Thursday, June 23, 2022

The continuing search for Australian government documents concerning the 6 April 1966, Westall event

A report by Paul Dean, Shane Ryan, and Keith Basterfield 

Background

Many UAP researchers have spent time searching for references to the 6 April 1966 UAP event at Westall, Melbourne, Australia, in the files of the Australian government. The only reference we know about, was in a lengthy letter from a private individual to the Australian Department of Defence (DOD). In that letter, the individual posed a number of questions, and one was about Westall. The resultant response from the DOD did not answer many of the questions, and did not refer to Westall at all.

What researchers have more recently been looking for, is an official report which sets out what really happened that day. From numerous witnesses who were there at the time, we know that government officials told students and at least one teacher, not to talk about the event. We also know from members of the family, of a then senior officer of the former Australian government Department of Supply (DOS) that he wrote an official report on the incident. No one has ever found a copy of this report. In short, we can say that no-one has ever been able to locate any Australian government document that tells us exactly what occurred that day.

Department of Supply

An example of a DOS UAP file cover

Because of what we have learnt from our own research,  and what Australian investigative journalist Ross Coulthart wrote in his book "In Plain Sight," the recent focus of the search for references to Westall in Australian government files, has been on files generated by the DOS; in particular the Division which dealt with aircraft, and guided weapons. None of the known, and available, DOS files has been found to mention Westall. 

Image courtesy of Amazon Books

A three year search

Three years ago, we decided to look for previously unknown and unreleased DOS files, held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA.) We found a file series, MP1899/1  which seemed likely to have relevance to our search. However, none of the individual files from the series was listed on the NAA's database, called "RecordSearch."

A trip was then made, to the Melbourne office of the NAA, and there we located a hard copy "finding aid" listing the files in the series MP1899/1. This list of file control symbols and titles, was generated by the DOS when they transferred the files to the NAA. We looked through this list, and selected a small number of files which seemed the most relevant.

Time went by, during which there were a series of emails and telephone calls exchanged with the NAA. However, no files eventuated. After a couple of years of focussing on other research matters, we decided to return to the question of these DOS files. We determined that these files were still in existence and held at the NAA Burwood storage facility. During this process one of us got within 100 metres of the files, but were not allowed to look at them because their status was "not yet examined." Arrangements were then made, with the NAA Melbourne office, for the files to be "examined," and in late 2021 they were registed on RecordSearch. In January  and February 2022, one by one, their status changed to "open." This meant one could order a digital copy of the files (an expensive business) or view the files, in person, at the Melbourne NAA office.

The eight files



1. File series MP1899/1, control symbol G162/105/10. Barcode 1406735. Titled "Monthly report for Minister - 1966."

2. File series MP1899/1, control symbol G454/101/4 PART 2. Barcode 14406753. Titled "P.E.R.T. [Programme Evaluation Review Technique] Monthly reports from regional offices."

3. File series MP1899/1, control symbol G401/104/2. Barcode 14406739. Titled "Miscellaneous classified correspondence removed from project files."

4. File series MP1899/1, control symbol G454/101/4 PART 1. Barcode 14406733. Titled "Programme evaluation review techniques [PERT] Monthly reports from regional offices (1965-1969) A.G. W. & E.S. [Aircraft,  guided weapons and electronic supplies] comments."

5. File series MP1899/1, control symbol G433/106/10. Barcode 14406734. Titled "Australia/USA logistics arrangements estimates of expenditure requirements - A.G.W & E.S. Division aspects."

6. File series MP1899/1, control symbol G162/105/11 PART 1. Barcode 14406736. Titled "Department of Supply - Monthly report 1966."

7. File series MP1899/1, control symbol G162/105/11PART 2,. Barcode 14406737. Titled " Department of Supply - monthly report -1966."

8. File series MP1899/1, control symbol G177/107/3. Barcode 14406738. Titled "Guided weapons and electronic section - AGW&E Division (All states) - organisational matters."

The files are viewed

Credit: Shane Ryan


Due to a number of issues, such as COVID, family matters, and the days when the Melbourne NAA office is open; it wasn't until mid June 2022, that arrangements could be made for us to physically view the above files.

An examination of the above files was conducted on 22 June 2022 at the Melbourne NAA office. No material, relevant to the Westall incident was noted on any of the files. This further deepens the mystery of why no-one is able to locate any official documentation on this event.

Even though this latest search, has proved negative; we wished to document it, to indicate the thoroughness of our government files search for Westall related material.

4 comments:

  1. Keith, is there still a facility / office at Mildura where one could enquire in person about any Hibal flight records?

    ReplyDelete
  2. The HIBAL program wrapped up in the 1970’s and all records went to the NAA.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Grant Robinson pointed to DSTO and east sale RAAF.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The DSTO wasn’t created until 1974.

      Delete

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