Friday, January 25, 2013

"Mystery spheres found in Australia"


Another interesting newspaper clipping found on the UFO Research (NSW) website, is one dated Friday 7 Nov 1965. The heading is "Space ball found." The text reads:

"Broken Hill, Friday

Another mysterious metal ball, similar to the two space objects found north of Broken Hill in 1963, has been discovered on Bollard's Lagoon Station in the extreme north-east of South Australia.

Bollard's Lagoon is a cattle run about 100 miles north of Boulia where the first of the spherical metal objects was found in April 1963.

The second ball was found 50 miles away on Mt Sturt Station several weeks later.

Both were identified as coming from a space vessel but no country claimed them.

The third ball was found about four months ago in an arid region of clay flats and sandhills.

Mr D S Cooling a representative of Elder Smith-Goldsborough Mort Ltd brought the latest ball to Broken Hill today. Like the other two metal balls, it is hollow and identical to the others except that it is slightly smaller. It is about 12 inches in diameter. The others were 14 inches."

UAP link?
A number of “mystery spheres” were found in Australia during the 1960’s to the 1980's. In the 1960's there was some speculation among certain UAP researchers that these balls might, somehow, be connected to the UAP phenomenon.

As far back as 1964, the English magazine, “Flying Saucer Review” [10(1):5] related the finding of such objects in New South Wales and South Australia, between April and July 1963. In that article, Mr Allen Fairhall, then Federal Minister of Supply, is quoted as stating that inquiries to the relevant American and Russian space agencies had failed to determine the origin of these spheres, thus raising speculation in some quarters.

Jumping thirty two years forward. In his 1996 document: “UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under-The Australian Military & Government Role in the UFO Controversy” Bill Chalker wrote:

The Joint Intelligence Organisation (the reorganised JIB) maintains a secret BOLIDE file. It still seems to be anchored to the premise that “UFOs” could involve the chance of retrieval of Soviet hardware and therefore contribute some useful intelligence. It appears JIO have a “rapid intervention” capability as they have been able to instigate prompt widespread ground searches in suspected “hardware” crashes. They do this through “special access” channels. This operation may be similar to US activity operating under the code name Project “Moondust.”

What was Project Moondust?

A check with the authoritative “The UFO Encyclopaedia” written by US Researcher Jerry Clark, [Clark, J. 1996. “The UFO Encyclopaedia” Volume 3. Omnigraphics. Detroit p 128] indicates that:

In 1961 the U.S. Air Force established the classified Project Moon Dust to “locate, recover and deliver descended foreign space vehicles.”

Did Australia participate in this Project?

Department of Supply file SA 5644/2/1, located in the National Archives of Australia,  contains a 1962 memo from the Controller WEA to the Superintendent Woomera. In it, it stated that “the United States Embassy” informally sought WRE’s assistance to obtain information about sightings,  or of downed fragments of space vehicles. This location and recovery of fragments was exactly the role of the USAF Project Moon Dust, and the request to Australia was made the year after the Project commenced. In our reading of the Supply file, there is never actually a mention of the words “Project Moon Dust.” However, as it was a classified US project perhaps this is not surprising.
Listing of other mystery spheres found in Australia:

Date of find
Location of find
8 Apr 1963
Bouilla Station NSW
5.5kg & 35.5cm diameter
FSR 10(1):5. 1964
28 Jun 1963
Mount Sturt Station NSW
8kg & 41cm diameter
FSR 10(1):5. 1964
12 Jul 1963
Muloorina SA
15cm diameter
FSR 10(1):5. 1964
Sep 1965
Merkanooka WA
Titanium sphere. 50cm diameter
Department of Supply file SA5644/3/1
Apr 1968
Mudgee NSW
29kg & 61cm diameter
AFU Newsletter 46, July 2003
Mar 1968
Inkerman Qld
60cm diameter sphere. Grey colour with 4 holes in it.
NAA file series J63/25 control symbol 5/40/AIR PART 1
Aug 1972
Gilgandra, NSW
A portion of a spherical vessel.
NAA file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 pt 18 pp44-46.
Dec 1972
3 spheres. 61cm diameter
UFORA Research Digest Issue 30:10
17 Oct 1973
Mouroubra WA
51cm diameter
UFORA Research Digest Issue 30:10
Jun 1988
Marble Bar WA
Titanium 37cm diameter sphere.

