Thursday, December 11, 2014

The New South Wales spotlight on UFOs

The New South Wales (NSW) Spotlight on UFOs
By Bill Chalker
(The main part of this article appeared in 2007 as a feature piece in the Australian magazine Ufologist.  This version updates the original report)
The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) has a rich history of organised interest in the UFO subject.  It proceeds from the solitary interest of one individual Edgar R. Jarrold, when he began Australia’s first public civilian UFO group – the Australian Flying Saucer Bureau (AFSB) – in July 1952, through to the myriad manifestations we have now. This article will focus on these NSW responses to the UFO mystery.
THE FIFTIES
Edgar Jarrold, widely viewed as the pioneer or father of Australian ufology, in his own words was just an “interested observer of the first 1947 sightings of weird aerial objects.” That interest deepened in May 1951 when Jarrold (then a 32 years old foundry worker) had his own sighting of “something very unusual in the night sky” from a Sydney suburb. He indicated, “There were two of them – flying saucers I mean.  They appeared as fast moving yellow lights.  One followed the other.  I rang the papers about it and found that many other people had seen saucers at the time.”  He felt the bright objects were under intelligent control, but “appeared to possess no solid body sustaining them.”  Following personal investigations of his own sighting and other reports Jarrold was surprised that “no body existed in Australia for the purpose of recording and correlating all available data regarding the strange apparitions,” so on July 31, 1952, Jarrold formed the AFSB based at his Fairfield Sydney home.  
In May 1953 he began publishing the Australian Flying Saucer Magazine. Six issues of the magazine were issued (May 1953, August 1953, November 1953, March 1954, August 1954 and February 1955). The group was initially a one man operation. In January 1954 Andrew Tomas became AFSB's "Sydney observer" and an assistant to Edgar Jarrold. Other members of this first public Australian flying saucer group, included Dr. W.P. Clifford, his wife Mrs. I. de L. Clifford, Mr. Gordon Deller, Mr. David O. Moore, Mr. Michael Duggan, Mr. Mueller-Sorau and Dr. Miran Lindtner.  (See also my article in the Ufologist First Quarter 2000, “The Jarrold File” and No.6, 2002 “Andrew Tomas: Australian UFO Pioneer (1906-2001)”) By July 1955 Jarrold had abandoned his AFSB work. Sydney based UFO work was adrift.
During the latter part of 1955 Andrew Tomas accepted the idea of making a New South Wales (NSW) state branch of the South Australia based Australian Flying Saucer Research Society which was run by Fred Stone. This was a short lived arrangement. Soon, the members from the remanents of the AFSB (the people listed above and others), and those of the AFSRS (NSW) branch, sort to establish themselves as an independent group.  In November 1956 the group UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC) was formed to continue the Sydney based UFO work first begun by Jarrold and Tomas. Dr. Clifford became the first UFOIC president, followed briefly by Dr. J. Greenwell (December 1958 to 27 February 1959). Dr. Miran Lindtner then took on the UFOIC presidency position, continuing an energetic and dynamic period of research and investigation.  
(Source: Australiasian Post)
UFOIC became the centre of UFO work in NSW and provided an energetic focus for public meetings, investigations, publications and research. UFOIC embraced the appearance of television in Australia with some gusto. What seems to have been the first factual UFO programme on Australian TV was aired at 7.10 pm on Tuesday January 29th 1957 on Channel 7 in Sydney.  Dr. Miran Lindtner and Andrew Tomas appeared on Australia’s first TV current affairs programme, Howard Craven’s “At Seven on Seven”.  In a 10 minute segment a range of material was covered, including showing a number of UFO photos – “the Kentucky tracer bullets”, “the Brazilian discs”, the “Paris saucer”, “Adamski’s mother ship & scouts”, and the “coast guard photo of 4 luminous discs.”  UFOIC published the UFO Bulletin (June 1957, September 1957, December 1957, March 1958, June 1958, September 1958, January 1959, April 1959 and July 1959) which carried information about key cases of the period. Further TV interviews with UFOIC members occurred over the following months, including appearances by Jack Kunst and Fred Phillips.  The Katoomba flap of 1957 also attracted TV attention.
A number of UFOIC branches and separate groups appeared in the late 1950s.  The UFOIC Mt Druitt branch became an independent group but appears not to have continued after the death of its young president Dr. E. Very early in 1959.  With the rash of UFO sightings around Katoomba during 1957 Terry Body became the UFOIC representative for a Blue Mountains UFO group.  It seemed when the sightings abated the local group lapsed or merged with UFOIC. 
David Osborne Moore (a participant in the AFSB and the early UFOIC) formed a group called the Northern Suburbs Flying Saucer Research Association.  It rose to some prominence with the 1959 visit of George Adamski, the controversial contactee figure, then slipped into obscurity.  By June 1962 David Moore would claim he had seen 26 separate UFO sightings mainly from his Manly home since 1955. One afternoon in 1955, after having watched fruitlessly for UFOs for 11 years he claimed (1944?), David Moore and his wife saw three within a few hours.  David Moore often reported his sightings to the RAAF.  On one RAAF file Sgt. Cusick of the RAAF Provost Service, Field Security Section, Sydney (March 1958) wrote, "Mounted in the backyard of his residence (North Manly) was a 7" telescope with which (Mr. Moore) claimed he and fellow members of the UFO (?) kept watch on selected nights.  Also in his possession were numerous publications and charts containing information regarding UFO sightings.  The services of this group were offered to the RAAF by Mr. Moore, who stated that they would keep watch on a "hush hush" basis."  Not surprisingly, nothing seemed to come of this offer.  Mr. Moore passed away in 1975.
Even though George Adamski’s visit to Australia was a big event on the local saucer scene UFOIC took steps to distance itself from the contactee spectre, not altogether successfully.  Some aspects of Adamski’s Sydney visit were at best a shambles and Dr. Greenwell resigned from the group presidency, in part over the problems.  Miran Lindtner took over and helped steer the group along in a scientifically focused approach.  Elements within the group had interests in diverse areas, some mystical, spiritual and even in contactee areas, such as the bizarre Aetherius Society, but none of these overshadowed the main objective focus of the group. 
One of the more impressive sightings of this early period was reported to UFOIC by the witness Brian Crittenden (21).  The Casino area experience lasted for about 15 minutes.  He described it in the UFOIC “UFO Bulletin” of March 1958:
“I was leaving my girl-friend’s house on Farm Hill at 11.45 pm, on Monday, January 13th (1958).  As I closed the fence gate on the way home, I saw a dome-shaped light with a long narrow light underneath which was bright and glowing.  It came over the hill from the east and straight towards me.  I was so shocked that I ignored a half flat tyre and jumped into the car and sped towards home.  The strange object followed me 3 miles on Benns Road.  It appeared to be about 50 yards away and about 30 feet high, practically touching the telegraph poles.  Its size was about that of a sedan car.  The object chased my car, overtook it though I was travelling at 65 to 70 m.p.h. in my panic, hovered for a few seconds and then swooped low over the roof of my car.  It kept repeating its actions until I reached town, 7 miles from my girlfriend’s home… It is a notable fact that my car radio developed interference as the object was approaching.”
THE SIXTIES
During August, 1960, a resident of the northern Newcastle suburb of Belmont witnessed an intriguing close encounter.  At about 1.30 am, Mrs. Helen Aldridge was awoken by a buzzing noise.  Looking out a window she saw "a bright, round object, not unlike a large musical top" resting in an adjacent paddock only some 50 to 70 feet away.  A light on top of the object "rotated and projected a yellowish white beam, illuminating the paddock, house and garden as it swept around.  The object itself, however, glowed red and gold and showed a surface pattern like that of a camouflaged tank.  It gave out a continuous low pitched buzzing sound."  It appeared to be about 14 feet across and apparently 4 feet high, with a foot high lighted strip running around it.   Mrs. Aldridge then saw a small humanoid figure, between 31/2 to 4 feet in height, approaching the house through the garden.  The figure appeared to have normal body proportions.  It was dressed in "an olive-green, skin tight suit of a dull material... (with) a helmet of the same material, but with a face piece of non transparent, orangey plastic-like substance."  The figure also appeared to be wearing whitish-grey footwear, like basketball boots.   This figure walked along the side fence (11/2 to 2 feet high) apparently looking at the ground.  It climbed over the fence.  When it had approached to about 10 feet from her,  Mrs. Aldridge went to wake her son.  When they got back to the window, the figure and the UFO were gone.  They did see a bright, glowing object moving slowly in the sky about a mile away.  Mrs. Aldridge kept her experience largely to herself until a relation told the UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC) during about 1967 (UFOIC files 1967 held by the author).
