Saturday, December 11, 2010

1964 Woomera UFO movie solved - cold case

This post explores the 5 June 1964 British Pathe Film of a UFO taken at Woomera, South Australia. This case has often been regarded as a classic and is said to have been linked to the famous English, Solway "spaceman" photograph taken on 23 May 1964. It is now solved.


Over the years I have compiled a number of specialised Australian case catalogues of UFO reports. One of these is a "Catalogue of Australian Photographic UFO reports."

I stopped compiling this particular catalogue in 2005, when digital photography, and sophisticated software packages made it very easy to produce hoax images. In addition, with the number of digital images being produced and available on the net, I just couldn't keep up with all the claimed images, even just for Australia.

One of the cases which is in the catalogue, has the following entry:

"5 June 1964 Woomera, South Australia
This photograph was taken at the launching of a Blue Streak rocket, and shows an oval blob of light near the rocket. A black and white print in the FSR source was apparently from a colour movie."

The primary source was the English Flying Saucer Review Sep/Oct 1964 page 4, which carried one black and white photograph.

By 2003, when the Disclosure Australia Project commenced, I hadn't come across any further information.

Disclosure Australia Project:

The Disclosure Australia Project took a five year time frame to locate and document the Australian Government's UFO file holdings (see

One set of possibly relevant files on which detail about the 5 June 1964 sighting may have been found, was file series 580/1/1. This was the RAAF's master set of UFO reports. Part four of this series covered the time frame January 1963 to 4 December 1965. An examination of this file revealed that there were no recorded UFO reports for the entire month of June 1964.

Over the years the Project uncovered about 150 UFO files related to UFO research, and examined the majority of these.

One discovered file was D174/SA5281 held by the Federal Government's Department of Supply. This Department was responsible for the operation of the Joint United-Kingdom -Australia Weapons Research Project which operated the Woomera rocket range. As the 5 June 1964 photo/movie involved the launch of a Blue Streak rocker from Woomera, this was a promising lead. However, file D174/SA5281 turned out only to cover the period 1952-1955.

A search was therefore conducted for other Department of Supply files, or other files related to Woomera. A second file was located, with the date range being 1952-1968, therefore covering the year 1964. It was hoped that this file, D250/56/483 might assist. It was titled "Reports on unidentified aircraft, strange occurrences etc" and was held by the Weapons Research area of the Department of Supply. Unfortunately, despite and extensive examination there was nothing on this file relating to the 5 June 1961 photo/movie.

We came across no other files which covered Woomera in 1964. However, we did locate, on the National Archives of Australia's website, a reference to a series D897, Unknown objects - DSTO WRE (A-K 1948-1957) - Australian Archives. The series notes stated that the "Series contains approximately 4800 colour and black and white slides. Controlling records for this series (D896) indicates there are some 6200 slides registered between 1947 and 1961. The whereabouts of the missing 1400 slides is not known...These are slides of Skylark launches, Jindivik trials, Blue Streak movements and some unidentified objects..." This then was another promising lead.

The Project located a register for these slides in the Adelaide office of the National Archives of Australia. Archives staff produced two bound volumes which contained dates, reference numbers and details of the photographs. A close examination of these details of hundreds of pictures, revealed none of a Blue Streak launch for 5 June 1964. However, later, Disclosure Australia Project staffer Dominic McNamara located a still photograph at the Adelaide office which paralleled the one from the FSR. (Source: Telephone conversation between Dom and Keith, 10 December 2010.)

This then, was the sum total of Disclosure Australia staff knowledge which could be added to the available information. If a sighting report of the 5 June 1964 UFO had been made, we could find no record of it.

The Solway Firth photograph:

The 5 June 1964 Woomera photo/movie has been related by some researchers to the famous 23 May 1964 English Solway Firth photograph. What was the connection?

Jim Templeton took three pictures of his daughter. The middle picture showed what looked like a "spaceman" behind his daughter's head.

"A Blue Streak launch at the Woomera test range, using Cumbrian-built weaponry, had been aborted because of two large men seen on the firing range. Technicians at the time did not know about Templeton's sighting until it appeared on the front page of an Australian newspaper,and they said that the figure in Cumbria looked the same as the ones they had seen on the monitor at Woomera. Templeton told the BBC that technicians considered the two figures to be 'exactly the same type of man: same dress,same figure, same size as in the original photograph.'" (Source: )

So, the connection is said to be, on an unknown date, people at Woomera involved in a Blue Streak rocket launch saw two figures the same as the figure in the 23 May 1964 Solway photograph. Do we have a date for the Blue Streak launch?

"Not long afterwards the editor of the Cumberland News newspaper contacted Jim and asked if he could borrow the negative to send a copy out to Australia. Apparently the photograph had appeared in the press there and staff working at the Woomera test range area in Southern Australia had seen it. Jim was told that the day after he took his photograph,a Blue Streak space rocket was due to be launched from Woomera in Australia..." (Source: )

So, the date of the aborted Blue Streak launch, according to this source was 24 May 1964, and not 5 June 1964.

Some background:

ELDO - the European Launcher Development Organisation - was established to develop a satellite launcher for Europe. Tests were based in Woomera.The cancelled British "Blue Streak" ICBM became the first stage of the launcher. The second stage was built by the french and the third stage by Germany.The first launch was on 5 June 1964, and involved the first stage only.
This is the date of the UFO photo/movie. (Source: )

A link?

Thus, there would appear to be no links between the 23 May 1964 Solway photograph and the 5 June 1964 UFO photo/movie. The 5 June 1964 photo/movie stands alone.

