS was involved with the UFO matter in Australia. I wonder if some of that involvement started with Chief Superintendent Lawrence P. Coombes? The article itself is imaged below.          
                                  

The second article worth a good look is also from the “The Evening Advocate”. The date was Friday, 26 September, 1952 and Page 7 was where it was to be found. The heading is “Flying Saucer in Proximity to Cairns?”. It reads:

“CAIRNS — Was a flying saucer near the north on Tuesday night? This question has arisen as a result of a sight seen eastwards offshore on Tuesday night by people residing along the Esplanade in Cairns. The period of their observation extended from 10 p.m. to midnight, when the mysterious apparition suddenly disappeared. Those who saw the phenomenon report that it was similar to a huge star, surrounded by a great mist, with the star brighter by far than any others to be seen in the sky at the same time. This brilliance changed in intensity from time to time. Extending from the central light was a fan-like object on the left hand side, whilst there were two long shafts on the left. Periodically, one of these would alter its length and degree of its illumination. Throughout the period of its sighting from 10 pm to midnight, the apparition moved slowly and steadily northwards. It was seen by people whose standing and sobriety are beyond question. All descriptions of its appearance were more or less similar except for minor details.

The article breaks with the sub-heading “ANOTHER ONE” and continues:  

“Recent world-wide reports of the presence of flying-saucers established amongst those who saw the sight the general belief that it was another such visitation. These accounts of the mystery light are given by two eye-witnesses: They come from Mrs, M. Southwell, a Sydney resident who has been visiting Cairns for some weeks as a result of ill health, and Miss Marcelli Southwell her daughter who has been accompanying her mother. Both have been guests at the Strand Hotel, from the verandah of which they sighted and observed the mystery light. Another guest whose name IS not known was with Miss Southwell for part of the time when the light was being watched whilst the interest of others was also aroused.”

The article breaks with the sub-heading “NIGHT PORTER SAW IT” and continues:  

“Mr. Bob Peach, night porter at the Strand Hotel, who was on duty at the time, is also reported to have observed and studied the height.  “It was about 10 pm. when it happened, to look up at the sky” said attractive blonde Miss Southwell, “and there I saw what appeared to be a huge star lying directly eastwards of the hotel verandah, on which I was standing. “It was immensely btight — too bright, in fact, to be a star. Round, fish-like fins were shooting from one side, and from the other, two shafts were projecting, one of which would go out and then come in, for all the world as though it were signalling. I drew the attention of another guest at the hotel and asked if he would make the same observations as I did.”

Again the article breaks with a sub-heading “CONFIRMATION”, then carries on:

“I described what i could see to him and he confirmed that he could see a similar sight. Then whilst we were standing watching the light, a huge white mist appeared. This seemed to come at intervals and obscure the brilliance of the star, which you would not see for about three minutes.

Again a break with “SEEN FOR OVER TWO MINUTES” and on with:

“Then the light would emerge again and disappear once more. Next, the light would remain for five or ten minutes before the mist came again. The light appeared to disappear at intervals of three or five minutes. This went on from 10pm until after midnight, when the light passed from sight, and I went to bed. Meanwhile the light was moving slowly. It seemed that it was going northwards. A feature of the occurrence that aroused my interest was that the light was so bright that you could not look at it continuously. It was so bright and had such a strong influence on the eyes that you had to turn away. This caused me to conclude that it was not a star.”

This article continues on in the same fashion for another column. It can be found using the above information for anyone who wishes to read the whole thing. 

This next article really stood out to me, and was printed 26th of May, 1950 in, once again, “The Evening Advocate”. Page 1 carried the headline “Was strange object in the sky near Sydney a “Flying Saucer””. It’s not a case that’s new to us, but, this particular article is.

“SYDNEY. — A strange object in the sky was seen by the crew of a DC3 air freighter about 30 miles from Sydney last night. Captain Gordon Savage, and the First Officer, Frank Hastilow, both of Melbourne, said it could have been “a flying saucer”. The plane was flying at 6000 feet and Captain Savage said the strange light was seen about 2000 feet below the aircraft. Thinking the light could have been the navigation light of a plane, we contacted Mascot aerodrome, but were assured there were no planes in the vicinity.”

With the sub-heading “ONLY PINPRICKS” it goes on with:

“There was a remote possibility it could have been a ship, so we flew out to sea, and sighted some vessels, but their lights were only pinpricks compared with the light of the object. If it had been a star it would have stayed in a fixed position on the windscreen when we changed our altitude, but as we climbed it rose too.”

The sub-heading “VANISH IN MIST” leads into:

“When we attempted to approach it, it seemed to vanish in a protective mist, so that it appeared as a dull white glow. At this time there was no natural mist or fog about.”

Final sub-heading “IN FULL VIEW” begins the last part of the article:

When we switched our navigation lights on it came into full view. It was a definite object. I am certain of this, although I could not distinguish its shape.”

Below is an image:

Now, Finally a new newspaper. “The Daily Mail”, in Brisbane, ran a 12th March 1921 story on Page 8 titled “MYSTERIOUS LIGHT OCCURRENCE OF 1902”. Legibility is an issue with this one, but the first, and most important, half reads:

“The time of happening was, I think, in 1902, about 3.45 o’clock in the afternoon of a summer’s day. There was not a cloud in the sky. At the time I was in charge of the school on the Queensland side at Mungindi, on the NSW border.   was seen to pass across the heavens from north-east to south-west, accompanied by a rumbling noise like thunder. Quite a number of persons saw it, and the noise was heard over a distance of several hundred miles, as reports afterwards proved. Mr. A. Leslie, the then postmaster at Mungindi on the NSW side, was out with his buggv and pair of ponies line inspecting. The meteor pasted almost overhead, and his ponies stopped dead, and then bolted for several (illegible)

The article continues on describing the event more as a meteor than anything else. Below is an image.