Another striking case occurred near Vaucluse Beach, one of Sydney's beach suburbs, at about 5.30 pm, on July 19th, 1965.  Between showers and high winds, Dennis Crowe, a former technical artist with English aircraft companies, was walking along the beach, near his home.  He became aware of a glow coming from what appeared to be a huge disc shaped object resting on leg like structures.  The object's diameter was estimated at some 20 feet.  It had a glowing, greenish blue rim, while the top and bottom halves were dull silver grey in appearance.  Crowe thought a hollow in the top could have been a glass dome.  He could not make out any sign of movement in the object.  When he approached the object to within 50 to 60 feet, it suddenly lifted off the ground.  A noise, like air being forcibly released from a balloon, was noticed.  The UFO climbed rapidly and within 10 seconds had disappeared into clouds.  There were no other witnesses to the encounter ave a dozen or so dogs.  While the object was stationary they were all barking loudly at it.  After it took off they were all strangely silent.   A geologist made independent calculations at the landing site which confirmed definite traces of an unusual object having rested there.  He stated that the vegetation there was dying and would remain dead for a number of years.   The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) put forward a possible explanation for this extraordinary incident.  They suggested it was a "tornado"!  
A striking entity sighting sighting occured in suburban Sydney, at Greenacre, on April 25th, 1969.  At 7.30 pm, a woman and her daughter (11) were travelling by taxi past Roberts Park.  Young boys were playing football under spotlights.  The woman and her daughter spotted a "Japanese Lantern" near the trees, above and behind the spotlights.  A minute later, as the taxi turned a corner, they saw it again, 30 to 40 metres away, apparently in the same spot.  The Greek driver stopped the taxi.  They could see what looked like a metallic craft, approximately 10 metres in diameter, with the appearance of "two soup bowls joined rim-to-rim".  There was a steady red light on top.  The object seemed to noiselessly rocking backwards and forwards, at a frequency of 1 to 2 rocks per second.  This movement allowed some astonishing details to be seen. 
A "depressing blue glow" from the interior of the object was visible through a window that took up most of the upper part.  A humanoid figure could be seen, apparently operating controls near the window.  Another figure was pointingat the witnesses.  A third seemed to be walking towards a back door.  All three figures were apparently human size and were observed either in silhouette, were wearing black tight clothing or were black skinned.  The boys in the park apparently did not notice the extraordinary display above them, ostensibly due to the bright canopy of light formed by the spotlights.    After 15 seconds or less, the driver sped off down the road, dropped off the couple and drove off quickly without taking their fare.  At 8.00 pm, the woman and her daughter returned to the park.  All appeared normal.  The UFO was not to be seen. An investigation was undertaken in 1971 by Martin Drawbridge & Barry French.  See UFOIC Newsletter No. 31, June/July 1971. A detailed retrospective investigation was undertaken by David Reneke, UFO Research NSW, in 1979.  Report in UFOIC/UFOR (NSW) files held by Bill Chalker.  The witnesses were also interviewed by Roger Climpson for his Channel 7 TV documentary “UFOs Fact or Fiction?”
In cooperation initially with the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society (VFSRS) and later also with the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau, UFOIC published the Australian Flying Saucer Review (January 1960, April 1960, September 1960, February 1961, July 1961, January 1962 and November 1962). The interstate cooperative effort lapsed. VFSRS began publishing its own Australian Flying Saucer Review Victorian edition in May 1964. UFOIC published 3 issues of its own NSW edition (June 1965, November 1966 and the much delayed December 1969 issue). UFOIC also began publishing the UFOIC Newsletter beginning with Issue 1 in March 1964 and with Issue 26 by December 1969.
UFOIC worked closely with the authors of the first three UFO books in Australia – James Holledge, Richard Tambling and Michael Hervey. UFOIC was profiled in James Holledge’s 1965 compilation “Flying Saucers over Australia. There was a focus on some compelling Sydney area cases in Richard Tambling’s 1967 book “Flying Saucers – Where do they come from?”, namely “the Canterbury saucer” incident of March 8th 1967 – a striking daylight disc encounter, “the Wollstonecraft Object” of February 1967 and Denis Crowe’s striking sighting of a UFO on Vaucluse Beach in July 1965. It took a few years before Tambling disclosed his own “secret life” as a contactee himself. 
While Tambling’s book covered some of the better recent local sightings, it was his infatuation with contactee photos (particularly those of Dan Fry and Paul Villa) that set the tone and with hindsight revealed his calling.  As an Air Force photographer Tambling should have been a bit more critical, but subsequently all pretence was put aside.  Tambling was a full blown contactee.  His space visitors came from Uranus no less.  A 400 year old alien named Namoi revealed to Tambling and his followers that catastrophe was at hand. Tambling's journey into the world of contactees ostensibly began in 1967, the year his book appeared. 
Michael Hervey’s 1969 book “UFOs over the Southern Hemisphere” had a foreword written by UFOIC’s secretary Bill Moser.  Hervey, in his acknowledgements indicated without the help of Moser and Dr. Lindtner the book “would never have been written.” The book was not without its obvious problems.  Hervey lack the judgement that comes with experience with the UFO subject, and thus low weight cases were often given prominence often at the cost of limited coverage of more substantial cases.  Further still the lack of careful editing meant some avoidable errors crept into the text.  Despite this the book represented a useful catalogue of Australian events.
A number of other groups appeared during the sixties. In 1967 the Newcastle UFOIC was formed with Rosemary Pendlebury as its president. She supplied to UFOIC the details of the 1960 Belmont entity case.  The witness was a relation of hers.  The Canberra UFO Research Society was formed on September 5 1967 with Harry Zwankhuizen as president and Vicki Klein as secretary.  Vicki Klein also had a “secret life” – an early abduction odyssey – which I described in detail in my book “Hair of the Alien.” She also had a sighting that featured a “UFO detector” alarm going off.
The Picton Ufological Society formed in the mid sixties undertook some impressive research in the Picton area south west of Sydney.  It was led by a local science teacher Ron Gunn.  The group undertook extensive field work and monitoring of UFO activity in areas like Razorback and the Burragorang valley.  For example during early May 1968 a field excursion to Razorback yielded 3 confirmed sightings.  According to the group “the craft came so close to the observers that its shape was clearly defined with the naked eye. In addition, it caused significant secondary effects.”  (Picton Post May 23 1968) The peak periods of activity were in 1968 and 1969 but monitored activity continued through to 1973.  The activity of the Picton group also seemed to attract intense surveillance activities from certain quarters, possible military or intelligence, to an extent that led to the cessation of the group’s UFO research activities.
By 1969 another organisation APIC was formed by K.S. McKern in Sydney who set up sky-watching cameras within a 4 square mile area, some with diffraction gratings attached, “in an attempt to acquire permanent and informative data on UFOs.” (“Spacelink” magazine, January 1970) At least two “unidentified light sources” were recorded and one of the photos was examined by Dr. Don Herbison Evans, of Sydney University, who had called for an active research effort to secure such photos utilising a “UFO identification kit” he had developed. He was hoping that such efforts might provide evidence for the light spectra of UFOs.  Recently Dr. Herbison-Evans confirmed to me that while he had received some photos they were poor quality and did not appear to contain useful evidence.  McKern had also apparently taken a photo of a rocket shaped object that allegedly risen out of the water off Coogee Beach on May 10 1968.  He reported that the object that rotated and shot off to the north.  The image on the photo resembled a scratch on the negative. (see Spacelink July 1969 & UFORAN Jan-Feb 1980)
The UFOIC group went through a period of crisis with the tragic accidental death of its president Dr. Miran Lindtner on August 29 1969.  Frederick Phillips became president during this difficult period.
THE SEVENTIES  
A transitional period for UFOIC followed, punctuated by some internal difficulties and cooperation & discord with a new organisation UFORPA (UFO Research Projects of Australia) run by Frankh Wilks.
UFORPA sought to energise and revitalise active research and investigation, and found it difficult to do this within the existing structure and then current disposition of UFOIC. Members of UFORPA even tried to take UFOIC over in December 1972 in an effort to envigorate the lapsing activities of UFOIC. The attempt was unsuccessful, but within a year and half elements of UFORPA led by David Buching did achieve this objective, but without Frankh Wilks, who by then (early 1974) had to put his UFO group activities on hold for personal reasons. A number of members of UFOIC (including Fred Phillips, Bill Moser, and Michael Smyth) participated in this process and a revitalised UFOIC was underway by early 1974.

