Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Balwyn Polaroid photograph and visual sighting - Jim Kibel comments

Hi all,

I hope by now that you will have had an opportunity to read both the stage one,and the stage two reports, on the 2 April 1966 Balwyn, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia visual sighting with associated polaroid picture.

In today's post, the individual who reported seeing the object, and taking the photograph, Jim Kibel, comments on the contents of the second stage report. I wish to thank Jim for taking the time to provide his comments. I will quote a portion of the report, and then Jim's comment.

From the report:

'The purpose of our stage one report was to bring together as much of the primary and secondary source, material as we have been able to gather, on the visual sighting and photograph of 2 April 1966.

This stage two report aims to provide as much detail as the authors have been able to obtain, after the passage of 50 years, about the analyses which were conducted on the Polaroid photograph, and other related matters.

The reader will then be in a better position to decide whether or not, this visual and photographic report fits into the UFO phenomenon.'

Jim's comment is:

'Perhaps they will but most people are sceptical because they do not want to believe it's true anyway. I gave up arguing about it  some 40 years ago.'

From the report:

'1. Aerial Phenomena Research organization (APRO).

1.1  Recent references:

More recent references to this analysis are found in:

a.  'The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters' by Ronald Story (Robinson Publishing. 2002.) The relevant extract reads:

'However, when the photograph was examined by Aerial Phenomena Research Organization consultant Dr B. Roy Frieden, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, he found that the chimney in the lower part of the photo was more blurred than the alleged UFO which prompted him to examine the photo more closely. He then found a jagged line of discontinuity running across the center of the photo, through a cloud field, which suggested that there are actually two separate photos joined together and re-photographed to make the one.'''
Jim's comment is:
'That is absolute nonsense as it was clearly shown to those that inspected it that it was  one photo and had not been pieced together. The line was due to it being an old film and the state of the emulsion caused that.
In the distant past they often have said anything to discredit it. The Colorado Project , NASA and the US Airforce tested it and found it was more likely to be genuine than anything else. I don't know of any private organizations that examined it. No doubt they did but I was not advised.'
From the report:
'b.  Bill Chalker's Ozfiles blog, dated 19 January 2009 states, in part:

'The US organization APRO had their photo consultant examine the photo. Dr B. R. Frieden, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, reported finding a jagged line of discontinuity running across the center of the photo, through the cloud field, which suggests that there were actually 2 separate photos joined together and re-photographed to make the one. APRO therefore regarded the photo as a possible hoax.' '
Jim's comment is:
'It was not two separate photographs fitted together. See above.'
From the report:
'1.2  Earlier references in APRO material:

Looking further back in time, the authors consulted copies of the 'APRO Bulletin' and books written by the Lorenzens. Neither of the two issues of the 1966 'APRO Bulletin' which covered the case, mentioned an APRO analysis.

In addition, a search of books authored by the Lorenzens, APRO's leadership, found only one reference to the Balwyn photograph. This was in Lorenzen, C.E. 1966. 'Flying Saucers: The Startling Evidence of an Invasion from Outer Space.' Signet. New York. Plate 7 and pages 251- 252. A black and white image of the full Polaroid picture is reproduced as plate 7. The accompanying text reads:
'Photograph of a typical bell-shaped Unidentified Flying Object taken on April 2, 1966 in Melbourne, Australia by an Australian engineer who asked that his name not be used. The photo was turned over to Peter Norris, president of the Commonwealth Aerial Phenomena Investigation Organization. The object is seen hovering over a house whose pink roof its lower edge apparently reflects. (This was seen more clearly in the color version of the photograph.) The object is apparently made of highly polished metal and is similar (or identical) to objects seen all over the world.' '
Jim's comment is:
From the report:
'Pages 251-252 read:

'On April 2, 1966 a well-known Melbourne businessman (who refuses to be identified but is known to APRO's representative there, Attorney Peter Norris), snapped a photo of a bell-shaped object which was suspended on edge over Balwyn, a Melbourne suburb (see plate 7). Using a Polaroid camera, he got a clear color photograph of the polished metallic object, which was reflecting the pink roof of a building below. All the Melbourne papers included the story because of the qualifications of the observers.' '
Jim's comment is:
'Yes. Close enough.'
From the report:
'1.3 APRO consultant:

A 2016 search of the Internet located the following 2012 "thread" about Balwyn, and a Doctor Roy B. Frieden. It was on the 'Above Top Secret' website.

