Monday, July 31, 2017

South Australian UFO research 1953-2017


This post provides a look at the history of South Australian UAP research since 1953. In its preparation I conducted face to face, and telephone interviews with a number of individuals who had an interest in the UAP phenomenon; re-read old UAP magazines; checked old newspaper clippings; and examined personal notes. In addition, I reviewed certain files in the National Archives of Australia, and in some instances, consulted old electoral rolls and other sources of data. Research has been hindered by the death of an increasing number of individuals, and a lack of sufficient written documentation, which has at times, meant an inability to locate some critical information.

At this point I must therefore acknowledge that it is an incomplete historical record, for these reasons. However, as no one, to my knowledge, has previously attempted such a task, the following is the best that can be done under the circumstances. There is no doubt that this article will contain errors of fact. I would be grateful to hear from any reader who can correct such errors. 

The article will first take a look at the seventeen South Australian UAP organisations of which I am aware. A representative A to Z of thirty-nine South Australian UAP researchers then follows.

UAP organisations

1 Australian Flying Saucer Club (AFSC)

This very first South Australian UAP organisation, was started by Frederick Phillip Stone in 1953. Its formation followed a personal sighting of five cigar shaped objects over Adelaide a week before the first atomic bomb explosion in Australia. Stone stated that he could see “figures” in the objects. (1) Stone later offered to affiliate with the Sydney based Australian Flying Saucer Bureau formed by Edgar Jarrold but Stone states he (Stone) “…accepted the position of South Australian Branch President. However, as he got no satisfactory co-operation from Edgar Jarrold and was making no progress, he broke his connection with Jarrold and formed the A.F.S.R.S.” (2)

2 Australian Flying Saucer Research Society (AFSRS)

This group existed until the death of Colin Norris on 13 July 2009, albeit under a different name. (1)  A letter to the RAAF dated 7 March 1955 shows that the Hon. Pres. was Fred Stone; the Hon. Ass. Sec. was a Mr P D Thomas (believed to be Peter David Thomas, an Engineer, living in the suburb of Burnside) and the Hon. Treas. was a Mr L E Hauber (believed to be Leonard Eric Hauber.) Other AFSRS members were land salesman and ex-RAAF navigator Keith M(oncrief?) Cartwright and Engineer, John R Bushell.

An early issue of the AFSRS’s magazine titled “Australian Saucer Record” (2) indicates that Stone was looking to go national in 1955, when the AFSRS (NSW Branch) was formed. The motive for this may have been an interview with the RAAF after which Stone noted that the RAAF would prefer to deal with a national level UAP organisation. A later issue of the same magazine (3) notes that Judith Croser was the AFSRS (NSW Branch) contact in 1956. However, that same year, 1956, the AFSRS (NSW Branch) became independent and changed its name to UFOIC. By the way, the ASR was published between 1955 and 1963, reaching Volume 9 Number 6.

The AFSRS came under the notice of the Commonwealth Investigation Service, Canberra. National Archives of Australia (NAA) file series A1533 control symbol 56/2773 is titled: “The Australian Flying Saucer Research Society.” The Commonwealth Investigation Service’s functions included, according to NAA “Agency notes for agency CA 650,” “…maintenance of liaison with customs, postal, taxation and state police services; security at Government factories, dockyards and facilities; and provision of personnel as required for special investigations…” In 1949 some of the roles of CIS passed to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), while the rest of the CIS role went to the Commonwealth Police Force in 1960. The file consists of two documents, the file cover and a copy of a newspaper article.

The article is headlined: “Men from Mars!” and concerns a close approach of the planet Mars to Earth in 1956, and notes in part that: “The Australian Flying Saucer Research Society (AFSR) will have its telescopes trained on the planet…” It refers to Society President Andrew Tomas.

Stone’s national aspiration was emphasized again, when in February 1957 he formed the AFSRS (Vic branch). Later in 1957, (4) it reorganized as the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society (VFSRS) with Peter Norris as President.

In 1957 the AFSRS Secretary in Adelaide was a Mr J A Fisher. (5)

In the 1958-1960 period the Recording Officer of the AFSRS was one Jack Ferry. (6)

The AFSRS held Australia’s first UAP conference in Adelaide in 1959. 200 people attended, with the main speaker being the Reverend W B Gill talking about his spectacular close encounter sightings.

In some un-sourced personal notes, the author found a comment that in about 1959 the AFSRS had a Northern Territory branch run by one Duke Alley. The author has not been able to ascertain anything else about this branch.

Three years later, in 1962, following a falling out with Colin Norris, Fred Stone left the AFSRS to found another group he called UFOPIA. (7) Colin Norris and others then took the lead roles within the AFSRS. 

The Disclosure Australia Project located a former “secret” 9 January 1962 memo from the Regional Director ASIO SA to ASIO HQ which forwarded a report from the (blanked out) about the AFSRS (8).  The file cover, as shown on the released copy, carries the original ASIO file number 3/2/979 Vol 1 and is titled “Flying Saucer Research Bureau (Qld.)” The AFSRS report itself was not released to the Project. ASIO's interest, in line with their role, was whether or not there were communist associations with UAP groups.

A former member of the AFSRS between 1967 and 1972, related that the AFSRS meetings were initially held in a venue in Moonta Street, in the City, but later twice moved to venues in Morphett Street, City. AFSRS membership was large, perhaps 100. There were interstate and overseas members. Meetings were attended by some of these members and also by “walk ins,” people who had somehow heard about the meeting and simply popped in on the night. (9)

Interpersonal difficulties raised their heads again in 1967 when on 16 November at a special general meeting of the AFSRS, a “no confidence” vote was moved against Colin Norris, and lost. A number of persons then left the AFSRS including the Boxalls; the Whiteheads; Jan Verdonk; Roger McGuire, and Theo Mastrosavas. These people went on to found a group called UPIA. (10) UPIA also met in the same hall as the AFSRS the Australian Better Hearing Association Hall in Moonta Street.

A 1968 AFSRS magazine shows that Marc Dodd was President. Colin O Norris was Vice-President and Public Relations Officer. That year Norris attended the CAPIO conference in Canberra. Other AFSRS members around this date were Ted Shrubb, who was their librarian, and Alex Mitropoulos who built a UAP detector. A Mrs Bungey was one of the group’s Secretaries with a Steve Hutchinson, a later holder of the Secretary role.

In the early 1970’s the AFSRS sent copies of AFSRS UAP report forms to RAAF Edinburgh, who forwarded them on to RAAF Head Quarters. The Disclosure Australia Project found these copies on HQ files of the period. It is uncertain of why these were sent.

It appears that ASIO continued to watch the AFSRS. A 3 November 1972 ASIO SA memo headed “Australian Flying Saucer Research Society” refers to a 13 October 1972 report concerning Colin Norris who the report says“…claims to be in correspondence with Soviet academicians on the subject of unidentified flying objects…Norris spoke to members of the Young Socialists League in South Australia about UAPs…” This report also refers to an earlier 1969 report, which is not on the file. (11)

Bremner Thomson was the AFSRS Assistant Secretary in 1972 and continued an active role until the early 2000’s.

In April 1972, then AFSRS member John Burford developed links with the APRG run by Keith Basterfield. John also met with Flt Lt King, Intelligence Officer, at RAAF Edinburgh to discuss the local SA research scene.

The AFSRS had an investigations team established by John Burford. Peter Powell and Keith Basterfield were already conducting joint investigations separately to the AFSRS. Then the AFSRS; UFOPIA, SPACERS; UFORI and the APRG joined forces as far as case investigations went by forming the “Combined Investigations Team” to look at South Australian reports on behalf of all these groups. On 12 May the author was accepted as head of the CIT. A single entry was placed in the SA phone book. It listed several numbers for members of the public to call to make a report. Colin Norris and Peter Powell were jointly elected to do Public Relations work. The CIT considered a new standard report form and training sessions were organized for investigators. In 1973 this group of CIT investigators raised a number of issues at an AFSRS meeting and due to the response they received, moved out of the AFSRS and into the group UFO Research with Vladimir Godic. 

