Friday, April 15, 2011

Peter E Norris and the Australian Government UFO files - 1957 to 1968 Part Two

Cressy sighting:

The UFO sighting of a large cigar shaped object and accompanying several smaller discs, by the Reverend Browning of Cressy, Tasmania, was the subject of Peter's next letter dated 4 November 1960, to DAFI. "We feel that UFO activity in the vicinity of the Great Lake area of northern Tasmania is of particular significance, having regard to the fact that a large hydro-electric project is currently under construction in that region." Again, Peter asked if Browning's sighting had been officially investigated and if so, what were DAFI's conclusions. (Source: Digital version of file 554/1/30 Part 1 p.151.)

DAFI responded on 18 November 1960 that they were investigating and committed themselves to advising their findings. (p.149.)

After interviewing Browning, DAFI, in a letter dated 7 March 1961, advised that Browning had seen the Moon rising, and together with 'scud' type clouds this had "...produced the impression of flying objects." (p.124.)

I had the pleasure, in 2010, of interviewing Gordon Waller, the RAAF officer who was sent to interview the Brownings. Gordon's perspective was that he had been sent to investigate the report, following political pressure for the RAAF to do so.

Another Tasmanian case:

Peter, on VFSRS letterhead, dated 3 May 1961 wrote to DAFI "Representatives of this society recently interviewed Mrs Webster and her daughter, Sally, of 'Charnak' Cressy, Tasmnaia, concerning their alleged sighting of an Unidentified Flying Object in October last year...Would you kindly inform us of your Department's evaluation of this sighting report." (Source: Digital version of file 580/1/1 Part 3 p.153.) Peter needed to jog the Department's memory, by letter dated 23 June 1961. The Department replied on 28 June 1961 with a short letter that said "Sighting...was most probably T.A.A. Viscount VH-TVC..." i.e. an aircraft.

The Drury film:

At 1200hrs on 23 August 1953, Mr T Drury, Deputy Director of the Australian Department of Civil Aviation, in Port Moresby, saw an object in the sky. In the cloudless south-western sky he noticed what seemed to be 'cloud building up' which grew in intensity for several minutes. Suddenly, an object appeared from one side of the cloud and climbed fast in a north-west direction. In size, Drury said it seemed slightly bigger than a pin-head. The soundless object left a clearly-defined vapour trail. It finally disappeared with a rapid gain of altitude. Drury had a movie camera with him, and filmed using a telephoto lens. (Source: Digital version of file 114/1/197.)

In a letter dated 15 February 1962, Peter, on VFSRS letterhead, asked about the Drury film of 23 August 1953. "Would you be so kind as to inform me whether the film would be available for inspection by representatives of this society. Furthermore, what is the Department's evaluation of the Drury sighting? (Source: Digital version of file 580/1/1 Part 3 p.86.)

DAFI responded dated 22 February 1962 "I regret to inform you that this Department can find no trace of this film or the report referred to in your letter dated 15th February 1962." (Source: Digital version of file 580/1/1 Part 3. p.85.)


The Commonwealth Aerial Phenomena Investigation Organisation (CAPIO) was formed in 1965 at a convention held in Ballarat, Victoria. As a 'peak body' it represented the interests of a number of Australian UFO groups. Air Marshall Sir George Jones was its patron, and the RAAF sent a Mr B G Roberts to give a presentation on behalf of the Government.

The next correspondence from Peter was on CAPIO letterhead, dated 19 July 1965, asking if Mr Roberts, Senior research Scientist, Department of Air, could confirm if a sighting reported in a US UFO magazine re an Australian aircraft 'buzzed' by a UFO, had in fact been reported to the RAAF? (Source: Digital version of file 554/1/30 Part 1 p103.) Peter signed the letter as President of CAPIO.

DAFI's Squadron Leader Wheeler replied on 18 August 1965 (Source: Digital version of file 554/1/30 Part 1 p.100) that they had received no report of the incident and referred Peter to the civilian Department of Civil Aviation. "From the article you enclosed for information it appears that photographs were made of the UFO. This is most interesting and if copies can be made available should provide some interesting discussion."


On 12 November 1960 Peter, on CAPIO letterhead, wrote to DAFI asking if they could please reply to a letter he had sent them on 17 September 1965, about a case at a place called Nebo? (Source: Digital version of file 580/1/1 Part 5 p.205.)

The DAFI response came dated 1 December 1965. It responded to both the letters of 17 September and 12 November. "Mr Robert's report of 4th June referred to an 'unusual occurrence' rather than an unidentified flying object and concerned a strip in the scrub which he considered to have been subjected to extreme heat. The sample of gum leaves which was forwarded to us was analyzed but showed no unusual characteristics. This Department is unable to determine the cause of the phenomenon." (Source: Digital version of file 580/1/1 Part 5 p.202.)

The Tully event:

The classic UFO trace case of Tully, Queensland occurred on 19 January 1966. On that morning, George Pedley reported seeing an object close to the ground. It was light-grey in colour, shaped like two saucers face to face. In size he said it was 25 feet long and 8-9 feet deep. There were no structural features visible. It was in view for a total of about four seconds. An area of flattened, swirled grass/reeds was found at the point below where the object had been seen.

On 2 February 1966 CAPIO wrote to the Secretary, Department of Air, Mr A M McFarlane. McFarlane's reply dated 11 February 1966 included "Investigations of the area surrounding the reported 'nests', testing of samples taken from around them and interrogations of persons involved in the report failed to reveal anything of significance." The nests "...could have been the result of a severe turbulence, which normally accompany line squalls and thunderstorms." Later, "There is no explanation for the visible phenomenon reported but it could have been associated with or the result of "downdraughts", "willy willies" or "water spouts." VUFORS commissioned its own meteorological analysis of the weather conditions and disagreed with the RAAF's findings. (Source: Digital version of file 580/1/1 Part 5 p.182.)

(To be continued.)

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