"Elevenaugust 5/5/2012
Reports that APRO consultant Dr B Roy Frieden, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona 'Jagged line of discontinuity across the centre of the photo, through the cloud field, which suggests there are actually two separate photos joined together and re-photographed to make one.' '
Jim's comment is:
'Ah the faulty old emulsion again. Nothing was joined together. It was never rephotographed. Negatives of the original were made for the purposes of making copies.'
From the report:
'Gortex 5/5/2012
'VFSRS issued a report on the photo which indicated that the Polaroid photograph and the enlarged copy showed no evidence of a multiple exposure, montage or other form of tampering. The US organization, APRO, had their photo consultant examine the photo. Dr B R Frieden, Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, reported finding "a jagged line of discontinuity, through the cloud field, which suggests that there are actually 2 separate photos joined together and re-photographed to make the one." APRO therefore regards the photo as a possible hoax. The photo also apparently "failed" the GSW (Ground Saucer Watch) computer enhancement technique.' '
Jim's comment is:
'Blah. Blah. Blah.'
From the report:
'1.4 1971 APRO Symposium:

The authors wished to locate the earliest mention of Dr Frieden and his views on the Balwyn photograph. APRO held a UFO symposium at the University of Arizona on 22 and 23 November 1971. The November-December 1971 issue of the APRO Bulletin provides a report on the symposium. On page 4 is the following.

'Dr Frieden a professor at the University of Arizona's new Optical Sciences Center reviewed the better UFO photographs in APRO files and offered possible explanations for some of them. He divided UFO photo types into three basic categories: McMinville, Trindade and Balwyn, the latter being the rarest.
In his studies of possible explanations involving hoaxes he searched for double-exposures (accidental or deliberate), montages and models. The data studied involved: "Position and density of shadows;" "blur uniformity;" "contrast lost consistent with distance;" "double exposure clues;" and "geometrical distortion of UFOs."
As a result of Dr Frieden's analyzing, several UFO photo cases in APRO files have either been proven to be clever fakes or serious doubt has been cast on their authenticity…strong doubt was cast on the Balwyn photo when Dr Frieden pointed out that a blurring effect on the chimney was not apparent on the object. Furthermore, various straight and unnatural looking lines through the clouds were found, indicating a possible montage…' '
Jim's comment is:
'The same old nonsense. You would think they would come up with something new.'
From the report, about the VFSRS analysis report:
'4.3.1.  In a Facebook post, dated 3 April 2016, Victorian researcher George Simpson, in speaking of ex-Kodak employee named Bob Laidlaw, said that he had heard directly from Bob about the Kodak analysis. In part the post stated:

'The photo was a chemical original with no emulsion issues or aberrations. They were convinced, after inspecting the photo using a microscope that the picture was genuine.' '
Jim's comment is:
'Via a government representative Kodak told me the same thing.'
From the report about whether or not there was a written Kodak report?
'b.  Was there ever a "Kodak" report?

Did Jim Kibel have a copy of the Kodak report? Part of a 9 May 1966 letter from Kibel to Mrs June Larson of Washington State in the USA states:'

Jim's comment is:

'No I was told.'

From the same section of the report:

''I have a report from Kodak Limited regarding the analysis of the UFO photograph…The colour material should be ready within the next day or so and I will forward you enlargements and negatives for submission to NICAP.'

So, the question remains. Was there ever a report by Kodak, or personnel employed by Kodak, separate to the article in the December 1966 AFSRS (Vic edition) magazine? The authors have not been able to locate such a report, if indeed, one was prepared in 1966.'

Jim's comment is:

'I did not see one in writing.'
From the report:
'5.  Summary of the four analyses:

5.1  VFSRS - an Australian UFO group

'The polaroid photograph and its enlarged copies show no sign of multiple exposure, montage or any other tampering.'
5.2.  GSW - a US UFO research group

'The photograph is a montage - a photographic superimposition of the "saucer" on a background.' '
Jim's comment is:
From the report:
'5.3  APRO - a large US UFO research group

'…there were two superimposed photographs, one containing the object and another the rooftop.' '
Jim's comment is:
Even more crazy. There was only one photo.'