The AFSRS changed its name to “Australian International UFO Flying Saucer Research” in 1978 and continued to hold regular public meetings and publish a Newsletter. This Newsletter presented summaries of local sightings and articles, written by a number of individuals.

The AFSRS remained the main UAP group visible to the general public with numerous mentions in the Adelaide media during the period 1978 to the mid 1990’s. However, after this, with Colin Norris’ health in decline, the numbers attending meetings then decreased. During this period Debbie Payne and Helen Danby had assisted the operations of the group.

Up until 2009, the Australian International UFO Flying Saucer Research still maintained an entry in the Adelaide telephone book. However, it has lost all of its momentum, as no-one has stepped forward to continue its operations. With the passing of Colin Norris in 2009, the group ceased its operations, and its files passed to Colin Norris’ son Grant.

3 Aerial Phenomenon Research Group (APRG)

The author attended AFSRS meetings between 1968 and 1970, while at school and later at University. He wrote articles for their magazine. In 1971 he decided to form his own UAP group, the Aerial Phenomenon Research group (APRG). The reason for this was that the AFSRS did not conduct rigorous scientifically based research on the reports which were made to it. The AFSRS as an entity had already concluded what the origins of the UAP phenomenon were and did not welcome alternative viewpoints.

The APRG was in existence between 1971 and 1973 and the author was joined in his research activities by Denis McConnell a fellow employee of the Postmaster General’s Department (now deceased.) During this time joint investigations into local sightings were conducted with Peter Powell’s UFORI.

4 Australian UAP Research Association (AURA)

In 2002 the author became aware that a number of individuals in Adelaide with a deep interest in the UAP phenomenon were looking for a sense of direction for this interest. He therefore facilitated a meeting of these individuals, and from this was born the Australian UFO Research Association. Ultimately the following individuals became AURA members-Keith Basterfield; Helen Danby; Kathy Dickmann; Bev Luff; Colin Paule; Jeff Fausch; Debbie Payne and Alex Aaskordas. Later, they were joined by Dominic McNamara and others.

As with UFOR(SA) and UFORA the author’s intention was to concentrate on  research into the phenomenon as opposed to growing a large public group. A little time will be spent here on describing AURA, to illustrate a major difference between small, tightly focused groups and the former large publicly focused groups of the 1960’s.

AURA’s Mission Statement is “To work towards a greater understanding, and acceptance, of the UAP phenomenon.”  Its aims were defined as:

1.   To collect, collate, analyse and disseminate information about Australian UAP reports and UAP research.
2.   To undertake such research into the UAP phenomenon in a professional, efficient and effective manner.
3.     To ascertain what knowledge of the UAP phenomenon may not currently be in the public domain, and seek to document and disseminate this information to interested parties.

Its Strategies for Aim 1
1.      To actively participate in the Australian UAP Research Network Hotline reports system.

2.      To publish details on investigated UAP reports via the media and UAP research outlets.

3.     To preserve/archive documentation on Australian UAP cases and provide access to relevant UAP researchers and media representatives.

Strategies for Aim 2
1.     Maintain a small network of seriously minded individuals who work in a professional manner utilising a business model.

2.      Seek funding for such research.

3.      Provide assistance to other researchers who have limited resources.

Strategies for Aim 3
1.    Document the existing holdings of Australian UAP groups, individual researchers, and private and government organisations.

2.      Seek to ascertain knowledge of the UAP phenomenon not currently in the public domain by a variety of means.

3.      Document and disseminate this knowledge to interested parties.

In 2003 AURA members decided, with the assistance of AUFORN on the national level, to take on a Disclosure Australia Project. This Project aimed to locate and disseminate information on UAP documents held by the Australian Government. A large volume of material (over 10,000 pages) was uncovered. However, once read and processed, the files located have been reported on in a series of 31 Newsletters; 17 “Revelations” columns in the bi-monthly “UFOlogist” magazine; at three national level conferences, and on a two part CD-ROM. All these files may now be read in digitised format on the website of the National Archives of Australia. 

In 2007, AURA continued under the leadership of Jeff Fausch. AURA demonstrated that a small, focused group of individuals could successfully undertake major research projects.

The Disclosure Australia project terminated in 2008. However, this author, together with the assistance of others, continue to this day to discover more UAP files in the NAA and arrange to have them digitized.

AURA meetings continue to be held, organized by Roger Koch and Jeff Fausch.

5 Combined Investigation Team (CIT)

In 1972, the AFSRS had an investigations team established by John Burford, which included Tony Colbert; Ray Brooke; Dean Piovesan; Frank Gillespie, Peter Horne, and Tom Mills. Peter Powell and Keith Basterfield were already conducting joint investigations. Then the AFSRS; UFOPIA, SPACERS; UFORI and the APRG joined into the Combined Investigations Team to look at South Australian reports on behalf of all these groups. On 12 May the author was accepted as head of the CIT. A single entry was placed in the SA phone book. It listed several numbers for members of the public to call to make a report. Colin Norris and Peter Powell were jointly elected to do Public Relations work. The CIT considered a new standard report form and training sessions were organized for investigators.   In 1973 this group of CIT investigators raised a number of issues at an AFSRS meeting and due to the response they received moved out of the AFSRS and into the group UFO Research with Vladimir Godic. 

6 Cosmic Connections (CC)

Malcolm Clarke, had a number of unusual episodes which commenced in 1970, when as a five year old he went missing, and turned up with an unusual mark on one leg. In 1995 he had poltergeist style events happen in his Adelaide home. Malcolm also had a number of UAP sightings, and became very interested in the UAP phenomenon. He went on to hold meetings until the name Cosmic Connections. Later, Kevin Robb became associated with Malcolm Clarke and the group became Australian Cosmic Connection. Its “statement of purpose” states that it “…acts as a support for individuals as they step out of their traditional comfort zones to look at new areas of reality…” (1) The group remains active today. 

7 Paranormal Field Investigators (PFI)

PFI was co-formed by Jeff Fausch and Alison Oborn in early 2002.  This small group of investigators aims to research paranormal events; look to find out what is happening and support members of the public who find themselves involved in these events. Investigations were conducted in a scientific manner and utilised specialized electronic equipment.

The group’s interests included the UAP phenomenon, and they were active in researching numerous South Australian sightings. Jeff Fausch and Alison Oborn were the main driving force behind the group. By 2007, Alison Oborn became the lead investigator. Ultimately, the organization terminated as the original organisers went their individual ways.

8 Paranormal Research, Investigation Services & Monitoring International (PRISM)

In 1980 Arthur Holden had a very close encounter with a round, blue object with an orange lump. Another smaller object the size of a dinner plate approached him, spun around him three or four times and stopped in front of him. Arthur felt as if “…someone had thrown a bucket of water over him.” There was huge flash of light and the object was gone. Arthur felt there might have been a period of two hours missing time.

Arthur started up a UAP group called “UAP Monitors Communications.” It met at the AFSRS venue in Franklin Street, once a week on a Friday night. They decided to keep numbers low, to about eight people.

In 1982 the group decided to look at hauntings to expand beyond an interest in UAPs. The name of the group was changed to “Paranormal Research, Investigation Services and Monitoring” (PRISM.) People from the AFSRS would pass PRISM’s meeting and join PRISM. It had 12 members in 1983.

Later Arthur distanced himself from the group and Laurie Pearce took the lead in running PRISM.

In about 1990 one of PRISM’s members received a call from founder Holden. Arthur said he was doing “Government covert operations” and hung up. They never saw or heard from him again. They tried to trace him but could not.

PRISM put an ad at the University, and responses came from Laurie Eddie, who became PRISM’s secretary and Colin Mitchell, who became a field officer.