1973 was a year of tremendous flux in UFOIC activities. Limited investigations were being undertaken by UFOIC and UFORPA seemed to be more active in this area. This was reflected in a Channel 7 TV documentary which appeared in early 1973. Written, producted and presented by news veteran and the face of Channel 7 news Roger Climpson "UFOs Fact or Fiction?" presented a lot of sighting material from UFORPA investigations.  UFORPA also carried out expeditions and monitoring in the Burragorang Valley. UFORPA's attempted UFOIC "coup" in December 1972 further unsettled the remanents of UFOIC that had limped into the early 1970s. While UFORPA survived in a manner through 1973, Frankh Wilks' departure led to a diffusion effect between URORPA and UFOIC - a "marriage" that had been developing throughout 1972, then briefly aborted by years end because of the "coup" attempt. The visit of Dr. Allen Hynek to Australia in August 1973 helped the process of the diffusion of active and interested elements in UFOIC and UFORPA to combine forces in a reborn UFOIC. These were slowly nutured developments which were formalised by early 1974.
As a country NSW member of UFOIC I remained largely removed from these developments, but I was receptive to any active investigation and research developments in the "on and off" UFOIC/UFORPA "marriage". These were best communicated to me by David Buching. Early in 1973 I had visited Sydney and was disappointed with the lack of focus and activity that seemed evident in UFOIC. I even found a recent investigation report of a striking close encounter I had documented (which was later published in the British Flying Saucer Review Vol. 19, No. 5, Sept - Oct 1973 as "Tractor driver under "cold scrutiny" by UFO") languishing in a pile of UFOIC case files in a exposed outside storage shed. It seemed to me at the time that UFOIC was in a drastic decline. My pessimism was short lived when my investigations of the Tyringham Dundurrabin UFO flap of 1973 attracted the attention of David Buching and his "UFORPA/UFOIC" investigation team. David and members of the team came up from Sydney (on 4 seperate occassions in July, August, October and November 1973). These visits and our close cooperation during them led me to re-evaluate the future of UFOIC. When I finally moved to Sydney in 1975 I quickly became more involved with UFOIC and joined its management committee.

Out of this process emerged a revitalised UFOIC committee with an energetic investigative team lead by David Buching. It continued the UFOIC Newsletter run beginning with issue 40 in May/June 1974. By this stage the position of president was largely honorary with Fred Phillips continuing in the role. The actual running of the group was undertaken by the newer members of the committee.
The Central Coast UFO Research Bureau emerged in the seventies.  Based in Gosford NSW it actively conducted investigations into cases in the area, sometimes in collaboration with UFOIC.  It documented a major flap in the area during 1976.  Harry Griesberg and David Seargent from the group were asked by Dr. Hynek to form what became the Australian Co-ordination Section (ACOS) for the Centre for UFO Studies in 1974.  ACOS would become the Australian Centre for UFO Studies which at least until the mid eighties was a strong force for a national focus on UFO research.
Terry Bishop in Orange formed a group called the Central Western UFO Research Bureau.  He cooperated with an investigation of an impressive UFO physical trace case near Orange in mid 1977 undertaken by a UFO Research NSW team (a psychologist Anne Brown, who later became my wife, Dr. Geoff Stevens, a scientist from Lucas Height Atomic Energy Commission, and myself, an industrial chemist).  My report on that case “UFO Landing near Orange, May, 1977” appeared in the group UFO Newsletter No. 52, November, 1977.  By that stage UFOIC had adopted the name UFO Research NSW.
By 1975-76 Michael Smyth and myself were coordinating the UFOIC group's activities. In line with a trend established by some other state groups UFOIC changed its name to UFO Research (NSW). Fred Phillips continued as honorary president for a number of years. The last UFOIC Newsletter was issue 50 of January - February 1977 and the newsletter format continued with issue 51 appearing under the name UFO Newsletter (UFO Research (NSW)) in May 1977. Its name was changed for one issue to the Australian UFO Newsletter in the double issue N0.54 & 55 dated July - August 1978. With the No. 56 & 57 double issue dated January - February 1979 the name Australian UFO Researcher was adopted which continued until issue 60 dated November - December 1979. The Sydney based group as UFOIC and UFOR(NSW) had published 57 issues between 1964 and 1979 (3 issues 54&55, 56&57 and 58&59 were double issues) in a continuous numbered run.
One compelling case investigation by UFOR(NSW)/UFOIC was the Benboyd UFO film event.  At approximately 4.00 pm, on October 23rd, 1976, three young men - Nicholas Flaskas and Frank and Bill Zonaras - were preparing their cameras for the coming eclipse of the sun.  They were located on top of a large cliff face overlooking the sea at Taola Point, Benboyd National Park, which is about 15 km. north of Eden, on the south coast of NSW.  They had an unobstructed view in all directions.
Suddenly one of them yelled out that a group of strange objects were hovering over the water close to their horizon.  They all gathered to watch as the elliptical shaped objects began to move towards and away from them in an apparently controlled manner.
Remembering that they had a loaded movie camera, Frank Zonaras quickly picked it up, checked the settings, and immediately began to film the phenomenon.  Nicholas Flaskas took a series of still pictures. The movie camera was panned over a large area taking in one of the objects which was more prominent and at least 2 of the apparently smaller objects.  Frank Zonaras paused to adjust the camera, then with it at maximum zoom, he observed that the more prominent object appeared to be revolving.  It appeared to by dull grey in colour and bell-shaped.  It was very clearly defined and the witnesses were adamant about what they had seen. The filming stopped as the eclipse began.  The group turned their attention to the reason for being there.  During totality the group kept their attention on the eclipse.  After the eclipse they again looked for the anomalous objects but they were nowhere to be seen. The objects were recorded on both film and stills.
David Reneke co-ordinated a detailed investigation of the case.  His report appeared in the UFORAN publication in March-April 1980, as “The Benboyd UFO Movie – History and Evaluation.”  The quality of the film in terms of clarity of the images was poor.  The stills only recorded small indistinct dots.   The footage was subjected to computer enhancement techniques via the Ground Saucer Watch (GSW) group.  Their conclusion was:
"...the UO image represents a structured object of unknown origin, without any sign of misinterpretation of a conventional object or phenomenon....we feel the reconstruction pictures represent the object's "real" proportions and size."