From the report:

'He was first asked if he was an APRO consultant in 1966? He said he was. He was then asked if he had examined the Kibel photograph? He responded that he didn't recall it by that name but offered his opinion on the photo forwarded to him. He was unable to say whether or not this photo was the one he had commented on about a jagged line of discontinuity. However, he did confirm that about 50 years ago he had commented on some photo about finding a jagged line of discontinuity. So, now to his thoughts as to the Kibel photograph we sent him.'

Jim's comment is:

'They sent it?'

From the report:

'1.  All the points on the rooftop are vertically blurred, but that the object in the picture’s points are less blurred and equal in all directions. This to him violates a basic property of optics, namely, the point spread function.
2.  This leads him to conclude that there were two superimposed photographs, one containing the object and another the rooftop.'

Jim's comment is:


From the report:

'He added that he recalled commenting on some photograph he saw about 50 years ago, where there was an apparent jagged line of discontinuity between upper and lower clouds.

Frieden advised that he had undertaking the task of examining this 50-year-old photograph at the request of his friend Richard Greenwell, who recently passed away.

Copies of the APRO Bulletin, were again reviewed and it was found that Dr Frieden was not listed in the 1967 or 1968 issues as an APRO consultant. However, he was listed as such, in the May 1969 issue and following issues, as a consultant in optics.

1.6.  In summary:

‘… strong doubt was cast on the Balwyn photo when Dr Frieden pointed out that a blurring effect on the chimney was not apparent on the object. Furthermore, various straight and unnatural looking lines through the clouds were found, indicating a possible montage…’ '
Jim's comment is:
'How unusual. The original is not a montage.'
From the report:

2. Ground Saucer Watch (USA).

'2.1. The 19 January 2009 post on Australian researcher Bill Chalker’s Ozfiles blog, in part reads:
‘The photo also apparently “failed” the GSW (Ground Saucer Watch) computer enhancement technique. Although aware of these results, Brown (pseudonym given to Kibel in 1966 - authors) still maintains the photo is a genuine one. Given what I have learnt with regard to the circumstances of the photo incident, how it was witnessed, that it was a polaroid photo, and that the GSW analysis technique had been criticized as sometimes being unreliable itself through questionable application and poor methodology, there is considerable evidence that the Balwyn photo may indeed be legitimate.’ '
Jim's comment is:
'The technique is always in doubt. But after 50 years who cares.'
From the report:
'2.2.  When one of the authors (KB) was discussing Bill Chalker’s text of his 2009 blog post with him, Bill mentioned that his source for his statement, about GSW, was former US researcher Allan Hendry.'
Jim's comment is:
'I guess Australia has to have its connections.'
From the report:
'A check of Hendry, A. 1979, ‘The UFO Handbook.’ Doubleday. New York, pages 206-209 found a reference GSW and their photographic analysis work.

‘In 1974 Fred Adrian and William Spaulding of a UFO organization called Ground Saucer Watch, Inc., tried applying a computer-linked TV monitoring system to significantly increase the sophistication of UFO photo analysis…GSW states that the system does its best job spotting fakes quickly, indeed after examining over 600 hundred UFO photos, only thirty or 5 per cent of them remained as bona fide…’
Page 208 features a number of photographs after the heading ‘these photos passed GSW’s test:’ On page 209 there are a number of photographs after the heading ‘But a great many more failed.’ One of these “failed” photographs is the Balwyn image, with the caption ‘Melbourne, Australia 1966.’'
Jim's comment is:
'I guess it had to as it is a good one.'
From the report:
'2.3.  Looking to go further back in time, via US researcher Barry Greenwood, the authors received a digital copy of the ‘GSW Summer News Bulletin’ dated August 1976. In this Bulletin, there is an article by William Spaulding titled ‘August Summer News Bulletin Results of Computer Photo Analysis.’ In part it reads:

‘Since last August, GSW has been actively evaluating hundreds of UFO photographs to determine the exact origin of the image on the film…For years the print media and UFO organizations have published numerous photographs, stating (or implying) that these pictures represent genuine unidentified flying objects. The following list of photographs represent both crude and grandiose hoaxes and photographic anomalies and should not be considered evidence of UFO existence.
1. Rex Heflin/Santa Ana, CA 1965
2. Melbourne, Australia 1966…’ '
Jim's comment is:
'Many years ago I met Rex Heflin in Los Angeles at a private meeting in a friends Beverley Hills house. This was most interesting as the Disney brothers were there (Walt and Roy) also the film star James Stuart who had been a US Air Force General. Roy was the money man in the business and Walt the PR man. They said the Heflin pictures were genuine. Rex was quite insistent they were and after talking with him I am sure he was telling the truth. Roy told me that his company had made many training films in their high security division for the US government on the subject of UFOs. As for claiming my photograph is a fraud. It matters very little to me what they think.'
From the report:
'In summary, the GSW analysis was conducted between August 1975 and August 1976, and if their “Melbourne, Australia 1966” photograph is the 2 April 1966 Balwyn photograph, then GSW believe it does not show a genuine UFO.'
Jim's comment is:
'Bully for him.'
From the report:
'2.4.  The authors asked members of their networks, if anyone had any more original material authored by GSW about the Balwyn photograph. Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos of Spain responded that he was in possession of GSW material and supplied the authors with a copy of a scanned article from 1977. The article is Hewes, H C & Spaulding, W. ‘How to Evaluate Flying Saucer Photography.’ ARGOSY Magazine Special Annual Edition 1977, pages 27-29.
Part of the text of this article reads:

‘Let us examine two typical UFO hoax photos.
Our first case is a photograph of a daylight disc, reportedly taken in Melbourne, Australia, on April 2, 1966. Details concerning the circumstances under which it was taken and the background of the photographer are sketchy; the photographer is identified only as a business executive, and the location is given as the Balwyn section of Melbourne.
This photograph seen here as illustration G, is a hoax. Look especially at the edge enhancement mode, our illustration H. Not only are the edges fuzzy, or even missing 11 o’clock position, but what is even more apparent, is that almost a third of the object has no density at all. One of the authors showed these enhancements to a colleague, another long-time UFO researcher, and he said the pictures reminded him of the new maps of Greenland, with about a third of the “traditional” island revealed not to be solid land at all.'
Jim's comment is:
From the report:
'The photograph is a montage – a photographic superimposition of the “saucer” on a background. Illustration I, the color contouring output, shows the “reflected sunlight” portion of the “object”” to have essentially no density (that is, no density of the background), and it shows a wide and irregular difference in the density values of the right and left sides of the object. Contrast this with the very high degree of density consistency in illustration C, the Mayher object, and illustration F.’ '
Jim's comment is:
'What utter nonsense.'
From the report:
'2.5  Notes of caution:

a.  It should be noted that GSW’s computer techniques have been questioned by some researchers in the past. One test conducted on GSW was the submission of two photographs of the same object taken one after the other. GSW’s opinion was that one of these was a genuine UFO and the other was a hoax.'

Jim's comment is:

'The computer method used by GSW is probably designed to discredit photos.'

From the report:

'b.  It should also be noted that this analysis did not include examining the original Polaroid photograph.'

Jim's comment is:

'They don't have to. They just say it's a fake.'

From the report:

'c.  While the above article has been very helpful, GSW’s actual report on the Balwyn photograph, however, is yet to surface.'

Jim's comment is:

'One day maybe.'

From the report:

'3.  NICAP.

3.1  How did NICAP become involved?

Part of a 9 May 1966 letter from Kibel to a Mrs June Larson of Washington State in the USA states:
‘I have a report from Kodak Limited regarding the analysis of the UFO photograph…The colour material should be ready within the next day or so and I will forward you enlargements and negatives for submission to NICAP.’
It is reasonable therefore to presume that Kibel himself sent his material to June Larsen who then sent it to NICAP headquarters.'

Jim's comment is:

'No I didn't would think that Peter Norris may have.'

From the report:

'3.2  NICAP photographic analyst:

A letter dated 21 Sep 1966 from Ralph Rankow, a NICAP photographic consultant, (to whom is unknown) is amongst the NICAP material kindly sent to us by US researcher Barry Greenwood. Rankow’s letterhead includes the words “Photographic illustrations.” In part it states:

‘I am enclosing two prints of the bell (mushroom) UFO as you requested, also the negatives which were loaned to us. There were several duplicates of these negatives, so I am holding on to two of them in case we ever need more prints.’
In a letter from Rankow to Richard Hall of NICAP dated 28 September 1966, Rankow refers to two earlier letters to Hall dated 25 May and 6 July (not on Greenwood’s file). Part reads:

‘In any event, there is nothing definite that I can establish from the picture, except that “something” in the air was photographed…. I can’t prove that it was a real UFO, and I can’t prove it was a hoax…A NICAP member who said he knew June Larson, phoned me to ask if it was a hoax…and told him that I could make no definite conclusion upon the facts which I had…he said that June Larson wrote to him and said that this is what Coral Lorenzen had told her.’'
Jim's comment is:
'I know Peter Norris was in contact with Coral Lorenzen so that's probably  where it came from.'
From the report:
'Rankow eventually tracked the source of the hoax story down to a well-known journalist and UFO author, John Keel.'
Jim's comment is:
'I certainly did not know him or contact him although I did like his book about Moth man!'
From the report:
'3.3  One of the authors (KB) of this paper, looked through issues of the NICAP ‘UFO Investigator’ and failed to find any article about the Balwyn photograph.
3.4  In summary:

NICAP’s photographic analyst stated:

‘I can’t prove that it was a real UFO, and I can’t prove it was a hoax…’ '
Jim's comment is:
'There you go.'
From the report on the section about a 1954 sighting:
'1954 August (?) 1700hrs 1 Palm Grove, Balwyn, Melbourne

Jim Kibel was about 15 at the time, and living at home with his parents. One day his mother called out to him and told him she had seen a disk shaped object in the eastern sky. It appeared to be flipping over from side to side. It had a bright white/silver side, and a dull grey/black side. These two sides alternated. It disappeared behind tall trees in the garden. The point of observation was the eastern side of the house. It was late afternoon about 5pm, late in winter, possibly August. His mother contacted a newspaper but they asked her what she had been drinking and didn't take the report seriously at all. Its angular size was estimated as half that of a 10 cent coin at arm's length. It was thin, as it turned from side to side, it disappeared from view. Jim Kible only saw it briefly. They didn't ask the neighbours if they had seen it.'

Jim's comment is:

'That's correct and my mother was very angry about the very negative attitude of the Argus Newspaper. They asked her if she was drunk!'

From the report about Brian Kibel's sighting in the Blue Mountains:

Jim's comment is:

'Yes I remember the sighting involving my brother Brian who is now 83. He lived in Sydney for a while and has lived in Melbourne for the past 40 years.'

From the report about the 1958 sighting.

Jim's comment is:

'I went inside to get my 8MM movie camera. The really interesting thing was that when I came out into the garden with the camera I could not see the object. Jill who is now my wife (of 55 years) and my mother were both looking up with odd expressions on their faces. As I could not see it I asked them to take the film. They both said "No." I was surprised and put the camera down. As soon as I did I could see the object which must have been very large as it started to descend in a falling leaf motion and I thought it would crash. But no it disappeared behind the distant mountains. That convinced me it was very large. Jill and my mother  (deceased 1969) both claimed they did not tell me 'no' nor did they remember me asking. To this day my wife has no recollection of making such a comment.'

From the report and a discussion about the address from which the photograph was taken:

'Was it 22 Austin Street, Balwyn?'

Jim' comment is:

'No 1 to 3 Palm Grove Deepdene 3103. Then E8. Deepdene is a section of Balwyn which is also 3103 and was E8. The garden I referred to was Deepdene. '

Additional comment from Jim re 22 Austin Street, Balwyn:

'That was our house at that time. I later sold the Austin House and bought number 5 Palm Grove Deepdene.'

'The Austin street address was a very nice brick house and had nothing to do with the family business or any other business as it was my family residence only. The actual business was situated in Brunswick. I sold the house and moved to 5 Palm grove as that was beside the old family residence situated at 1 to 3 Palm Grove.'

From the report concerning the location of Mr English:

Jim's comment is:

'He was outside when the object appeared.'

From the report:

'c.   A check of the 1966 electoral rolls indicates that there is only one other male Kibel listed in the electoral district of Kooyong, and that is a Mark Alex Kibel of 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene.'

Jim's comment is:

'My late father who died 1988.'

From the report:

'd.   A check of the electoral rolls indicates that in 1966 there were two registered voters at 1 Palm Grove, Deepdene and they were Mark Alex Kibel and Mary Turnbull J Kibel.'

Jim's comment is:

'Ma and Pa.'

Further information from Jim:

'My parents were visiting England and I was taking pictures of her flower garden so I could send them to her.'

Monday, July 25, 2016

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


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.


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.

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

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
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.


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,


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.


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.