By 1992 there were 55 PRISM members and they met at Laurie Eddie’s place in Unley. The group conducted experiments.  One visiting psychic was named Marion. PRISM had good working relationships with the SA Sceptics. PRISM approached Centrelink and Centrelink registered them as a voluntary organization. PRISM also set up a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the SA Police for the Police to refer sightings to them. Laurie did talks on local radio shows and the group became a larger force in local UAP research. Public meetings were held at a number of venues.

By early 2007 PRISM was in “suspense” as the current members looked to decide PRISM’s future directions. However, it was never revitalized, and terminated shortly afterwards.

9 South Australian UFO Network (SUFON)

This small Adelaide based group, operated by Cheryl-lee Vanagelis and Donna O'Halloran, operated between 2014 and 2015. It conducted a number of local investigations. 

10 South Australian UFO Research Institute (SAURI)

Little is known about this organization run by Mike Stahl, of Clapham which has been listed in the UAP literature as a South Australian group since the mid 1990’s. Mike is no longer listed in the Telstra White Pages.

11 Special Phenomena and Celestial Research Society Inc. (SPACERS)

In the late 1960’s a group was formed called SPACERS, based, the author understands, out at Elizabeth. Two members were Glenn Sawyer, who was also into amateur radio and electronics, and Ray Mountford a former Vice-President of UFOPIA (1). In 1972 SPACERS joined in with other South Australian groups to form the Combined Investigations Team. Not much else is known about SPACERS other than that according to a 1979 UFORSA Newsletter item they were still in existence in that year.

12 UFO Phenomena Investigations Association (UFOPIA)

UFOPIA was started in 1962 by Frederick Phillip Stone, the founder of the AFSC and the AFSRS following his departure from the AFSRS. Within the AFSRS Stone had published the magazine, the Australian Saucer Record. With the starting of UFOPIA he went on to publish a magazine called “Panorama” which was published between 1962 and 1971.

Between 1964 and 1968 Vladimir Godic was a UFOPIA Senior Vice-President and between 1965 and 1968 was an Investigation Officer (1)

In 1966 Anthony E Bran became a member of the UFOPIA committee and ultimately a Senior Vice President. Tony gave slide lectures to a number of community groups. UFOPIA meetings were held in a hall on a small street between Grote and Gouger streets. 20-25 people attended the meetings. Tony retired from the Committee about 1970 as he had other interests. Another Vice-President was Ray Mountford who later, as the author understands it, went on to involvement with SPACERS. (2)

Interviews with individuals who were associated with UFOPIA (3) and an examination of articles published in Panorama, indicate that the organisation viewed the alien visitors as “good.” The review also suggested that there was an overt religious slant to UFOPIA’s public views as stated in Panorama. In 1968 Robert Chester was shown on the mast head of Panorama Volume 7 Number 2, as the sub-editor.

By 1969 Stone mentioned to the UFOPIA Committee that it was time for him to wind down, citing increasing age and deteriorating health.  A new President, name unknown to me, took over but lasted only three months. (4)

In late 1970 Stone advised the UFOPIA Committee that he intended to resign, and they looked at whether or not to close down the group. At that point the Committee decided to continue. However, by March 1971 Stone resigned as President, and by May 1972 UFOPIA went into permanent recession.

Known UFOPIA members included Fred Stone, Tony Bran, Jan Verdonk; Vladimir Godic, Pam & Warren Litchfield; Robert Chester; and Ray Mountford.

13 UFO Phenomena Investigations Australia (UPIA)

Little is known of UPIA other than that it was formed by Brian Whitehead after he and others left the AFSRS following a special general meeting on 16 November 1967 where a vote of “no confidence” was moved against Colin Norris. A number of other persons also left which included the Boxalls; the Whiteheads; Jan Verdonk; Roger McGuire, and Theo Mastrosavas. (1) UPIA met in the same hall as the AFSRS, the ABHA Hall in Moonta Street and met mid-monthly. 

14 UFO Research & Investigation (UFORI)

Peter Powell initiated UFORI in 1971, and by December of that year Powell and the author were jointly investigating local cases. Powell published a magazine titled the “Australian UFO Report” for a couple of years, and also offered a book selling service. The May 1972 Tooligie Hill trace case was a high profile investigation by UFORI. UFORI participated in the Combined Investigation Team’s efforts in 1972, but ceased when Powell went on to other interests.

15 UFO Research (later became UFO Research SA) (UFOR)

Unsatisfied with the then current South Australian UAP groups, Vladimir Godic; an as yet unidentified man, and Crystal Walsh started up a group they called UFO Research, in 1968. They wished to focus on a more scientific investigation of the UAP phenomenon and started looking into local sightings.

In 1972 UFOR joined other local groups in the Combined Investigation Team model. However, following a disagreement within the AFSRS several AFSRS members moved over to UFOR. UFOR started its own Newsletter which was published between 1973 and 1979.

In 1975 UFOR incorporated under South Australian law, and changed its name to UFO Research Incorporated. The group held a series of very successful public meetings between 1975 and 1978, where dozens of interested individuals attended. Details of local sightings were presented; films were shown and facilitated discussions held.

UFOR Inc. jointly organised the 1976 national ACUFOS conference, UFOCON 2, which was held at Mt Gamber and published a 30 page catalogue of Australian entity cases compiled by this author and Bill Chalker.

In 1977 there was another name change to UFO Research (SA) Incorporated with the UFORSA Newsletter (1) showing that UFORSA scientific consultants at that time were F Gillespie; B Perry; V Rendall; P Delin and that group members were T Mills, H Aspinall, R Brooke, D Mitchell, D Piovesan; S Bolton; D St John; P Birrell; Miss B Blakmore; Mr L Godfrey, J Burford, T Tkalec, and J McTier.

The author was group Coordinator between 1977 and 1979 and Liaison officer between 1980 and 1981. Frank Gillespie was a member between 1974 and 1982 and scientific consultant between 1979 and 1982. He also held the position of Treasurer for a period.

In 1978 UFORSA published “A source catalogue of Australasian UAP reports where photographs were taken.”

In 1980 Vladimir Godic commenced publishing the UFO Research Australia Newsletter for four UAP groups including UFOR(SA). In that year UFOR(SA) Co-ordinator was Horrie Aspinall; Liaison Officer was Keith Basterfield; Treasurer was Frank Gillespie; Assistant Liaison Officer was Jane Brooks; Deputy Liasion officer was Ray Brooke. Later Ray assumed leadership of the group. Between 1997 and 1998 Alan Jones assumed leadership. Later Jim Atwell assumed leadership until he passed away in 2003. Ray Brooke returned to maintain the group in “suspension” through to 2007. However, the group did not come out of this “suspension” and it terminated shortly thereafter.

Its biggest case investigation was the 1988 Knowles family, Mundrabilla reported UAP encounter.

16 UFO Research Australia (UFORA)

Looking to extend the small focused group model of a UAP organization from the state level to the national level, Vladimir Godic, Pony Godic and this author started the group UFORA in 1980, and commenced publication of the high quality UFORA Newsletter in the same year. UFORAN carried the results of much of the research conducted by Australian UFOlogists between 1980 and 1984, then again between 1988 and 1991, after which, production ceased. It was a “…vehicle for the publication of more popular articles, newsclips, reference services, reports etc…” (1) Holly Gorris became UFORAN Associate editor from Volume 1 Number 2; with Pony Barenson (later Godic) becoming another associate editor from 1981.

The author complied summaries of Australian UAP sightings, gathered from most of the then existing Australian groups and independent researchers. These summaries were published as the UFORA Research Digest, 37 issues of which were published between July 1989 and November 1993.

Dynamo House, Victoria, in 1991 published one of Australia’s first digital books titled “UFO Research in Australia and New Zealand.” Edited by the Godic’s it was a 90,000 word collection of material by a diverse range of authors from the pages of the UFORA Newsletter.

As well as the digital book, UFORA was one of the first Australian groups to start using the new technology available in terms of electronic communication between researchers, using the internet.

