Saturday, June 7, 2014

Project HIBAL - two previously unreleased files

Hi all,

Blog readers may recall that I had recently discovered, two previously unexamined and unreleased files in the National Archives of Australia (NAA) concerning Project HIBAL, a joint undertaking of the former US Atomic Energy Commission, and the former Australian Department of Supply.

I had suggested that these high altitude balloon flights may have caused some reports of UAP within Australia. Other Australian researchers have also come to this conclusion.

The NAA have now advised me that these two files have been digitised and are also available as downloadable PDFs.

The files:

The first file is from NAA file series A6456, control symbol R120/163, titled  simply, "ASHCAN." Its date range is shown as 1950-1985, and its barcode 418955.

The second file is from NAA file series A6456, control symbol R190/017, titled "Stratosphere monitoring for radioactivity." Its date range is shown as 1950-1985, barcode 7909162.

Both these original records were transferred to "The Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia during the 1950's and 1960's."

File, barcode 418955 - 69 pages:

The originating agency was the Bureau of Meteorology (Ashcan), original file number was 60/904, file marked "confidential." The actual date range is 1960-1961.

The Bureau of Meteorology's part of the Project was to provide small sounding balloon launches from a number of Australian locations just before a HIBAL launch. This data allowed the HIBAL launch crews to be relatively certain where the balloons would land. Specifically, the Bureau provided:

1. A meteorological office at Mildura, the launch site for most HIBAL flights.
2. Two Rawin flights a day.
3. A radiosonde for each HIBAL launch.

File, barcode 7909162 - 393 pages:

This file originated with the Australian Department of Defence and was marked "Secret." Its original file number was 186/1/24, 68/1395. Its actual date range was 1958 to 1969.

Among other things, the file contains copies of:

* correspondence between the Department of External Affairs and the US government.
* correspondence between the Department of Supply and the Department of Defence.

Of possible relevance to the Westall incident is a "Melbourne Sun" newspaper article dated 13 April 1961 which states that a "runaway balloon" (HIBAL) had nearly collided with power lines, and nearly dropped its payload onto houses.

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