The GSW analysis further concluded that:
"The UO image is at a vast distance from the camera, over a mile, as determined from other foreground/background features."
"The size of the UO image based on a digitizing program and the focal length of the camera is approximately 30-40 feet in its largest dimension."
"The main image can not be compared to any type of helicopter or aircraft."
"The main object is being affected by low horizon atmospherics, substantiating the distance of the UO."
"The image is one of three dimensional proportions and definitely appears as a structured object."
While some elements of the GSW computer enhancement technique were controversial their conclusions add support to an intriguing piece of photographic evidence.
THE EIGHTIES
In 1980 UFO Research (NSW) (aka UFOIC) joined forces with the cooperative publishing venture UFO Research Australian Newsletter (UFORAN) edited by Vladimir Godic.  By the early 1980s the UFOR (NSW) group was reconfigured, adopting a networking type approach, rather than continuing the traditional public group format. This change worked well with a good working relationship with national networking efforts, initially with the Australian Centre for UFO Studies (ACUFOS) and then UFO Research Australia (UFORA) from 1984 to 1995.
A spate of activity including some apparent close encounters, occurred in NSW, during June and early July 1983.  During that period there was a rash of puzzling radar "paints" from Sydney Airport (Mascot).  More than 30 unidentified radar returns were recorded.  None were correlated with any visual sightings.  When word leaked out, widespread media attention occurred.  The RAAF initiated, with perhaps tongue in cheek, what their UFO files called "Operation Close Encounter", which led to RAAF aircraft being on standby, to pursue any verified correlated returns.   They finally concluded the returns were probably spurious. A major flap then broke out in NSW, centred in the Gosford/Central coast area, during late July and early August 1983.   UFOR(NSW) undertook investigations into these events. By coincidence, one of the largest UFO exhibitions in the world, opened in Sydney's spectacular Centrepoint Tower on August 18th, 1983. It ran for about 2 years. UFOR (NSW) participated in this exhibition.
The networking format with a national focus adopted by UFOR (NSW) from the beginning of the eighties allow myself and associates to undertake extensive work on specialised research projects such as official Australian UFO investigations and abduction events. These programmes continued into the nineties (once again under the name of UFOIC) and led to extensive documentation and research in both areas. In particular my research between 1982 and 1984 into the Australian government defence UFO files was widely documented (e.g. UFORAN magazine over 3 issues during 1982, and Omega Science Digest, Sept.-Oct. 1982).
In 1988 Moira McGhee with Bryan Dickeson co-founded the Independent Network of UFO Researchers (INUFOR).  Initially a limited venture it became more active by 1995 with the appearance of the INUFOR Digest edited by Moira McGhee. 
THE NINETIES
The UFO Research (NSW) group that operated from 1977 under my direction readopted its original name UFOIC in November 1991 when a name change was forced by a new group registering the name UFO Research (NSW) as a business name. To minimise the confusion with the new UFO Research (NSW) from 1991, the work of the original UFO Research (NSW) from 1977 to 1991, may best be seen as a phase of UFOIC during which it shifted (in the early eighties) to a low profile research network under my direction (see my web log on UFOIC’s history: http://ufoicaustralia.blogspot.com in particular the January 4 2007 post: “The evolution of UFOIC”).
The new UFO Research NSW was led by Bryan Dickeson, Paul Sowiak and Moira McGhee.  It adopted a public group profile, running public meetings and intermittently publishing a newsletter the “UFO Reporter” until 1996. The Reporter reappeared in 2001/2002 but was subsequently replaced by a group newsletter. One of the more interesting cases the new UFOR (NSW) examined was a close encounter event at Kyeemagh near Sydney International Airport on April 19 1992. Four people observed a disc-shaped object for over 10 minutes.  It eventually departed in an unusual erratic jump motions.  During its presence the nearby Kingsford Smith Airport control tower appeared to have been affected, with an alarm sounding.  Subsequently the control tower claimed nothing unusual occurred. The case was written up in the UFO Reporter in June 1992 and was included in Timothy Good’s book “Alien Update” (1993).      
UFOIC continued its research and investigation, preferring a successful model of a "low profile" active network, rather than a public relations group format. This approach had served the group well and continues today under my ongoing direction. Through this UFOIC network I was able to coordinate extensive investigations into alien abduction cases, in particular the experiences of Kelly Cahill and Peter Khoury.  I was able to get my book on the Australian UFO experience “The OZ Files” published in 1996. When my initial study of the biological evidence associated with Sydney abductee Peter Khoury’s 1992 experience appeared in the International UFO Reporter and the Ufologist in 1999 it began a remarkable journey into an alien DNA paradigm, which I am still examining. A specialised subgroup of UFOIC was formed to focus on these aspects – the Anomaly Physical Evidence Group (APEG). The forensic perspective on alien abduction evidence indicated that substantial progress could be made. The work attracted funding, which enabled further focused work and the publication of my book “Hair of the Alien – DNA and other forensic evidence of alien abduction” (2005).
In 1992 Peter Khoury and Jamie Leonarder formed a support group for UFO experiencers, initially within the new UFO Research (NSW) group.  Problems developed and on April 14, 1993 the support group became an independent group – the UFO Experience Support Association (UFOESA). The group under Peter Khoury’s direction became one of the most notable manifestations of the support group concept in Australia, helping witnesses and experiencers of UFO events cope with and understand their encounters.   For a few years Jamie Leonarder and Michael Williams operated a group called ALERT (Anomalous Light & Energy Research Team) which focused on unusual light phenomena such as Min Min lights and remote outback mystery lights.
Conflicts within the new UFO Research (NSW) group led to Moria McGhee leaving the committee.  This allowed her to concentrate on the Independent Network of UFO Researchers (INUFOR) from 1995.  INUFOR provided a focus and forum for smaller groups and independent researchers.  These included Paradox based in Nowra from 1996 with Robert Goss, UFOLinx with Sylvie Orville-Blue, Quest Australis with Allan Craddock, and Rex Gilroy’s Blue Mountains UFO Research group based in Katoomba.  Apart from research into diverse mysteries in Australia Rex and Heather Gilroy undertook NSW based UFO research and conducted regular meetings.  They published two books to date on the UFO subject “Australian UFOs – Through the Windows of Time” (2004) and “Blue Mountains Triangle – Australian/American Underground Bases and the ET connection” (2007)). Moira McGhee and Bryan Dickeson co-authored an INUFOR book “The Gosford Files – UFOs over the Central Coast of New South Wales” which appeared early in 1997.
Other groups and individuals which appeared and operated within NSW during this period included Doug Moffett (who initially operated on the South Coast of NSW, before joining UFOR (NSW) when he moved to Sydney. Later he would co-host with me an internet based TV show “UFO” on the Banana TV web site, which produced more than 20 episodes devoted to various aspects of the UFO subject),  Mike Farrell’s Project UFOVac (which concentrated on disseminating UFO programmes and videos), UFO Abductions & Contacts based at Wentworthville (Paul Bonet), UFO Australia Encounter based at Parramatta and operated by Matthew Favalaro and Robert Marx (focusing on abduction experiences and hypnosis support), Lightning Ridge UFO Watch, INFODIG (based on the Central Coast and providing a discussion group focus run by Derek Bott), Graham Stewart (who through SA Research and UFOtec provided some photo analyses and interpretations of UFO events in the context of New Zealand pilot Bruce Cathie’s UFO grid theory), Paranormal Western NSW based in Orange (with Debra Goninan & Russell Dunn who undertook some investigations for a few years) and others who seem to have come and gone.
Barry Taylor began extensive sky watch activity in my old home town of Grafton.  He had been part of the UFORPA group during the early seventies and during the nineties began focusing on videoing UFOs.  In 2000 he produced a video “UFOs Down Under” which showed a variety of UFO images, the most interesting being a “jelly fish” orange coloured UFO with an appendage. He has continued to monitor the skies over the Grafton area and in 2007 self-published a book “UFO Down-under.  How to see UFO’s and photograph them.”
2000 and BEYOND
In August 2000 a new group appeared based in the Campbelltown area.  The UFO Society of Western Sydney (UFOSWS), with Attila Kaldy as its president. undertook an active public lecture/meeting programme, sightings investigations and a series of expeditions focused on the Blue Mountains, the Burragorang and Sydney northern beaches. The group produced a video “The OZ Unknowns” which in part focused on a controversial sighting, video and abduction milieu in June 1999. UFOSWS has two specialised divisions – RACE (Research of Australian Close Encounters) and PR2D (Paranormal Research Second Division – which focuses on evidence for haunting).