The author who had been UFORA Research Director, left UFORA in 1993 to pursue other avenues, and UFORA continued under the reins of the Godic’s and Harry Griesberg. However, with the passing of Vladimir Godic in 1995, UFORA closed after 15 years of very successful work. Along with the first incarnation of ACUFOS, it remains as one of the most successful national level organisations.

17 UFO South Australia (UFOSA)

UFOSA was formed in February 2007 by Adelaide Researcher Andy Eastman and aimed to compliment the other South Australian UAP groups. It hoped to hold regular City based meetings; operate a public telephone reporting number; and to work with UAP reporters. It continues today, in a limited way, via a website.

A representative A to Z of South Australian UAP researchers

Atwell, Jim V
Born in 1958, Jim was a dedicated member of UFORSA from 1975. He conducted a number of investigations into local sightings and had an eye for finding mundane explanations in IFO cases. Jim was particularly vocal about fake UAP sightings. “A common hoax is to send up a garbage bag filled with firelighters….” (1) He was also particularly interested in photographic evidence for the phenomenon. Despite severe health problems, Jim later assumed leadership of the group, publishing lists of South Australian sightings which UFORSA had looked into until he passed away in 2003.

Fascinated with the UAP phenomenon since 1968, the author has been, over the years, a field investigator for the (former U.S.) Aerial Phenomenon Research Organisation (APRO); a joint co-ordinator for the Australian Centre for UFO Studies, and the Research Director for the (former) UFO Research Australia (UFORA). In addition, he spent several years as the Continental Director for Australasia for the US based Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), as well as having had a lengthy association with UFO Research (South Australia). Between 1994 and 1997 the author founded and ran the Australian UFO Abduction Study Centre, exploring the various facets of the UAP abduction phenomenon, particularly in Australia. Since 1998, independent research projects have occupied his time. In February 2003 he became a founding member of the Adelaide based Australian UFO Research Association (AURA) and facilitated the Disclosure Australia Project for three years.

The author's research on aspects of the phenomenon ranging from orange lights in the sky, to the after effects of UAP abductions, has been published in such places as the former APRO Bulletin; MUFON UFO Journal; Magonia; the International UFO Reporter; the prestigious psychology journal, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, as well as numerous Australian and European UAP Journals. His first book appeared in 1981 with a revised edition in 1997.

The author has lectured/presented locally in South Australia; nationally in a variety of locations, and internationally in the US. He has facilitated workshops and networking meetings; guided research teams and undertaken major investigations.

Between 2008 and 2017 his research interests have included paranormal aspects of the UAP phenomenon; personality aspects of Australian abductees; the implant motif in UAP abductions; abductees’ belief in and experiences of the paranormal; the possible involvement of sleep paralysis in the UAP phenomenon; and the involvement of the Australian Government in the UAP phenomenon.

The author's viewpoint is that the UAP phenomenon is worthy of continued cross-discipline study utilising scientific methodology. However, he recognises that today, the subject is heavily contaminated by both commercial and sociological factors. 

His work may be found at his blog.

Birrell, Peter
UFORSA Newsletter number 25 dated May-Jun 1977 lists Peter Birrell. Peter was a regional investigator who lived in Mount Gambier, where he investigated and reported upon local events.

Bolton, Steve
Steve Bolton became a member of UFORSA in the mid 1970’s and undertook a number of investigations in the State. The Wokurna trace case, an early example of simple crop circle, was a notable instance where Steve conducted an extremely thorough investigation. He retains an interest even today.

Bran, Anthony E
In 1966 Tony’s wife heard reference to the topic on talk back radio. Tony contacted Fred Stone, who was the President of UFOPIA and went to a meeting.  He had always had an interest in the paranormal and held his own opinions on flying saucers.

Tony became a member of the UFOPIA committee and ultimately a Senior Vice President. Tony gave slide lectures to a number of groups. His view was that people should keep an open mind.As there are lots of Sun like stars with planets, it behoves that there must be life on some of them. There would be intelligences comparable to ours or even more advanced. Some could be visiting us. Re contacting us- would you stand outside an enclosure containing animals having a go at each other and join them – you’d stand outside and watch. Aliens could be watching us. We could have been colonized by aliens who erased our memories about our origins.

In 1968 Tony was shown on the masthead of Panorama Volume 7 Number 2 Mar/April 1968 as one of the two sub-editors, along with Robert Chester. Tony retired from the Committee about 1970 as he had other interests. (1) His Panorama articles included: “UFOs Ancient or modern? How old is the UFO phenomenon? “(2); “Only time will tell.” US bases in Australia and official knowledge of UFOs. (3) “Is civilization at the crossroads?” Civilisation needs to change or it is in danger of vanishing. (4); “UFO-BC” Our ancestors could have come to Earth from another planet. (5)

Brooke, Raymond Harold
Ray was born in 1926 in the UK. At age 12 Ray was a member of the Scout movement and spent time hiking and camping on the Pennine Moors and Derbyshire. He became interested in astronomy. By 17 he had joined the Royal Navy and found a few of his ship’s crew also interested in that subject.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s his interest developed on the topics of alien life and other planets; and he held more discussions with other interested individuals.

Ray started attending meetings of the AFSRS, when Marc Dodd was President and Ray became friendly with Ted Shrubb of the AFSRS. Ray recalls that the AFSRS meetings then were social but the group did carry out lots of research.

Later, Ray joined UFORSA and in 1973 he was one of the investigators of the enigmatic Kimba, multiple witness entity case.

Within UFORSA he held a number of positions and spent numerous hours talking to members of the public as the group’s public contact point, obtaining details of local sightings. He traveled all over South Australia investigating reports, and attended a number of state and national level UAP conferences.

In 1988, the Mundrabilla “car lifted by UAP” case erupted and Ray, together with this author fielded dozens of calls from the world media about this case over a two day period. Ray appeared in the lead item on the six o’clock Channel 7 news one night discussing this case.

Ray’s views on the UAP phenomenon have not changed over time. For the last 50 years he has thought that there are other life forms elsewhere in the Universe; some far in front of us on the technological side and capable of things we haven’t even got close to.

Ray thinks that some abduction reports have merit and an answer to them would help solve some of the mysteries and possibly put us on the right track. In addition, it may be that one day we may get information given to us from the authorities which could help in our research. Ray is still alive in 2017, and retains a passing interest in the subject.

Brooks, Jane L
Jane was born in 1947 in South Australia and has interests which include the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI) and space exploration in all its forms. In 1979 she became Assistant Liaison Officer for UFORSA. At UFOCON 5, held in Canberra, she presented a paper on SETI and at UFOCON 6, held in Adelaide, she presented another paper on SETI. In addition, together with Canberra based John Prytz, she gave a public lecture on SETI during UFOCON 6. Jane wrote a number of articles for UFORAN, including “Quentin Fogarty & the NZ film” (1) and “The Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence.” (2) She ceased interest in the UAP subject due to pressures of studying, and her interest in SETI. The author met Jane at the 90th birthday party for Ray Brooke, in 2016 and enjoyed reminiscing about their mutual interests.

Burford, John
Following a personal sighting in 1965 John later joined the AFSRS. Exposure to the AFSRS and raw sighting details led John to his early embracing of the reality of alien visitations. For a while John was librarian for the AFSRS which gave him exposure to a range of books on the topic. John attended the CAPIO conference in Canberra with Colin Norris in 1968 and met other high profile UFOlogists of that time. John, together with the author and others investigated the numerous UAP reports originating out of the Clare valley in South Australia’s mid north.

Colin Norris passed on some UAP reports for John to Investigate. John found that more reports could be explained in mundane terms than the AFSRS had previously admitted. John wrote up some extensive interview noted on these cases and published his findings in the AFSRS magazine. To assist him John formed an "investigations" team within the AFSRS which included Frank Gillespie, Dean Piovesan and Tom Mills.