In the good old “The Evening Advocate”, a Page 5, Tuesday, 13th of June, 1950 article had the headline “Flying Saucer Report In SA”. It reads:

“ADELAIDE — Two Bordertown men said that they had seen an object in the sky that might have been a flying saucer. Mr. J. C. Tippett and Mr. P. Grainger, painting contractors, said that, while they were working on Taunton Station, at Wirrega, they saw a round object which appeared to be many miles up in the sky going at high speed towards the north-east. The object, they said, was shaped like a tadpole and had a glowing tail similar to a jet aircraft.

The article is imaged to the right

“The Evening Advocate” ran a long 12th of February, 1954 piece on Page 7 titled “MAN WITH FLYING SAUCERS VERY MUCH ON HIS MIND”.

“SYDNEY. — Flying saucers have been keeping a Sydney man awake until midnight in recent months. He is the president of the Australian Flying Saucer Bureau, Mr. Edgar Jarrold of Fairfield. From about 8 o’clock until nearly midnight every night Mr. Jarrold answers his flying saucer correspondence from believers and sceptics at home and abroad. He has had 1,300 reports of saucers and many encouraging letters in the last two and a half years. “Of course, I find the Interest in saucers very gratifying, but its hard work,” he said. “I put the kids to bed as soon as I can after dinner and then I settle down for a night’s work. “My typewriter is a bit faulty at the moment and that doesn’t help things.”

A sub-heading “IS CONCERNED” appears, and the article continues:

“Mr. Jarrold is a spare, soft spoken, worried-looking man in his middle thirties. He is convinced that his flying saucer investigation is front-line research work. As with all true investigators he keeps an open mind, and he is unwilling to dismiss any theory unless it affronts his commonsense. He became interested in flying saucers one night in May, 1951. “I saw something very unusual in the night sky,” he said.

A sub-heading greets us reading, “TWO OF THEM”, then the article goes on:

“There were two of them — flying saucers I mean. They appeared as fast-moving yellow lights. One followed’ the other. I rang the papers about it and found that many other people had seen saucers about the same time. Well, I’m not a reader of science fiction or anything like that. But I saw that this flying saucer business was something to be watched. I formed the Flying Saucer Bureau with myself as president. I got in touch with organisations in other States and overseas. I felt I should make myself as well read as possible on the subject.”

Another sub-heading reading “MUCH ACTIVITY” leads into the second last section of the article:

“I found that some of the organisations In America were particularly active. They were very good to me. They sent me copies of their publications. I wanted the bureau to be a clearing station for information on flying saucers. Anyone can be a member, although I’d sooner not say just at the moment how many members we have.”

A final sub-heading reads “WATCHERS” then the article finishes with:

“I’m trying to organise a group with one official observer watching for saucers in every town in the Commonwealth. I have a few good observers already. I’m the official one for Sydney.”

I have, as usual, imaged this impressive piece.



Mystery In ‘Hail’ Fall” was the heading on Page 17, the “Brisbane Telegraph” on the 27th September, 1949. It states:

“SYDNEY: Residents of Point Street. Pyrmont, were mystified today when they looked outside and saw what appeared to be hail falling, although the sky was clear. They found a jelly substance, each piece the size of a pea dropping on the rooftops, foot path and roadway and setting like glue. The mystery is also baffling the Weather Bureau. A spokesman said “The only explanation I can give is that the sub stance must have fallen from a plane”. But no aircraft was seen near the area.

Again, I image the article to the right.


Another discovery possibly worth a look, is from the “Johnstone River Advocate and Innisfail News”, Queensland, Friday 25 November 1938, Page 2. The heading is “UNUSUAL SIGHT” with a caption below reading “Movement in the Sky”. The article says: 

Not only people who were out of doors, but many who were awakened from their sleep, saw or heard, an unusual phenomenon on Wednesday night, several dull booms, which shook the earth, following on the brilliant illumination of the sky by what is believed to be a meteor. At about 11:15 the sky and earth was lighted by the unusual action, and from three to five minutes later there was the noise of the concussion and then the earth trembled. Prior to this the rain clouds had cleared away and overhead stars dotted the darkness, making a perfect vision. Soon after 11:15 many people witnessed a happening which has the Far North, talking. One eye witness said that he saw a flash of light, the movements of which could be likened to the mythical sea serpent. There seemed to be a fish like head, above which was a bright object that could be likened to a star. The body tapered off in snake like fashion, and appeared to move along as one would imagine a serpent would wend its way through the water. Then the tail opened fan like, throwing out the bright light. The party in question was near to home at the time, but it was not until he was indoors that the noise took place. The building shook as a result. That is must have taken three minutes from the flare to the concussion could be gauged from the fact that a certain distance had been walked. Others also average the time from two to four minutes. Reports from all over the district are to the effect that the houses rocked, the degree varying from a slight quiver, to a violent movement. There were two explosions, a loud one being followed by a lesser one in quick succession. Several people stated that the direction of the movement in the air seemed to follow was towards the hinterland, and this is borne out by reports from the Evelyn Tableland that the light was very brilliant and the explosion was most marked. Herberton people believe that south of Innisfail, or thereabouts, was the point it passed off the coast. That the meteor, if it was one, struck earth a good way from Innisfail is evident. Even if only a few minutes elapsed from the time it was seen to the concussion, sound travels a long way in a second.”

So there you have it. These are but a few of the new articles that Trove has to offer. Dozens more stood out, but time and space permits only a sampling. Till next time.