Between 20 October 2001 and 26 January 2002 the Liverpool Regional Museum managed by Ricardo Peach put on a major exhibit “UFOs in Liverpool: The Extra Dimensions”.  The curator was Chris Downie and the project was facilitated through the close co-operation and support of UFO Research (NSW). The exhibit included artworks, drawings and images from a number of experiencers including Kelly Cahill, Tracey Taylor, Scott Longley, Suzanne Hanson, and Peter Khoury.  Material was supplied from groups like ACERN, PRA and UFOIC.
A broader and larger focus on UFOs, aliens and art came about when the Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest commissioned a unique and striking art exhibition which ran at the gallery just outside of Sydney from 8 December 2007 to 17 February 2008 – “The Visitors: The Australian Response to UFOs and Aliens.” For me it was a wonderful conjunction of two of my long time interests – art and UFOs. When the exhibition organisers originally contacted me to get me on board as a consultant and writer I asked what they had in mind, perhaps a single room display. No, it turned out the whole of the multi-roomed gallery was turned over to the exhibition. 15 established artists contributed a body of fascinating works ranging from paintings, sculptures, installations and other artistic media expressions. I contributed an essay “The OZ Files Unbound” and recommended reading list for the 64 page exhibition catalogue, extensive material, including case files for an evidence room and a walk through lecture covering the evidence and my take on the exhibition artworks. The exhibition was well received and highly successful. 
 Bill Chalker & exhibition co-curator Regina Walter
The national network AUFORN has operated in NSW through Larraine Cilia, who is now president of UFO-PRSA (formerly UFOSWS).
While independent researchers continue to contribute to UFO research and investigations in NSW the bulk of research and investigation seems to be undertaken either through my group UFOIC, UFOR (NSW), UFOSWS, UFOESA and AUFORN.  Public meetings are regularly put on by UFOR (NSW) and UFOSWS.  Conferences have been organized by UFOR (NSW), UFOESA, UFOSWS (now UFO-PRSA) and AUFORN. Thus a diverse and dynamic range of groups and individuals continue to undertake UFO research and investigations in New South Wales, adding to the long and potent tradition of UFO work in this state. 
As of 2014 UFOR(NSW) (current president Mariana Flynn) and UFO – PRSA (UFO and Paranormal Research Society of Australia, formerly UFOSWS) (current president Larraine Cilia) continue to put on regular public meetings.  During 2014 UFOR(NSW) ran an investigator’s training workshop seeking to develop a depth of investigation resources in the group, beyond its main public relations focus.  In 2012 it created a division called Exopolitics Sydney led by Maree Baker focusing on regular discussion of  “the Extraterrestrial Phenomenon.”  Recently the propensity of some individuals to seemingly become “lightning rods” for UFO activity was given a sharp focus with the UFO sightings, films and photos taken by Damien Nott.  He formed a group call AAPI – Australian Aerial Phenomena Investigations to continue this approach.
UFOIC coordinated by the author continues its low profile networking research and investigation approach focusing on physical evidence research and investigation, Australian UFO history, Asian UFO research (especially China), official military investigations in Australia, “solid light” type cases and science and the UFO controversy.  In addition to the book “Hair of the Alien – DNA and other forensic evidence of alien abduction”, published in the US in 2005,  I also wrote the Australian chapter for the US based UFO History Group’s 2012 book “UFOs and Government.”
Here are two UFOIC investigation the author did of striking UFO events in 2007 and 2008.
Early Sunday evening January 7th 2007, a security guard at a factory in Baulkham Hills, a northwest suburb of Sydney captured a UFO with a digital camera. James had a 31 years experience in security work and had been working at the factory site for a number of years. At around 7.40 pm local daylight saving time it was dusk with the diminishing light evident on the horizon. He was in the entrance security office which is situated on the entry road immediately inside the factory gate. The gate was closed. James had looked to the south - the entry gate direction - and saw a clear sky. After looking away for about 5 seconds he was surprised to see a "long black thing" in the sky just above the powerlines. It seemed to have a grey halo or cloud around it. As the object seemed to be moving towards his position James grabbed his digital camera - A Pentax Optio 3.3 mp 3x200m Pentax lens - and walked outside the security office. He could see that there appeared to be a cloudy light inside the halo moving from end to end across the top surface of the black shape. He got the impression that there was like a heat haze simmering effect. James took one photo. Then suddenly the object seemed to go in reverse, approximately along the light of sight, decreasing in apparent size and within about 3 seconds had disappeared from view.
Examining the photo James found that the image had captured the apparent angular size of the object but had not recorded the halo effect he had observed.  I was particularly interested because the object had seemingly shown movements witnessed in an event I also investigated from January 26.  I spoke with James on February 1st and conducted an on site interview with him later that day.  Despite his experience with the location and the night sky James was unable to reconcile the strange object with any known source.
I investigated a fascinating landing/entity encounter case at Coogee, a seaside Sydney suburb that allegedly occurred at about 4 am on February 29, 2008. A man walking down a street, observed a flash of light.  In that direction he saw a large spherical shaped object sitting on the street T intersection.  He could see a little man in a window at the top of object. The witness became frightened, retreating behind a large electrical signal box.  The being appeared to move a lever, a “shutter” came down over the window area, and the object took off at tremendous speed at about a 45 degree angle.  The bitumen road surface appeared to have a white circle effect left behind and at least one nearby tree appeared to have been burnt.  The witness reported noticing heat coming from the object.  The duration of the incident was about 5 minutes.  The road surface was repaired soon after by local council road maintenance crew as the road is a very busy route mainly during the day. I met the witness on March 19.  I first visited the site on the night of March 19 and have revisited the area on a number of occasions since then.  I acquired samples of the burnt tree bark.  I was also advised that soon after the incident a new electricity telegraph pole was placed at the intersection and repair work was undertaken on the electrical wiring connections.  Investigations undertaken to see if these matters are related to the February 29 event were inconclusive.  The witness is a shy man of nervous disposition and seems unlikely to be the type that would make up a story of a UFO incident, and did not appear to have much knowledge of the UFO subject.
Despite this, I was very struck by the similarity of the Coogee witness’s description and drawings to two remarkable overseas cases – Cussac, France (August 29, 1967) and Goffstown, New Hampshire, USA (November 2, 1973) – both featuring a similar UFO and apparent alien entities.  The startling similarity of these cases, over several decades from different parts of the world, is an extraordinary wink at the enduring reality of the UFO experience.  At Cussac 2 young children witnessed a group of entities, initially on the ground around a spherical shaped object, then float up and enter the UFO as it was departing in a helicoid trajectory, leaving behind a sulphurous like odour and a slightly depressed yellowed grass trace 4 to 5 metres in diameter.  This case was subjected to extensive civilian and official investigations, and held an enduring fascination for the aerospace scientist Dr. Claude Poher, who would later lead the French official UFO agency GEPAN. In the Goffstown case a Mrs. Morel reported having a frightening early morning close encounter in which a spherical UFO hovered above her car, seemingly largely controlling the vehicle.  She could see an entity inside an oval window at some sort of console, and apparently experienced a telepathic message not to be afraid. However she was very afraid and managed to steer her car into a house driveway and ran to the door eventually waking up the occupants, who called police.
The author welcomes further information on any of the groups and individuals who have contributed to the New South Wales spotlight on UFOs, particularly on others that have not been addressed. I can be contacted via billozfiles@tpg.com.au or P.O. Box 42, West Pennant Hills, NSW, 2125.
Because of my close association with UFOIC through its various phases from the late 1960s I have been researching the history of UFOIC.  Some of this material is on this blog site I manage http://ufoicaustralia.blogspot.com I welcome your interest and support in providing information about UFOIC. 