These others felt the same way as John, in that the raw reports need some in depth investigation, which was not being undertaken by Colin Norris. Although Colin passed on reports to John to investigate eventually Colin expressed dissatisfaction, saying things like this report was a spacecraft, whereas the investigation felt there was a mundane cause for the report. John took a couple of breaks away from the AFSRS. Ultimately this lead to a confrontation between John and Colin and John left the AFSRS. John was involved in the CIT in 1972.

This period of intense investigation of raw UAP reports lead John to change his beliefs about the UAP phenomenon. Checking reports led him to conclude that many if not most could be found to have mundane explanations. The more reports he looked at the more he found he could explain.  This lead him from the physical, “UAPs are alien spacecraft,” to the sociological and psychological aspects. He came to conclude that the UAP phenomenon is a mainly sociological phenomenon. Today he retains a “monitoring” brief on the subject.

Cartwright, Keith M
In 1955, Keith was a land salesman and an ex-RAAF navigator. (1) Together with Fred Stone, Keith visited NSW in 1955 to organize the NSW Branch of the AFSRS. (2) In 1956 he invented a “flying saucer” detector. (3)

Cotton, Leith
Leith was a boilerman, then a foreman by profession who had spent time in the outback. He was aged in his 60’s in 1971. His hobby was amateur radio. He was on the UFOPIA committee for a while. Leith was a correspondent of New Zealand pilot and author Bruce Cathie. They shared data on Cathie’s grid system. Leith at one stage took a film of South Australian “saucer nests” which was reportedly lost or destroyed by Kodak.

Dickmann, Kathy
Kathy was a member of AURA since its inception and actively supported the Disclosure Australia Project. Until recently, she regularly attended annual conferences in both the UK and the USA and knows a large number of global UFOlogists on a first name basis. She has written a number of articles for the English Flying Saucer Review, and such was her standing with the FSR that a few years ago she was asked if she would like to take up the editorship of that magazine. She declined. Kathy maintains regular contact with the diverse range of contacts she has established in personal meetings. In addition she has recently visited Cuba, Mongolia, and Tibet and taken opportunities to look at local UAP events in these countries. A number of unusual anomalies have appeared on photographs which Kathy has taken. Today, her interests are as strong as ever.

Dodd, Marc E
Mark was President of the AFSRS in the mid to late 1960’s and edited the AFSRS magazine during that time.

Fausch, Jeff
Jeff Fausch has had a private interest in UAP’s and the paranormal since the mid-1970s. In January 2001 he joined PRISM, as a committee member and investigator. He resigned in October 2001.

He co-formed Paranormal Field Investigators (PFI) with Alison Oborn in January 2002. The aim of the group was to investigate and research the paranormal using scientific methods and ideas. The group’s main interest was haunted locations and the UAP phenomena.

Jeff appeared with Alison Oborn on a number of television and radio interviews involving the paranormal subject.

In late 2002 Jeff joined AURA and assisted the Disclosure project in a minor roll. In mid-2006 with a number of members resigning, Jeff became the facilitator for AURA. Also in mid-2006 Jeff took over as AUFORN state director, replacing Dominic McNamara who moved to Sydney.

In 2005 Jeff gave a presentation on haunted locations investigated by PFI at a conference organised by Australian Cosmic Connections.

In late 2006 Jeff resigned from actively participating on PFI investigations and took a back seat role to pursue other projects. Alison Oborn took over the running of PFI.

Late in 2006 Jeff became a committee member of the Adelaide Gaol Preservation Society. In 2007, he put together a paranormal investigation workshop at the Adelaide Gaol with the assistance of Alison Oborn and Anna Bird, for the public to participate in and to raise money to help keep the Gaol open.

After that, together with Roger Koch, Jeff continued to run AURA meetings, which continue today at Jeff’s business address.

In 2017, Jeff published a “cold case” review of the 31 August 1954, Nowra, aircraft, radar-visual event, which was much discussed by Australian researchers. He has also compiled other “cold case” reviews of Australian and international events, which are currently unpublished.

Gillespie, Frank C
Frank was born in 1925 in Port Lincoln. He became interested in the subject following a personal UAP sighting in 1966 and was a member of the AFSRS from 1966 through to 1973 and also assisted the CIT. From 1974 he was a scientific consultant to UFORSA, and became UFORSA Treasurer in 1979, where he remained until his untimely death. Frank was interested in a range of topics concerning the UAP phenomenon, but specifically in physical aspects eg propulsion, and photographic analysis. One of his most remembered analytical articles was a comprehensive book review titled the “UAP…contact from the Pleiades” which explored the photographic evidence presented in a famous European case. (1)

Godic, Pony
Born in 1952 in Adelaide, Pony Godic developed an active interest in the UAP subject in the late 1960’s when she met the author while both worked for the Australian Government. Together with others, they were involved in investigating and documenting UAP reports being generated out of the mid-north area of the State, centred on the Clare Valley.

Later Pony, and Vladimir Godic met through their mutual interest in the UAP phenomenon. Both were initially involved in investigation of state reports but in 1980, with the creation of UFORA and the production of UFORAN their vision moved to the national level. Pony became Associate Editor of UFORAN in 1980, and over the next few years she also conducted her own current and retrospective investigations, e..g the 1983 “Simon” close encounter in Darwin; the 1981 Port Lincoln abduction case; the 1956 “Janet X” case, and the 1976 Elliot NT abduction event.  She had a wide ranging interest in all aspects of the UAP phenomenon and wrote for UFORAN, including a 1981 article titled “Is there a telepathic connection?” (1) and co-authored a major CUFOS Journal article.(2)

With the death of Vladimir in 1995, Pony returned to her home town of Adelaide and ceased her active interest in the subject.

Godic, Vladimir
Vladimir was born on 22 February 1926 in Yugoslavia and arrived in Australia in 1949. (1) According to Canberra researcher John Prytz (2) Vladimir developed a serious interest in the UAP phenomenon in the late 1940’s. He initially was involved with UFOPIA headed by Fred Stone. Between 1964 and 1968 he was a UFOPIA Senior Vice President; and an Investigations Officer between 1965 and 1968.

In 1968, together with another man and Crystal Walsh, Vladimir started UFO Research which was later renamed UFORSA. Vladimir remained a member of UFORSA until 1980. In this later year he, together with Pony Godic and this author started up the national level organization UFORA. UFORA’S Newsletter UFORAN was ably edited by the Godics, who tirelessly pursued a national agenda.

The following year, 1981 Vladimir saw a need to generate additional publicity for the Australian UAP research community and initiated the “UFO Research Publicity Board” as a means of doing so.

Vladimir participated in the use of the new technology, co-editing the first electronic book on Australian UFOlogy in 1991. This presented a spectrum of the excellent research which was being undertaken in this country at that time. He also encouraged a networking of Australian researchers to use electronic mail to keep in touch with each other

The Godics later moved UFORA operations from Adelaide to Cairns, Queensland where they continued to operate UFORA.  Aged 69 Vladimir passed away in Cairns after a heart attack (3) Vladimir will long be remembered for his innovative ideas.

Heathcock, Sister Ruth (MBE)
Sister Ruth was an Outback nurse and was married to Mounted Constable Ted Heathcock who was stationed at Roper Bar and Borroloola during the 1920s. She was one of the first white visitors to the “Hidden City” in Arnhem Land and was widely respected by the local Aboriginal people who called her "Pitjiri" ("the snake that will not sink") (1). In 1936 at a remote outpost in the Northern Territory, nine Aboriginal Elders appeared before Sister Ruth, believing that she was a member of their tribe before the Dreaming (2) they allowed her the unique privilege of seeing secret rituals performed and become party to secret Aboriginal knowledge.

