Thursday, February 23, 2012

Did the Australian Department of the Interior investigate UFO reports?

Hi all

In a recent post (click here) I mentioned the book "Firestorm" by Ann Druffel. I have been slowly re-reading the work as there is so much interesting material contained in it. One account which took my eye was the following. It concerns a letter to James E McDonald from Australian researcher Stan Seers.

Letter from Seers:

"In a long letter Seers informed him about a color UFO photo that had been stolen from his Queensland UFO group by a Kodak employee and ended up in the Australian Department of the Interior. Seers had urged UFO investigator Vince Mele to hand the matter over to the state police as a clear-cut case of theft.

Many weeks passed; eventually the detective assigned  to the case met with Mele and, in strict confidence, told him that the film was in government hands and that there was  not the slightest chance of getting it back. He advised Mele to forget the whole thing. Mele, a volatile Italian broke the detective's confidence and told Seers what had happened. Seers elicited the help of a local member of Commonwealth Government, Colin Bennett, who was somewhat of a political rebel, and he took up the cudgel on Seer's behalf.

The net result of all of this was a blanket denial from the Minister of Air (which was no more than we expected), the demotion of one poor detective, now pounding a beat in uniform, and avoiding Vince Mele like the bubonic plauge; and of course NO FILM. (The source of this account is given as "Letter from Stan Seers to McDonald, dated 28 February 1969.)"

The Department of the Interior:

I thought it was strange that it was allegedly the Australian Department of the Interior, that the photograph eneded up with. I have come across a number of Australian Government Departments who kept UFO files (click here for full details) such as Supply, Civil Aviation, External Affairs, but not the Deaprtment of the Interior.

What were the functions of the Department of the Interior? The website of the National Archives of Australia (NAA) lists the Department of the Interior, Head Office, as Agency number CA31. Looking up this agency reference, gives the information that the Department was in existence between 1939 and 1972.

Its functions are listed as: Agriculture; Earth Sciences; Forestry regulation; meteorology; resources; astronomy or space science; surveys, and conservation. Quite a list.

A search of the NAA RecordSearch of files held by the Department of the Interior, doesn't list anything that appeared to relate to UFO photographs or files.

Can any reader point to further material which might suggest that the Department of the Interior was actually investigating UFO reports? I would also appreciate hearing from you if you can throw any general light on Stan Seers' or Vince Mele's part in the story related in the letter to McDonald.

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