Thursday, May 06, 2010

David Buching - friend and catalyst for active investigation in UFOIC (1946 - 2010)

David Buching, who was one of the key people in the transitional period of reorganisation of the Sydney based group UFOIC – UFO Investigation Centre - in the 1970s, passed away on 29 April 2010. I was lucky to have David as a friend during this period. He was a forceful and active agent of change who energised the faltering group and helped kick-start it again into an active investigative group after a period of limited activity.

UFOIC had lost its active focus with the accidental death of its long time dynamic president Dr. Miran Lindtner in August 1969. David Buching had gone to a UFOIC meeting a few months before - his first UFO meeting. He was impressed with Miran Lindtner and was starting to get into the UFO subject in an active way. David eventually joined a new group formed by Frankh Wilks UFO Research Projects of Australia (UFORPA) which seemed to have a more active focus on research and investigation, than the faltering UFOIC. David was joined in this UFO adventure with his wife Penny. Together with other active researchers he eventually found he wanted to focus more specifically on in depth UFO investigations. This focus eventually resulted in a reinvigorated UFOIC, with active members from both the remnants of UFORPA and UFOIC.

All of these developments were not really on my horizon. I was yet to make the move to Sydney and was originally a country member of UFOIC – my home town being Grafton. From 1971 to 1974 I was attending the University of New England at Armidale and took my UFO interests with me. It was an intense UFO flap on the Dorrigo plateau centred at the small village of Tyringham in 1973 that eventually brought me into contact with David Buching and his band of active UFO players. He had learnt of my extensive field investigations there and his team made a number of trips to the area.

I well remember the first meeting we had at a property at Tyringham where I was based during my investigations there. David and his team had arrived after the long drive from Sydney. As they opened the back of the station wagon is was clear that investigation equipment was not the only priority and that a large amount of space was taken up by crates of Cola Cola which was meant to sustain David’s addiction to it. I immediately took an enduring liking to David and his friends. When I eventually moved to Sydney in 1975 David and Penny’s place at Chatswood and the circle of friends that seemed to orbit around it was a very welcoming respite from the challenges of establishing myself in the big city, me being a country lad.

I enjoyed doing a number of investigations with David including the intriguing Bents Basin “robot” UFO encounter of 1972. We became aware of the incident in 1975 and conducted an on site investigation together. The location brought together two of David’s interests – UFOs and the “supernatural” – Bents Basin was haunted by a reputation for strange phenomena, including ghosts, “hairy men” (Yowies?), and other oddities. We found a fascinating body of information that seemed to contribute to the areas strange legacy. However it was the weird 1972 events that was the centre of attention for us. Six young people claimed they encountered a UFO on the ground. What followed seemed to be a very frightening entity encounter that featured the apparent apparition of a “robot” like figure.

Another impressive case that David investigated was a frightening encounter with a small UFO type object which appeared to issue smaller objects that seemed to attack a group of young people camping in the Norah Head area during 1975. Later I would investigate a striking case at the same location in 1973 where a larger UFO which also emitted smaller objects appeared to have an effect on a car nearby. The couple inside became very concerned when they were unable to start the car until the UFO departed.

David appeared in a UFO documentary made by Roger Climpson for TV station Channel 7 early in 1973 talking about UFO occupants expressing the opinion that we may be being visited by more than one race of extraterrestrials. By 1976 other life priorities took David attention. We saw each other intermittently over the years but by the time I started undertaking detailed research into the history of the UFO group around 2005 I had lost track of him. We eventually reconnected and in December 2008 met at my place where I did a lengthy oral history interview with him. I am glad we had that opportunity to talk about times past and some of our current activities. I was shocked to hear he was in hospital and immediately went to visit him on Tuesday April 27. We talked for a couple of hours on a range of matters. Even though he wasn’t well we parted with the intention of catching up again to further discuss things when he was out of hospital. Sadly that was not to be. David passed away only two days later. I’ll miss David. His was a life well lived. He pursued things that interested him and we are the richer for that.
David Buching's funeral service and farewell will take place at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Delhi Rd, North Ryde, Sydney, Northern Chapel, 12.15 pm, Friday May 7.
Photos: The black & white photo shows David Buching in action investigating a UFO event at Wentworth Falls in 1974; the colour photo is of David in my study during our December 2008 discussions.

Monday, May 19, 2008

UFOIC mates - then and now - retro blast from the past











During the mid to late seventies the UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC) conducted a lot of major investigations of some striking cases. I was reflecting on some of these with my old friend David Reneke. Dave has transited from his consuming interest in UFOs at that time back in the seventies to focus on an active stellar involvement in the world of astronomy as the news editor of Sky and Space magazine. He also issues a regular internet based Astronomy News Service which delivers a weekly newsletter of astronomy and space news. This can be accessed by emailing Dave at Dave.Reneke@SkyandSpace.com.au

While astronomy and space are Dave's main interest today he reminded me that he still feels strongly about the UFO subject, reflecting a statement that I often make, that UFOs deserve better scientific strutiny that they have got to date. He understands that mainstream astronomy rejects the UFO subject, but feels that this has come from limited exposure to the depth of the UFO subject, and too much exposure to the superficial commercialisation of the subject and the lunatic fringe aspects of the controversy.

From our time together in UFOIC (aka UFOR(NSW) until 1991) during the 1970s he felt for him that there were many cases that were particularly impressive. In particular 3 stood out:

1969 the suburban Sydney Greenacre entity encounter

1967 the daylight near landing near the suburban Sydney Canterbury bowling green

1976 the Ben Boyd national park UFO footage case taken during the total eclipse of the sun

Each of these cases are described in my 1996 book "The OZ Files - the Australian UFO Story"

I have included two contrasting pictures of Dave and myself.
One from an early 1978 UFOIC (aka UFOR(NSW)) press conference in which we were highlighting that even before the massive breakout of UFO fever that occurred with the extraordinary disappearance of pilot Frederick Valentich over Bass Strait during a UFO encounter in October 1978, we already saw 1978 as a "Year of the UFO".
The other photo of us was from 2007 at the Sydney Observatory where Dave gave a spirited defence of the "planet" Pluto in the Great Pluto Debate - a fun night, which included some comet watching as well.
I also have included reproductions of the UFOIC group's publication the "Australian UFO Researcher" which evolved from the UFOIC Newsletter - The "Year of the UFO?" cover shows some of the UFOs examined by UFOIC (aka UFOR(NSW)) during that incredible year, and the Ben Boyd movie film issue.
Images: Copyright Bill Chalker/UFOIC

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The UFOIC Thread – the ties that bind, past & present, East & West....