Sister Ruth was a pioneer in black-white relations and was also involved with legislation regarding the non-isolation of leprosy sufferers, but she is perhaps better known for her 1941 attempted rescue of Horace Foster at Manangoorah during which she said she was assisted by two silent "white doctor angels" and saw "golden hands" operating on the doomed Foster – it was for this effort that she was awarded an MBE although she always claimed that it was 'the others' who had done the real work.  Sister Ruth later moved to Adelaide with her sister Marie, and she was involved with the establishment of an Aboriginal Heritage Centre; she was also a friend of Colin McCarthy’s. Sister Ruth was a “mystic” who strongly followed Rosicrutian teachings and she knew Doris Player from Clare; it was Ruth who first saw a rock feature called "the Chair" in a dream which led her to the formation where she inadvertently captured an apparent Jesus-like spiritual entity on film. Sister Ruth was also one of Peter Horne's closest friends during the last 20 years of her remarkable life, and her name is still respected widely in the Northern Territory to this day. (3)

Horne, Peter
Peter became interested in the subject in 1968, joined the AFSRS and met the author, John Burford, Paul Johnson and others with similar interests. With this group of people Peter conducted a number of investigations throughout South Australia, including the Wokurna trace case (Wokurna was one of the first examples of a very simple crop circle) and the "Kimba highway alien" case, and this interest led Peter to gain a great deal of interest in such fields as astronomy, meteorology and photography. 
One of the main areas of Peter’s interest was the UAP reports emerging from the Clare Valley; in the early 1970s he actively participated in a large number of field trips to the Clare region and was involved in research into Doris Player’s series of events. He also worked with UFO Research Inc. and along with the author, established the short-lived C.I.T. (Combined Investigations Team.)

Initially trending towards the extra-terrestrial and/or paranormal hypotheses, Peter's investigations utilising the scientific method ultimately led him to view UAPs and related aspects as being primarily a sociological phenomenon, and he subsequently lost active interest in the subject in the late 1970s. However, even today, in 2017, this author still enjoys periodical discussions, with Peter, about various aspects of the phenomenon.

Johnson, Mr, Mrs & Paul
In 1967, the Johnson family had reported sighting a pulsating elliptical, bright, blue-white object hovering a few hundred metres above the sea off Seacliff, an Adelaide coastal suburb. The object then accelerated away. The family reported it to UFOPIA which started up a relationship between them and Fred Stone. Paul became interested in the UAP subject, and together with the author and others, was involved with research into the Clare valley sightings of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Jones, Alan
Alan’s interest started in Sydney NSW, in the mid 1950’s when he first read books by authors Adamski and Allingham. He recalls that at that time there were lots of UAP sightings in NSW and these were mentioned in the press. He took an interest in “sky watching” which fired up his imagination. It wasn’t until 1974/75 however that his interest took on a more serious direction when he first met the author. He became involved in UFORSA and attended UAP meetings at Vlad Godic’s house in Prospect, Adelaide.

Alan’s most intriguing SA case was a multiple witness event which occurred at Port Lincoln during a bushfire. Alan, with the author’s assistance was able to triangulate the object’s apparent path and height. Alan sees the UAP phenomenon as a “real” one. As to its cause, he sees the Extra-Terrestrial hypothesis as possible; as is the inter-dimensional idea, but feels that a “time travel” explanation is probably not viable.

In 2017, he continues his lengthy interest in the subject, and enjoys in depth discussions on all aspects of this enigma.

McCarthy, Colin
Colin was investigating South Australian cases from at least 1959. In that year, along with Peter Thomas he looked into a claimed close encounter with photographic evidence which had been documented by Fred Stone(1) In 1962 he looked into the famous Sydney “milkman” CE3. (2) Colin was one of the earlier investigators of the Clare Valley, Doris Player series of encounters and entity visits, in association with Sister Ruth Heathcock. (3)

In the mid 1960’s he visited the UK, where in 1967 he presented a lecture on UAPs in Australia in the 50’s to early 60’s. He spoke about “…physical evidence, official silence, confiscated films and cameras…” (4) Returning to Adelaide by 1968 he attended AFSRS meetings. Between 1969 and 1972, along with the author, he investigated a number of Adelaide “contactee” cases.

In 1972 after returning again from the UK he gave a talk to the AFSRS on theories to explain the UAP phenomenon. “Some of the craft are thought to be not just extra-terrestrial but ULTRA terrestrial and manifestations from a multi-dimensional universe.” (5) He remained in Adelaide until at least 1979, but recent research has failed to uncover much else about his interests. It is known that he did not keep written notes on his investigations; but rather was regarded as a good “story teller.” (6)

Dom joined AURA in 2004 and worked tirelessly on the Disclosure Australia Project between 2004 and 2007. He liaised with the National Archives of Australia (NAA) on various matters relating to the Project, and spent hours trawling through the NAA website looking for UAP related material. To promote the Project he appeared on a number of radio and television interviews discussing the Project. He also presented papers at two UAP conferences about the Project’s work.

With interests in both UAPs and the Paranormal, Dom became AUFORN State Director for South Australia between 2004 and 2006. For some time, he contributed a regular column to the UFOlogist magazine titled “The Way home: Breakthrough Propulsion Physics.” Dom moved to Sydney in 2006, and joined the UAP Society of Western Sydney. He returned to Adelaide in 2016, but is still the secretary for what is now titled UFOPRSA(the UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia.)

Mills, Tom E
Tom reported a sighting in November 1972 from Athelstone, of a short duration green/white light in the sky which started off his interest in the subject. Tom was one of the AFSRS members who moved over to UFORSA in 1973 and was active in investigating a number of local sightings between 1973 and 1979. He was UFORSA Treasurer between 1977 and 1979, before retiring from the field.

Mitchell, Colin
Colin’s interest in UFOlogy started about 1987 and developed from reading plus hearing occasional accounts of other people’s encounters.  He joined UFO Research Queensland as he was living in Brisbane at the time. He attended meetings there and completed their UAP Investigators course.

Later, in Adelaide he joined Colin Norris’s UFO society, attended meetings and he also joined UFO Research Victoria and attended a few meetings in Melbourne. He also went along to AURA meetings in the early 2000’s. Colin has also been to meetings of Glenys Mckay’s group in Brisbane and AUFORN. In addition Colin has been to quite a few Australian UAP Conferences.

He remains open to a wide range of possible interpretations of UAP and alien encounters. He states that obviously many sightings are misinterpretations of natural or man-made phenomena.  Hypotheses to account for the remainder include purely psychological explanations up to the extraterrestrial hypothesis.  He also considers that time-travel has to be considered – the human like form of ‘aliens’ suggests possible future humanity or biologically engineered creations.  Many UAP ‘abductions’ obviously involve sleep-paralysis.  They could be powerful psychological experiences – this does not diminish their significance.

The best SA case, or at least the most intriguing that he  has personally heard, was from a couple of men who came to Colin Norris’s UAP society meetings and described an encounter while camped at the Strzelecki crossing.  They saw a huge ball of light in front of their car that flashed colours and caused them to abandon their tent and equipment.
Mitchell, Darren
Then a teenager, Darren Mitchell was associated with UFORSA for about a year in 1977. He investigated a small number of Adelaide sightings and wrote them up for the UFORSA Newsletter.

Mountford, Ray
Ray was at one stage in the 1960’s a Vice-President of UFOPIA. He went on to be associated with SPACERS.

Born 30 September 1920 Colin attended the Pallinga State School on South Australia’s West Coast, between 1933 and 1935. Between 1937 and 1941 he worked in office of a transport firm then as a salesman in a lino and soft furnishings firm, before enlisting in the RAAF on 6 May 1941 as a Trainee Technical. In 1942 he was stationed in Geralton WA. (1)

It was in 1942 that he later reported seeing his first UAP while he was in the RAAF and described seeing a round object coming towards him. Brown in colour and it had a purple “U” around the perimeter. (2) (3) He was demobbed from the RAAF in 1945. (4) It was in 1952 that he started studying the UAP subject and reportedly joined the AFSRS in 1957.

