Tuesday, September 4, 2012

RAAF UAS file series A9755 emerges from the archives

Hi all,

There was a problem publishing a previous version of this post, so I am reposting it with the correct attribution.

In the late 1990's the RAAF gathered up a number of UAS (the RAAF referred to Unusual Aerial Sightings) files from its various bases, and had them placed in the National Archives of Australia (NAA.) These files were "top numbered" as file series A9755, which does make it difficult to locate them if you are working from the RAAF base file numbers (assuming you know these.) I located two such A9755 series files recently, both of which have now been digitised so you can read them in full for yourself. (Go to http://www.naa.gov.au, open up RecordSearch, type in "UAS" and find the correct files to view them.)

A955 control symbol 11:

This is a very interesting file. It represents one of the few times that the RAAF conducted a field investigation so soon after the event. The file title is "Information relating to Unexplained Aerial Sightings (UFOs) + photographs." It is held in the Canberra office of the NAA and has a date range of 1983-1983.

The first few folios of the file are tantalising. There is a black and white photo of a disc shaped object; a colour enhancement of apparently the same picture, then an edge enhancement of apparently the same picture. A hand written note on the file says "See 5/6/1/Air Pt 14 (25) for memo concerning these photographs. Folio 6, apparently the rear of folio 5 - the black and white photo-  reads "5/6/1/Air Part 1 folio 162A photo1." There is nothing else on this file about the  photos. Interestingly, I have come across no record of file 5/6/1/Air Pt 14 or 5/6/1/Air Pt 1 in the NAA, so far. Indeed, these photographs seem to have no relevance to the rest of the file. I do note I have come across file 5/6/1/Air Pt 15 with a date range of 25 Sep 1985 to 6 Aug 1992 which I sighted at RAAF base Edinburgh in 2004. My notes for this file are "Thought to be A9755 Part 5 CAS HQSC." It is likely that there are other such files, either in the NAA or DOD, which we have not seen. Back to A9755 control symbol 11 - 5/6/1/Air. What is on the rest of the file?


Bendigo, lies 150kms north-west of Melbourne. It was the centre of a small "flap" when hundreds of people reported seeing strange lights in the sky, over the period between 20-29 May 1983. There was a focus on the nights of 20/21 May and 21/22 May 1983.

The file contains numerous news clippings from such papers as the "Bendigo Advertiser" and "The Courier" Ballarat with headlines such as "RAAF checks UFO reports," "Another photo of night lights" and "More UFO sightings."

Although Bendigo generated UAS reports, so did the locatlities of Shepparton, Eildon, Ballarat, Warrnambool and Melbourne.

Unusually, the RAAF sent a Flt Lt Biddington to Bendigo to investigate. His report noted that the observations were of  bright white lights with smaller red and green lights, all seen in the night sky. The lights appeared to spin or rotate rapidly. Most were stationary, and unlike many other UAS were visible for periods of up to three to four hours.

Biddington visited Bendigo on 24 May 1983, interviewed three witnesses; collected weather data, and obtained the original negatives of a  series of photographs, taken by a Mr Evans.

The conclusion of Biddington's report was "CINTO has been unable to discover any evidence to date which suggests that the lights observed at Bendigo represents in any way a threat to national security. No unusual marks on the ground have been reported and no reports associating injury or damage to people, stock or property with the appearance of the lights, have been received."

"The lights do not seem to have been projected by a flying object because no unusual radar returns were detected by Melbourne radar."

Also on the file are details of the analysis of photographs taken by a Russell Henthorn of Bendigo on 24 May 1983, and also by a Mr D Martin.

This "flap" was of visual observations, plus photographs, of nocturnal lights only. The RAAF appeared to conclude that the lights were astronomical in origin, with temperature inversions adding to the confusion.

A9755 control symbol 15:

This is the UAS file from RAAF base Amberley, Queensland with a date range of 1982-1985. The NAA released papers in 2012, between 1982-1983 under the 30 year rule. Most of the UAS reports on the file are of low value lights in the sky.

One higher value report was made by a R Priebe, a dairy farmer of Imbil (160 north of Brisbane). At 0530hrs on 22 Jul 1983 he telephoned Imbil police station to report seeing an object in the northern sky. Police Seargent Waterson took a look for himself and saw a large, white light in the sky, together with several flashing lights around it, to the north. It was travelling eastwards, changed direction and went south. It was soundless, and lost to sight behind trees. Police constable P Keys also saw it from a different location. Through binoculars, Priebe reported it was a disc shaped light.


The only other possibly interesting set of documents on the file is a  report from the police at Adavale (931kms west of Brisbane.) A station hand reported finding a ground trace on Milo Station. The policeman who went to investigate reported finding a mark, outer circle diameter 2330mm, inner circle diameter 2010mm with a depression in between. He tested out a hypothesis that a motor bike rider may have created the mark by rotating his bike in a circle, but concluded it wasn't the cause. Police forwarded soil samples and photographs (not on file). Amberley forwarded these up the line but they haven't been seen by us since. The file does not record any further details on this "trace."


Just how many other RAAF files await discovery? How many possibly interesting cases are unknown to us?

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