I recently revisited Nicolas Jose’s evocative fictional literary embrace with the Chinese classic “Six Chapters in a floating life”, namely his novel “The Red Thread.” I mused over the back cover description: “An intimate, lyrical story about the ties that bind people together, past and present, East and West, physical and spiritual.”

I reflected on my past and present journey with the UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC) – country member from the late 1960s, committee member from 1975, co-coordinator and director from 1976. I helped steer UFOIC through a group name change in 1977 which was in keeping with broader currents of change in the Australian UFO research community. By the early 1980s I steered the group through another more profound change – from a public group to a low profile networking group, again a change many researchers were adopting, which saw working in a looser networking format, with national networks was a very productive path to pursue. Through the 1980s this fundamental change allowed myself and other associates to pursue a number of major projects such as extensive research into the Australian government UFO files and deep research into the alien abduction controversy, which continued into the 1990s. In 1991 we readopted the UFOIC name.

Looking back at my post “The evolution of UFOIC” I noted by coincidence it had 6 ‘phases’ or ‘chapters.' In “Six Chapters (or records) of a floating life” of course there are two missing chapters. Jose’s novel “The Red Thread” utilises the idea of the missing chapters resurfacing.

Fragments of the UFOIC thread are missing as well, but not whole chapters – as I indicated UFOIC itself went missing, at least in name only, between 1977 and 1991, when it existed in both thought and deeds, reformed and re-imagined, under another name, UFO Research (NSW). Circumstances gathered in late 1991 and the group name UFOIC was readopted, embracing the “floating life” of a group thread. UFOIC was now re-envisioned as a continuation of the successful ‘low profile’ networking model embraced in the early 1980s, which itself had developed from the UFOIC of the 1970s.

The UFOIC thread has weaved its way from its formal beginnings in 1956 and earlier foundations, through the decades, going through changes of focus and format. Each of these changes contributed to the UFOIC thread, which for me provided the foundation fabric of my own involvement. UFOIC has been a backbone of my body of interest in the UFO subject and continues today.

Throughout all this “floating life” of UFOIC there were many ties that bound numerous people together, past and present, indeed even “East and West, physical and spiritual.”

I reflected on my own deep research into the Chinese UFO scene – my East West nexus. Given my current and past UFOIC connections I pondered this Chinese connection – a “Dragon Seed” – from its earliest manifestations through pioneer UFOIC researcher Andrew Tomas. Prior to his UFOIC association from 1955 to 1965 he was writing about strange aerial objects when he was in China in 1935! He would embrace a spiritual path somewhat anchored in the physical world. Here I am in 2007 researching physical dimensions of the Chinese and Asian UFO scene, occasionally embracing the spiritual depths of the oriental alien experience.

A strange, lyrical and fascinating UFOIC thread.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ufologists Defiled? UFOIC, ASIO and alien McCarthyism




by Bill Chalker



An ASIO (Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation - Australia’s domestic spy service) file exists on its monitoring of early UFO research groups. The ASIO file has been known about for quite some time and it has been up on the National Archives of Australia web site as a viewable file since at least early 2006.
What it shows is that the UFO community was targeted like a whole lot of other diverse communities, all because of largely innocent flirtations with matters that fell within the paranoia of intelligence organisations. It didn’t take much to fall within this net, and very rarely did it have anything to do with the UFO phenomenon itself.
Most prominently in the ASIO file the Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau was the subject of monitoring and intrusion, seemingly because some members of the group took an interest in Russian investigations of the 1908 Tunguska event that suggested it may have been caused by a spacecraft. The group’s president Stan Seers described the bizarre situation that evolved from ASIO’s attention in his memoir “UFOs - the case for scientific myopia” (1983). See also my document “UFOs Sub Rosa Down Under” (1996) at: http://www.theozfiles.com/ufos_subrosa.html and Timothy Good’s books “Above Top Secret” (1987) and “Beyond Top Secret” (1996).

The rest of the file is more fragmentary. One letter in the file was of particular interest for me because it raised a dubious “rumour” about the Sydney based group the UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC). The letter was written by Fred Stone, president of the South Australian civilian group Australian Flying Saucer Research Society (AFSRS), around 1960 to the RAAF, and passed onto ASIO by them. Therein Stone writes, "This may appear trivial, but (…) we have very good reasons for not altogether trusting this group (he was referring to the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society - VFSRS) due to its very close association with the Sydney one (Stone was referring to UFOIC) which has some folk in its control who have "pink" tendencies ..."

By "pink tendencies" Stone was suggesting communist tendencies. I suspect that Stone was still harboring some ill will with the late 1956 UFOIC break away from AFSRS and VFSRS 1957 departure from the AFSRS national vision agenda.
Stone may have thought he was being patriotic in passing on his "innuendo" to the RAAF, or it was inspired by negativity that flowed when the NSW branch of his group decided to separate from the SA group and operate as an independent group namely the Sydney based UFOIC. The difficulty with such slight "rumours" and "innuendos" is that they had the potential to feed the paranoia of the era. The ASIO file with exceptions can be accessed via the Australia National Archives on line. Ironically Stone even asked the RAAF to do security checks on some of his own SA AFSRS members. The RAAF declined to assist him. What RAAF/ASIO did "sub rosa" is not clear, if anything.

In the case of UFOIC I have no direct evidence of infilitration. Indeed Stone's circa 1960 missive came at the end of the intense period of "red" inspired surveillance. Certainly a few years earlier it didn't take much to come under ASIO's "red" or "pink" watch, and in that context Stone's letter was very unsound and extremely unhelpful to the cause of open ufology. Fortunately it seems it had little impact, although full access to the ASIO file in question is still denied.

In those days it didn't take much to be tarnished with this label, or worse still the "red" connection. Anyone with pacifist, intellectual or radical thoughts seemed to come under suspicion. Andrew Tomas worked closely with Fred Stone in organizing the remanents of the Sydney based Australian Flying Saucer Bureau into a NSW branch of the AFSRS during late 1955. Tomas, a "white Russian" may have been the focus of the Stone "rumour." It did not seem to reflect any substantial realities.

I brought this “pink tendencies” claim by Stone to the attention of an early UFOIC member who knew all the early key UFOIC and AFSRS (NSW branch) people. The member responded:
“Concerning Fred Stone's comment in his letter to the RAAF - I am shocked! …that was the first time I had ever heard of such a suggestion (about "pink tendencies").
I suggest also that Mr. Stone's remarks were made in consideration of the rift which had occurred with the Sydney group, and they were uncalled for and completely out of place.

“I am well aware of the paranoia that existed during those years, but I do believe that any suspicion of the Victorian and Sydney groups by any individual, or body, could not have been further from the reality. While it is true that Andrew Tomas was indeed Russian, along with George Tararin (who I believe was from the region now known as Belarus), Dr. Lindtner (Slovenia) and Joseph Gjerki (Croatia) and for all I know, maybe a few others also from Iron Curtain countries, the fact is that these people had all gone to Australia to get away from that sort of thing. George used to tell me he was "stateless", having come more or less the same route as Andrew, which is to say, by way or Harbin or Shanghai. The latter two men had been educated by Americans - they had rather quaint accents with strong American overtones! Any perception (by anybody) that these very fine people reflected or harbored a so-called "pink bias" is one of broad ignorance and very misplaced.”

I agree with this assessment. The "pink" labeling was inappropriate. Here were some basically good people from a broad range of backgrounds, united in a fascination for the UFO/flying saucer mystery. The paranoia of the times was often misplaced or just rooted in uninformed politicking.