By 1963 he was the Society’s Vice President and traveled throughout South Australia to investigate sightings. “I just think the world might have something to gain from these people, who might be more advanced in knowledge than we are.” (5)

In 1965 he attended the Ballarat UAP convention and presented a talk “History of UFOs.” By 1968 he was the AFSRS Vice President and Public Relations Officer, and the highest public profile UAP researcher in the state. He was a proponent of the fact that alien visitors were coming to the Earth. He attended and presented at the 1971 ANZAS Conference.

He came to ASIO’s notice in 1972 when a memo related that: Norris “…claims to be in correspondence with Soviet academicians on the subject of unidentified flying objects…Norris spoke to members of the Young Socialists League in South Australia about UFOs…”  (6) Also in 1972, Colin stated he was critical of Government research “How long can the Government hoodwink the public in these matters.” (7) In 1984 he appeared on the Mike Walsh national television show following claims of livestock loss in the Adelaide Hills. (8) In 1995 he was cited as saying that he was then receiving between 50 to 60 UAP reports a year. (9)

Maintaining a high public media profile throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s he oversaw the production of numerous editions of the AFSRS’s Magazine, and continued to receive reports from all over South Australia. With health failing in the period 2000 to 2007, his profile declined to almost zero. He passed away on 13 July 2009.

Payne, Debbie
Debbie Payne has been interested in UAPs since 1992. This interest was originally sparked by a UAP sighting of her own, thus converting her previous scepticism. After meeting with like minded people shortly after her sighting, she became a member of The Australian International UFO Flying Saucer Research lead by Colin Norris, eventually becoming a committee member for many years until the club stopped holding public meetings.

Deb was then invited by the author to become one of the founding members of AURA, with the idea of carrying out research on particular topics worthy of investigation, and then to publish the results for the benefit of the wider UAP community. She spoke at National level conferences and wrote a number of magazine articles. 

For several years, she worked closely with Lloyd Pye on his ambitious "Starchild Project" and was influential in bringing Lloyd Pye to Australia in 2003. In 2007, Deb retired from the UFO community to pursue other interests and to spend time with her family.

Pearce, Laurie
Born in 1954, by 1969 Laurie was collecting book on UAPs. That same year was out in the backyard when he saw a silver object fly across the yard at Croydon Park. Trees swayed in vicinity of the object. He rang Colin Norris who interviewed him. Laurie became interested in UFOlogy; talked to UAP witnesses and conducted field investigations. In 1980 he became associated with Arthur Holden who started up a UAP group called “UFO Monitoring Communications.” Later, when Holden left PRISM Laurie took over as group facilitator, and later became the International Director.

Laurie organized a series of PRISM public meetings; started a relationship re UAP reports coming in to the SA Police; appeared on a number of radio shows; and ran numerous investigations into local UAP sightings; including into the renewed 2002/2003 claims of Jose Duran.  When interviewed in 2007 Laurie retained a very active interest in the subject despite PRISM itself being in “suspense” for the moment. Little is known of his UAP interests since 2007.

Piovesan, Dean
In the mid 1960’s Dean became interested after reading books such as by George Adamski. He attended meetings of the AFSRS. In 1972 Dean was working at John Martin’s Department store and recalls that a very successful UAP display was held.

In 1973 he jointly investigated the Kimba case. The local police officer drove Dean at 160km/hr out to the scene followed by three other researchers in a pursuit car. Dean feels this is his most intriguing case. Dean also recalls attending a 1973 meeting where Allen Hynek lectured in Adelaide.

Powell, Peter M
Peter Powell initiated UFORI in 1971. By December of that year Powell and the author were jointly investigating local cases. Powell published a magazine titled the “Australian UFO Report” for a couple of years, and also offered a book selling service. It ceased when Powell went on to other interests.
Robb, Kevin
In 1995, at Waitpinga Beach, in South Australia, Kevin viewed an object in the sky and experienced a period of missing time. He became spiritually aware and developed a technique to aid others with multi-dimensional and extraterrestrial experience. He presented a talk titled “Dimensional interaction in South Australia” at the Australian national Conference in Brisbane in 2001. In 2005 he organized a “UFO & Metaphysical” conference in Adelaide and himself presented a paper titled “Letting go of all fear- from abductee to enlightenment.” Kevin is currently associated with Australian Cosmic Connection.

Sawyer, Glenn
Glenn was associated with the SPACERS group.

Seer, Alan
Alan lived at Murray Bridge and was a regional investigator for UFORSA in the early 1970’s. He assisted investigate the 30 Nov 1972 Murray Bridge, Maxwell  CE2 case.

Stone, Frederick Phillip
Fred Stone was born on 23 September 1903 in Parkside, Adelaide and was enlisted in the Defence Forces between 1939 and 1948.(1) He had an intense interest in the subject of flying saucers which lasted between 1953 and 1972. He started the Australian Flying Saucer Club in 1953 following a personal sighting. (2)  Then in 1954 formed a South Australian branch of the Sydney based Australian Flying Saucer Bureau. The 1954 electoral role shows his profession as “Trimmer.”  Later in 1955 the AFSRS was initiated by Stone (3); who also started a NSW Branch in that same year (4). However by 1956 this branch reverted to UFOIC.

Stone’s 1955 view of “flying saucers” was: “We know and can reasonably prove:
(a) That U.F.O.’s exist and that they are extra terrestrial                                                
(b) That they are manned and controlled by beings of a high order of intelligence, mentally and spiritually.” (5)

Between 7 March 1955 and 7 March 1956 the Disclosure Australia Project located 15 pieces of correspondence between Fred Stone and DAFI, RAAF Melbourne. These papers are on files 114/1/197 and 554/1/30 Part 1. Fred’s correspondence initially advised the RAAF that the AFSRS had been recently formed in South Australia. Then Stone went on to seek a liaison with the RAAF. Later on he sought information about two prospective new members of the AFSRS. He also sought and was granted an interview with the RAAF in September 1955. Following this meeting Stone stated that the RAAF promised closer liaison with civilian UAP groups. “The Dept. prefers to deal with one national body.” (6) Following this, later in 1955 Stone sought a liaison in South Australia. The Secretary of Air wrote to the WRE re Stone’s request.

In 1957 Stone formed the AFSRS (Victorian Branch) Later in 1957 the group changed its name with Peter Norris as President, and John Pinkney, to VFSRS. (7)

In July 1960 Stone again wrote to the RAAF who forwarded his letter to ASIO ACT, who in turn passed it to ASIO HQ. In this letter Stone, referring to a Sydney based UAP group “…the Sydney one which has some folks in its control who have ‘pink’ tendencies…” The ASIO memo suggests “The writer (STONE) may have some potential value for regional Director, SA…” (8)

In 1962, the year ASIO wrote a report on the AFSRS, Stone started UFOPIA. According to one of my interviews this was reportedly because Fred and Colin Norris fell out due to their respective egos. (9) At the 1965 Ballarat UAP Convention, Stone called for unity among UAP groups.

Stone wrote a number of editorials in his two UAP publications, Australian Saucer Record Vol 1 1955 to Vol 9 1963 and Panorama Vol 1 1962 Vol 10 1971 which had a religious message. This was, according to one of my interviews, due to the fact that Stone was an ex Salvation Army member and deeply religious.

By 1969 Stone decided that it was time to wind down citing age and ill health. In 1970   Stone advised the Committee that he intended to resign. In March 1971 Stone resigned as President. By May 1972 UAPPIA went into permanent recession and never came back. Stone passed away in 1976.

This author was fortunate to meet Fred’s son, Rodney in 2015, and discuss aspects of his father’s UAP work.