“Sphere” files located:

In December 2003, as a result of examination of paper file listings at the Adelaide office of the NAA,  two more files relevant to our inquiries were located.

The first file was a Department of Supply file SA5644/3/1 titled “Joint Intelligence Bureau requests for an examination of a sphere found at Merkanooka WA.” The file revealed that:

·        On 6 October 1965, the JIB asked the WRE to examine and report on the sphere
·        The ball reached WRE on 18 October 1965
·        A memo dated 1 April 1966 to the Chief Scientist from the WRE stated that: “Our examinations show that the object is certainly of USA origin and that it could be assumed to have formed part of a space vehicle.”
·        A memo dated 10 August 1966 from the Chief Scientist to the WRE asked that the ball be forwarded to Defence R & D Attaché in Washington for handing on to NASA
·        A later report stated that the ball had been found on 10 September 1965 and that NASA determined it “…was a fragment from the Gemini 5 spaceflight” specifically a Gemini 20 inch OAMS fuel tank used as a water tank.

The second file, was again a Department of Supply file, number SA 5644/3/2 Part 1. Here appeared the story of the first three spheres listed in the first table above.

Bouilla ball

A 14 inch diameter, 10lbs in weight, sphere was discovered on the 8 April 1963 by Jim McClure on Bouilla Station, near Broken Hill NSW (30 deg 06mins S; 141 deg 52mins E). It was delivered to the Weapons Research Establishment in South Australia for examination, where it was determined to be of American origin. After much discussion with the USA, the sphere was returned to there.

Johnson ball

Another sphere turned up on Mount Sturt Station (29deg 32mins S; 141 deg 34 mins E), near Broken Hill on 29 Jun 1963 and was named after the finder, Colin Johnson. It weighed 18lbs. The Bouilla and Johnson balls were found at location 50 miles apart. This sphere was also determined to be American and returned there.

Later analysis, documented on the file, indicated that both of these two balls were from a US Agena rocket used to launch test satellites.

Muloorina “ball”

On 9 Jul 1963 Tom Churches reported finding a metal sphere with a red rubber balloon attached. The sphere was 6 inches in diameter with a hole at the bottom and was said to have been found on Muloorina Station some 3 miles SE of Lake Eyre South. However, examination of the sphere soon indicated that it was a hoax, two halves taped together with “sticky tape.” We do not believe that this find has been revealed as a hoax before.

Proposed explanations:

The following table  lists explanations which have been put forward for these objects:

Location of find
Bouilla Station NSW
US Agena rocket stage used to launch USAF test satellites on 14 Dec 62 & 7 Jan 63. Re-entered in Jan 63.
Mount Sturt Station NSW
Muloorina SA
[Dept of Supply file SA 5644/3/2 Part 1]
Merkanooka WA
Water tank from Gemini 5 spaceflight
[Dept of Supply file SA5644/3/1]
Location of find
Mudgee NSW
Pressure vessel from Delta booster used to launch biosatellite II on 7 Sep 67.
Inkerman Qld
Given to US Embassy Australia. No known results.
[RAAF file J63/25 5/40/AIR PART 1]
Gilgandra, NSW
A fragment of a component of a satellite
[RAAF file A703 580/1/1 pt 18 pp44-46}
Probably high pressure gas storage tank.
[UFORA Research Digest No 30 Sep-Oct 1992]
Mouroubra WA
WRE says American satellite.
[UFORA Research Digest No 30 Sep-Oct 1992]
Marble Bar WA
Probably from Soviet Foton 4 launched 14 Apr 88, re-entered 28 Apr 88.

I welcome any additional data, from blog readers,  on Australian 'mystery spheres.'

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