Tuesday, June 14, 2016

DSTO UAP file found in the National Archives of Australia

Hi all,


The Defence Science and Technology Group, is part of the Australian Department of Defence. Prior to 1 July 2015, it was known as the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO.) Its current website uses slogans such as 'Science and Technology for Safeguarding Australia;' and 'The Brains Trust of Defence.' It has a number of 'Research Divisions,' including one named 'Aerospace Division.' The 'Our history' section of the website, states that the DSTO, as an organisation, came into being in 1974.

Archive and FOI Act research

Between 2003 and 2008, the Disclosure Australia Project located over 100 files relating to UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA.) For a current list of these files click here. Many of these were digitised by the NAA, paid for by members of the Project.

In 2008, (updated in 2011) this author, on behalf of the Project, prepared, and published, a 121 page document summarising the Project's findings, titled 'UAS files located in the Australian Government record system.'    UAS - Unusual Aerial Sightings - was the term used by the RAAF for UAP.

The Project found files originating with such government departments as the former Department of Supply; the former Department of Civil Aviation; the former Department of Territories; the former Department of External Affairs; the Commonwealth Investigation Service; the Australia Security Intelligence Organisation; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; and other agencies. Within the Department of Defence, files were located which originated from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Joint Intelligence Bureau.

In 2004, this author submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defence, for other areas of that Department, including the DSTO. The DOD response was that they were unable to locate any files originating in these areas dealing with the topic of UAS for the period 1977 to 2004.


Imagine then,  the author's surprise last night, when conducting a keyword search of the NAA's RecordSearch, file database, to find a Department of Defence DSTO UAP file!

Screen shot of RecordSearch showing the file's details.

NAA file series A4090 (DOD Central Office), control symbol 529/1/16 Part 1, barcode 13685217, is titled 'DSTO records of unidentified Aerial phenomena.' It is held in the Canberra office of the NAA. Its date range is shown as 1974-1996. Its status is given as 'Closed.' The reason given for it being 'Closed'  is shown as 'Withheld pending advice.' This usually means that the file is with the originating body being examined for 'sensitivities.'

Archive request

I have today, submitted a request to the NAA to have the file 'opened.' This process usually takes up to three months. After that, I will be able to make a request for, and pay for, the file to be digitised, thus making it publicly available around Christmas 2016.

FOI Act request

I have also today, submitted an FOI Act request to the Department of Defence for copies of all parts of this file 529/1/16, held by them. 'Part 1' suggests there is likely to be a 'part 2' of the same file. There is no record of a 'part 2' in the NAA.

Now, all one can do, is await the outcome of these requests.

Update as at 4 August 2016
The Department of Defence have advised me that part 1 of the file is all that there is. They stated that there was never a part 2.

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