Thomas, Peter David
In 1955 Peter was the Hon Assistant Secretary of the AFSRS (1) and sub-editor of the Australian Saucer Record (2) The following year he was involved in the investigation of the Janet X case where hypnosis was utilized on a young girl to explore her recollections, of a trip aboard a flying saucer (3). In 1956 he demonstrated a “light beam communicator” intended to exchange messages with the occupants of flying saucers. (4)

In 1959 he was co-investigator with Colin McCarthy of the 1954 account of a close encounter with photographic evidence. (5) Research has failed to find out anything else about his interests until 1988 when Pony Godic was in correspondence with Peter over the Janet X case. The author understands Peter has now passed away. (6)

Verdonk, Jan
Jan Vedonk was mentioned in Australian Saucer Record Vol 9 No 1 March 1963 as a member of UFOPIA. The 1964 Sands & McDougall directory has an entry which shows Verdonk, J 15 Thurles Street, St Marys

Walsh, Crystal
Crystal’s parents had a friend called Dennis Curr and in her early teens Crystal can recall Dennis talked about the Roswell case in detail. She became intrigued. In the mid 1950’s she used to sit on the lawn at night, look at the sky and wonder whether there were life forms on the stars Around 1967 Crystal joined UFOPIA and was involved in investigating local cases. It was on one such case investigation that she met Vladimir Godic. The two of them went on to co-form UFOR in 1968 in order to conduct more scientific investigations of the subject. Crystal’s best case is the 1972 Helen Benger encounter. Crystal lost her active interest for in depth investigations around 1973, but has maintained a “watching brief” since then.

Whitehead, Brian
Brian Whitehead founded UPIA after he and others left the AFSRS following a special general meeting on 16 November 1967 where a vote of “no confidence” was moved against Colin Norris. (1)

In summary

Long gone are the days of large, institutionalised UAP groups such as the AFSRS and UFOPIA. As early as the mid 1990’s, UAP groups, such as UFORSA and UFORA had small but active memberships. They focussed on the task of conducting research programs rather than spending time and money on building and maintaining large public memberships. AURA, modeled on the innovative UFORSA and UFORA, carried out the highly successful “Disclosure Australia” Project. However, the ageing nature of South Australian researchers means that, in 2017, fewer and fewer are active in the classic research methodology.

The age of the Internet, has meant that, in 2017, most individuals with an interest in UAP, get their information in short bursts from such sources as Facebook, and various websites. Unfortunately, these fail to provide in-depth documentation, and almost entirely lack in debate and discussion.

The author wishes to thank all those who consented to being interviewed in preparation of this article, and to those who reviewed its initial drafts. Special thanks to:

·         John Burford for documentation he kept on the late 1960’s to late 1970’s era
·        Peter Horne for his additional information on Sister Ruth Heathcock.


(1) “Truth” newspaper article from 1959 located in a collection of press clippings compiled by Clive Williams in 1995.
(2) Australian Saucer Record (ASR) Volume 2 Number 2 p14

(1) National Archives of Australia: A703, Control symbol 114/1/197 p42.
(2) Australian Saucer Record Volume 1 Number 4 p3.
(3) Australian Saucer Record Volume 2 Number 2.
(4) VUFORS’ website 2007.
(5) Adelaide Advertiser 31 August 1957.
(6) “Cosmic Concerto” series on Radio 2JJ during the late 1970’s.
(7) Interview with Anthony E Bran 2007.
(8) National Archives of Australia A6122, control symbol 2155 “Queensland Flying Saucer Bureau Volume 1.”
(9) Interview with John Burford 2007.
(10) Interview with John Burford 2007.
(11) National Archives of Australia A6122, control symbol 2155 “Queensland Flying Saucer Bureau Volume 1.”



Interview with Laurie Pearce 2007.

Interview with Anthony E Bran 2007.

(1) Prytz, J. 1982.  “Who’s Who in Australian UFOlogy.” ACUAPS. Gosford.
(2) Interview with Anthony E Bran 2007.
(3) Interviews with Anthony E Bran; Crystal Walsh and John Burford 2007.
(4) “Panorama” Volume 10 Numbers 5/6.

Interview with John Burford 2007.

UFORSA Newsletter number 25 dated May-Jun 1977.

UFORAN Editorial Vol 1 No 1 1980.

Sunday Mail 13 August 1995.

(1) Interview with Anthony E Bran 2007.
(2) Panorama Volume 10 Number 3
(3) Panorama Volume 9 number 6
(4) Panorama Volume 10 Numbers 5/6
(5) Panorama Volume 7 number 2.

(1) UFORAN Volume 1 Number 2 Mar/Apr 1980 p11.
(2) UFORAN Volume 1 Number 1 Jan/Feb 1980 pp33-37.

Interview with John Burford 2007.

(1) National Archives of Australia: A703, Control symbol 114/1/197 p42.
(2) ASR Volume 1 Number 4 p3.
(3) “Adelaide Advertiser” 7 June 1956.

Interview with John Burford 2007.

UFORAN Volume 2 Number 1 Jan/Feb 1981 pp30-32.

Godic, P
(1) UFORAN Volume 2 number 2. 1981.         
(2) Basterfield, K., Godic, V, Godic, P, & Rodeghier, M. 1990. “Australian UAPlogy:A Review.” JUAPS New Series Volume 2 pp19-44.

Godic, V
(1) National Archives of Australia Series A446 control symbol 1955/13690.
(2) Prytz, J. 1982.  “Who’s Who in Australian UFOlogy.” ACUFOS. Gosford.  
(3) Obituary in UFO Reporter Vol 4 No 1 March 1995

(2) (see
(3) Email from Peter Horne, May 2007.
(4) Interview with John Burford 2007.

(1) Interview with John Burford 2007.
(2) Email from Peter Horne 2007

Hervey, M. 1969. “UFOs over the Southern Hemisphere.” Horwitz. Sydney. p148.

Interview Alan Jones 2007

(1) Chalker, B. 1996. “UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under: The Australian Military & Government Role in the UAP controversy.”
(2) Buckle, E. “The Scoriton Mystery.” Neville Spearman. 1967.
(3) Interview with John Burford 2007.
(4) Connors, W. “UFOs across the Ponds: An audio retrospective of British & Australian Cases.” Alberquerque, New Mexico. Track 23. “Colin McCarthy lectures on the UFO in Australia from the early 1950s to the early 1960s. January 7, 1967.”
(5) AFSRS Magazine Sep 1972 p 11.
(6) Interview with John Burford 2007.

(1) National Archives of Australia series A9301 Item number 39314.
(2) “UFO Man” on “George Negus Tonight” 24 May 2004
(3) Adelaide News 27 April 1978.
(4) National Archives of Australia series A9301 Item number 39314.
(5) Adelaide News 22 July 1963.
(6) National Archives of Australia A6122, control symbol 2155 “Queensland Flying Saucer Bureau Volume 1.”
(7) Adelaide News 16 September 1972.
(8) Mt Barker Courier 18 July 1984.
(9) Sunday Mail 13 August 1995.

Interview with Laurie Pearce 2007.

Interview with Dean Piovesan 2007.


(1) NAA file series B884 control symbol S29785.
(2) ASR Volume 2 Number 2 p14.
(3) National Archives of Australia series A703 control symbol 114/1/197 p 42.
(4) ASR Volume 1 Number 4 p3.
(5) ASR Volume 1 Number 4 p8.
(6) ASR Volume 1 Number 4 p4.
(7) VUFORS website 2006.
(8) National Archives of Australia A6122, control symbol 2155 “Queensland Flying Saucer Bureau Volume 1.”
(9) Interview with Anthony Bran 2007.

(1) National Archives of Australia: A703, Control symbol 114/1/197 p42.
(2) ASR Volume 1 Number 4 .
(3) ASR Volume 1 Number 4 pp12-17.
(4) Adelaide News 7 June 1956.
(5) Chalker, B. (1996.) “UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under: The Australian Military & Government Role in the UAP controversy.”

Interview with Crystal Walsh 2007.

Interview with John Burford 2007. 

Project Galileo

Project Galileo Or to give it its full name, "The Galileo project for the Systematic Scientific Search for Evidence of Extraterrestrial...