1996 and 2010

I was unaware that English ufologist Jenny Randles in a 1996 TV documentary "Tales of the paranormal" reported on the 5 June 1964 footage, but found the relevant film canister missing from the British National Archives. An English MP, John Fraser, saw the documentary and launched an inquiry into the incident and the missing footage.

In 2010, David Clarke, senior lecturer in Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, examined newly released files from the British Minstry of Defence, and found material related to the 5 June 1964 photo/movie. "When they actually looked at the papers back in 1964, British Pathe Film, who were actually there at the rocket launch and made the film, they wrote into the MOD and said, 'yeh there was soemthing on the film but it's quite clear to us looking at it that it's an internal camera fault, like a reflection in the lens.' The missing canister of filmed 'evidence' had been stored at the Imperial War Museum instead of the National Archived." (Source: )

Film found on the net!

That seemed to be the end of the story, but as I prepared this post,on a whim, I searched the net using the terms "british pathe blue streak 1964." This took me to the website of British Pathe Film and the very movie which is the subject of the post -the 5 June 1964 UFO movie!

The video clip on the site is titled "Woomera, Blue Streak - Two, One, Zero" and is listed as from canister 64/48. The issue date was 11 June 1964, and since the only Blue Streak launch had taken place on 5 June 1964 it must be the movie of the UFO.

Indeed, as I ran the video,( source: it clearly was. There, on the left hand side of the rocket is a classic internal lens reflection.

Case solved.


Sometimes, it takes an aweful long time to get to the actual facts behind a UFO story. In this instance, the fact that the film canister in question was missing in 1996 added an air of mystery. However, research has now lead to a copy of the original film, and the UFO in question is clearly a classic internal lens flare, and the case can therefore be removed from the "UFO" category.

P.S. For far more interesting UFO cases from Woomera, do take a look at the Disclosure Australia website at Check out the Newsletters and the two part final report.


  1. The 'connection' between Templeton's photo and a rocket launch in Australia only arose because the site in Cumbria where the pics were taken happened to be near the Spadeadam static test firing site for the Blue Streak rocket. In fact the rocket site is not that close - being some 25 miles away, but it was this that provided the loose connection with a Blue Streak launch in Australia.

    Amazing how people can connect up things that are totally unconnected. You can always find 'coincidences' if you look hard enough.

    1. Actually, it's amazing to me that you can say these are "totally unconnected" when you yourself, have no proof. I mean are you 100% certain? Cause if not and if you cannot test your theory or have scientific evidence to back this up, then you yourself are just making a claim. I have no clue as to what happened that day but I know that men of great scientific and advanced technological abilities had seen something out of the ordinary. If you weren't there at the time then I cannot accept your conclusion as "coincidence" but nice try.

    2. I also failed to mention the "fact" that 17 days after Templeton's photo was taken, on June 10th 1964 in Big Sur, California, there another "alien form" was caught on camera by the USAF. Also filming a missile (Atlas Missile). Both the Blue Streak and Atlas missiles experienced "strange phenomenon" when launched. Coincidence? I have no clue!!

    3. Since when did distance become a measurement for coincidences? I guess I'm confused on your assumption that 25 miles is a great distance? When your dealing with missiles being fringed upon, and "alien beings" spotted, I would think 25 miles is a reasonably short distance. However, I also think that the event that took place halfway around the world in California 17 days later, is a reasonably short or long distance for an event of this magnitude to take place. I also think that if it were a million miles away it would make no difference. Still a coincidence? Follow me?

  2. Ummm so yeah... nothing solved here.
    1. No one has explained Templeton's photo
    2. No one has explained the sighting of the 2 tall figures on the launch site that were said to look like the figure in Templeton's photo.

    So... try again. Thanks for playing

  3. Interesting read, well researched.

  4. Yeah, how does it explain the 2 tall spacemen type figures at launch site similar to one in Templeton ? You neither explain the spacemen in any of two different locations nor the connection. Irrelevant effort.


  5. The guys at Woomera saw two large men near the firing range, causing the the missile launch to be aborted. These experienced engineers could not identify the 'men' they said looked like the figure in Templeton's photo. The matter remains unresolved.

    1. i would agree but the author seems somewhat confused...should we remind him the issue was the large figure in jim templetons photograph matched two figures witnessed by staff on the woomera sites cctv monitor...the ufo or lens flare has nothing to do with the alleged enquiry jims photo or the cumbraian manafacturing sorry but that case is not closed is it?

  6. Dear Keith, I'd like to know who was paying your salary for all those years whilst you engaged in 'Ufology'? The Government???

  7. Disturbing that you label this 'case solved' based on a link to an irrelevant piece of archival film footage. You can't fail to appreciate how ridiculous your own conclusion is, which brings into question your motives for making such an outlandish claim.

  8. Yeah, interesting, the initial launch date for Blue Streak at Woomera was 25th May 1964, two days after Jim Templeton took that photo, but due to adverse weather conditions it wasn't actually lanched until 5th June 1964 according to H.G.R Robinson's report.
    The Base Commanders comments as to a white being sighted on secuirty monitors at Woomera leading to an aborted launch may have been up graded to two large white suited figures as the story was passed along. Remember exageration is always a possibility.

  9. The templeton photo was just his wife walking away. Look closely at the arm and you can see it is bent such that the person is facing the other direction (so not a helmet). On that roll of film he has other pictures of his wife in a dress that would match and she is in the other picture with the child facing the same way so she was right there. As for the rocket launch,the more interesting theory is that there were two aborigine travelers in the wrong place and the wrong time and they were actually vaporized by the first launch which was quickly aborted and then covered up

  10. the agents in Black (MIB) had asked Jim when did he see the Second Spaceman and he didn't know what they were talking about so that speaks for it self the Rocket technicians seen 2 figures at the range here in Australia, that's enough for me... they confirm the picture is real.


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