"Writers Defiled - security surveillance of Australian Authors and intellectuals 1920-1960" written by Fiona Capp (1993) describes the era very well. ASIO’s 1950s surveillance was in part informed by the 1921 Pitt-Rivers “Memorandum on the Revolutionary Movement in Australia” with is bizarrely loaded lexicon of such strange concepts as “alien adulteration” and “revolutionary incubus”. “The Red menace” mentality led to an extraordinarily skewed view of pacifist, liberal or alternative activism in Australia and indeed elsewhere in western countries. Fiona Capp indicates, “ASIO estimated that there were over 500 clubs, societies, committees, councils, associations, movements, unions, federations, leagues, conventions, forums and fellowships that were ‘more or less penetrated, influenced or dominated by Communists’. Such was ASIO’s vague definition that any community-based group was likely to be suspect and any liberal or progressive philosophy was treated as a vehicle for Communist ideology.”

Ufologists Defiled? The 1950s was the high point of McCarthyism in the Australia particularly with the Petrov affair. Unfortunately, even if you were a "white Russian" (such as Andrew Tomas), and clearly not sympathetic to communism, the mentality of the era meant one was probably watched. Andrew Tomas was passionate about Shambhala inspired "peace doctrine", most evident in his "Planetary Doctrine" (1935) He was still circulating similar things in the 1950s. Pacifists of any persuasion would have got attention. It seemed that logic sometimes was not high on the agenda with our intelligence groups then, paranoia certainly was. Things have changed but sometimes, even now, you have to wonder. The new book by Clive Hamilton & Sarah Maddison called "Silencing Dissent - How the Australian government is controlling public opinion and stifling debate" gives cause to reflect on the strong sense of historically sustained deja-vu. Different times, different suspects?
Despite the dubious basis of Stone’s “pink” suggestions I would be surprised if ASIO did ignore UFOIC given the type of "flags" they were looking for, particularly during the 1950s. Ignoring logic and reality for the moment (which is what ASIO seemed to do some of the time, if "Writers Defiled" is anything to go by), the linkage between Edgar Jarrold and Andrew Tomas could have been one "flag". Jarrold already had a wartime security file on himself, with his wartime internment on the Isle of Man under the assumed name of Roy Peter Simpson. Upon his return to Australia he seems to have slipped under the radar except for his "novel" emergence in 1950 as a mystery writer, and then by 1953 as director of Australia's first public flying saucer group. Andrew Tomas met him in January 1954 as Jarrold was coming under direct attention of government over his persistent enquiries on the Drury UFO film (taken in Papua New Guinea in 1953). Tomas showed Jarrold his 1935 book “The Planetary Doctrine”, written under his Russian name A. Boncza-Tomaszewski (Bon-tcha Toma-shevski), which had been published in Shanghai China. He focused Jarrold’s attention on the passage: “Travellers and explorers often notice in the heights of the Himalayas strange shiny objects or creatures soaring high above the mountain crests, which are an eternal puzzle to Europeans. Whether these mysterious objects are vehicles belonging to supermen we dare not assert, though such an explanation is quite plausible. Cannot the reader believe that by such means, utilising unknown energies, communication is maintained from planet to planet...?”

Jarrold was moving into the centre of the Australian government’s uneasy embrace with the saucer problem. In mid 1954 the Minister for Air William McMahon (a future Prime Minister) invited him to Melbourne for a meeting with RAAF on flying saucers.

Andrew Tomas had made a request under the "Aliens Act 1947" for a name change from his Russian one in 1951 which was originally denied, but by 1954 he was using the name Andrew Tomas. It is ironic or something else to have this "Application by an alien for written consent to change surname", when one considers the following comment by Andrew at the end of an article he wrote for the last issue of Jarrold's Australian Flying Magazine, "Are you ready for a planetary Crash?", pg. 7 February 1955: "In the circles of the duly initiated Brethern of Space, fantastic stories are told of saucers, messages from space and cosmic decrees. Perhaps I could tell you a science fiction story from my life how a saucer zoomed over the National Park in Sydney to say "Hello" to an incarnated spaceman. But who would believe it? In these days of suspicion and witchhunts it is better to keep one's mouth shut. Frankly, I am not too enthusiastic about a psychiatric test either. Anyway, my cosmic friends tell me not to worry about what other people say, but just place this information before the public. "It won't be long now," they say. Jokes aside, let us think more of the stars. Let us all become the children of Heaven. Let us dream of an Utopia where there is no hatred and no wars. But before we see that Utopia a red sign will flash in the skies, "Tighten your belts." As Ripley says, "believe it or not," but we are heading for a planetary crash." Now was Andrew Tomas being tongue-in-cheek here, or trying to say something else. He did have a UFO sighting at the National Park on March 24 1954. An uninformed outsider might have read "a red sign" reference in an entirely different light.

Andrew Tomas continued his pacifist agenda theme. His widow Heather sent me Andrew's "Signs, Stars and Seers - An Experiment in Historical Prediction", a 48 page booklet published in Sydney in 1956. Therein he refers to warning Hitler, Mussolini & Hirohito through their embassies in China in 1935 (presumably via a copy of his “Planetary Doctrine” book) and being met "with hostility and ridicule, yet 10 years later the militarists had to sign humiliating treaties." Further he refers in the 1956 booklet forward to approaching "a responsible Soviet diplomat" 4 months after the defeat of Japan "with a project to establish friendly cultural relations with the USA and the British Commonwealth, long before the 'Cold War'. Though the offer was not accepted, the writer's mission on behalf of World Peace was fulfilled." The booklet includes the following "IF the national governments ignore this LAST WARNING, motivated by a desire to save this planet from destruction and mankind from self-annihilation, they will have to bear all responsibility for opposing the Cosmic Law of Unity." This theme was again revisited in March 1958, when Andrew, as secretary and organiser of the International Organising Committee of the Planetary Pact, sent a draft of the Pact to "top news agencies of the world." He would revisit this theme in his book "Shambhala: Oasis of Light" (1977).

These and other matters could well have been misunderstood by the likes of ASIO? If the surveillance of the Queensland group QFSRB was any guide (see the primary profile document dated August 1959), then if UFOIC came under similar attention its committee would have been similarly profiled and rated NT ("No threat"?), "U/I" (Under investigation"?) or simply commented upon. Any such documentation or surveillance would have been as seemingly pointless as the monitoring of the QFSRB group and the hundreds of other diverse groups activities around Australia.

Ufologists defiled? They were like so many other people with diverse interests simply traveling through the distorted lens of a “sub rosa” perspective, defiled by the misplaced paranoia of the times.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

SAUCERERS IN SESSION



Here's an interesting juxtaposition - an early member of UFOIC forwarded this 1965 clipping of a UFOIC meeting in Sydney with Dr. Miran Lindtner lecturing. The "saucerers", particularly from a British and social history perspective, are revisited in a new book by Dr. David Clarke and Andy Roberts "Flying Saucerers: A Social History of UFOs" from Alternative Albion press (2007), which can be acquired via Amazon UK. I look forward to a detailed reading of this title. "The Flying Saucerers" was used as a title in one of Arthur Shuttlewood's Warminster books in 1976.

(Images: Cover of "Flying Saucerers" from Alternative Albion; newspaper clipping from Daily Telegraph, Sydney, August 4, 1965)

Monday, March 19, 2007

UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC) - the young lady behind the name


The young lady in the photo taken in January 1956 is 16 year old Judith Croser who came up with the name UFO Investigation Centre. Three months later on 4th April she and her sister Anne joined the Australian Flying Saucer Research Society (AFSRS) NSW Branch. She became the group secretary on 4th June. After the 14th November 1956 meeting which decided on the split from the AFSRS Judith came up with the UFOIC name.

Judith reflected:
"They were truly a wonderful group of people and treated me with a lot of respect, considering how young I was."
(Photo: courtesy of Judith Croser. Copyright Judith Croser)