UFOs Around the World: Australia
by Robbie Graham September 23, 2018 (mysteriousuniverse.org)
• This installment of “UFOs Around the World” brings us to Australia. Robbie Graham interviews Bill Chalker, a veteran UFO researcher and author in Sydney, about the historical development of Australia’s Ufology movement.
• Edgar Jarrold was a foundational figure in Australian ufology with his 1952 group, the Australian Flying Saucer Bureau, and his publication, The Australian Flying Saucer Magazine. By the end of the 1950s, individual state groups began their rise with people like Peter Norris, Stan Seers and Dr. Miran Lindtner. Judy Magee and Paul Norman became prominent and Colin Norris provided a focus in South Australia.
• In the 1970’s, the efforts of Vladimir Godic and Keith Basterfield encouraged a number of the state groups to adopt the generic group name of UFO Research and a scientific investigation focus and spark the rise of a national focus, ultimately leading to the Australian Centre for UFO Studies operating from 1980. By the nineties, most serious researchers abandoned the smaller research societies in favor of the national ‘UFO Research Australia’ led by Vlad Godic and Keith Basterfield, and later Robert Frola and Diane Harrison’s Australian UFO Research Network.
• According to Chalker, ten Australian UFO cases illustrate the complexity and nature of the UFO phenomenon ‘down under’.
1. August 31, 1954 – Sea Fury case, near Goulbourn, NSW, Australia – UFO confirmed by naval pilot, radar, and ground witnesses
2. July 23, 1992 – Peter Khoury “Hair of Alien” DNA case, Sydney, Australia – abduction by female Nordic blonde of “hybrid origin”
3. June 27, 1959 – Father Gill UFO entity sighting, Boianai, Papua New Guinea – multiple witness sighting of animate entities on a UFO with intelligent interactions
4. September 30, 1980 – George Blackwell’s Rosedale UFO landing, Rosedale, Victoria Australia – compelling array of physical evidence
5. August 8, 1993 – Kelly Cahill’s abduction experience, Narre Warren North, Victoria, Australia – multiple witness UFO encounter with physical evidence
6. January 19, 1966 – George Pedley’s Tully UFO nest encounter, Tully, Queensland, Australia- daylight close encounter with UFO take off leaving physical evidence
7. April 4, 1966 – Ron Sullivan’s experience, Burkes Flat, Victoria Australia – UFO encounter, physical traces, bent light beams, possible related fatality
8. April 6, 1966 – Westall school daylight UFO landing” encounter, Westall, Victoria, Australia – multiple witness daylight landing, physical traces
9. 1977-78 – Gisborne UFO abduction milieu, Gisborne New Zealand – UFO and abduction milieu, entities, multiple witnesses, multiple abductions
10. May to August 1973 – Tyringham Dundurrabin UFO, NSW, Australia – intense UFO flap, multiple witness, physical effects, paranormal dimensions
• After some 44 years of official ‘Defence’ handling of UFO matters, albeit grudgingly and decidedly un-scientific, the Australian Defence Department officially washed their hands of the UFO/UAP matter in 1996 and is no longer accepting civil reports, following the lead of its major defence partners—the US and the UK. Currently, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and Air services Australia (ASA) accepts UFO reports from civil aviation flight crews. Australia’s Department of Defence accepts reported military UFO cases. The Aussie government has taken stock of the UK approach which in recent years has become more open with their UFO files.
• The Australian UFO Research Network (AUFORN), which is similar to MUFON in the US, is the most recent of the national UFO investigation organisations in Australia. But this slowly lapsed following the closure of the national UFO magazine, the “UFOlogist.” MUFON in Australia has had a rather ad hoc history in recent years. Its most recent reincarnation appears to be playing out under the umbrella of the Internet site Australian UFO Action. The proliferation of Internet and social media sites has made detailed UFO investigation by experienced researchers more difficult and problematic than in the past.
• “I have extensively researched high strangeness close encounter cases and hundreds of so-called abduction and contact cases,” says Chalker. “I’m an advocate of open scientifically based investigations… but far greater mainstream support is needed.” “Less politicized scientific investigations need to be the norm rather than the exception.” “Greater networking, sharing and cooperation is needed.” “I am optimistic rather than pessimistic about the future of UFO research.”
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be conducting interviews with leading UFO researchers from countries around the world in an effort to paint a picture of global UFOlogy today. This week, our global UFO trek takes us to Australia, and to Bill Chalker, a veteran UFO researcher based in Sydney with a background in chemistry and mathematics. He has contributed to such publications as Rolling Stone and Reader’s Digest and has written chapters for books including UFOs and Government: A Historical Inquiryand all three volumes of Jerome Clark’s The UFO Encyclopedia. He is the author of The OZ Files (1996) and Hair of the Alien (2005) and Coordinator of the Sydney-based UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC) and the Anomaly Physical Evidence Group (APEG).
RG: Who have been the defining figures in Australian UFOlogy over the past 70 years (for better or for worse), and why?
BC: Edgar Jarrold is generally seen as a foundational figure in Australian ufology with his 1952 group, the Australian Flying Saucer Bureau, and his publication, The Australian Flying Saucer Magazine. More controversially, it is his departure from public ufology that helped spawn Gray Barker’s version of the “men-in-black” saga with his colourful book, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers (1956). South Australian ufologist Fred Stone tried unsuccessfully to take over Jarrold’s national reach. By the end of the 1950s, individual state groups began their rise with people like Peter Norris (the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society, later VUFORS), Stan Seers (the Queensland Flying Saucer Bureau, now UFO Research (Qld)) and Dr. Miran Lindtner (the Sydney based UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC) which I continue today). Judy Magee and Paul Norman became prominent in the Victorian group. Colin Norris provided a focus in South Australia, until the efforts of Vladimir Godic and Keith Basterfield during the 1970s encouraged a number of the state groups to adopt the generic group name of UFO Research and a scientific investigation focus. The 1970s also saw the rise of a national focus, following Dr. Allen Hynek’s 1973 visit, ultimately leading to the Australian Centre for UFO Studies operating from 1980.
It limped into the nineties a pale shadow of its former self. Most serious researchers had long since abandoned it in favour of the national networking vision established by ACOS and the earlier ACUFOS manifestation and UFORA, and because ACUFOS had lost direction and credibility with what was seen as the uncritical promotion of dubious material by its final incumbent co-ordinator. Vlad Godic led a revived national focus with his UFO Research Australia Newsletter and with Keith Basterfield, the UFO Research Australia organisation, which ended with Godic’s untimely death. The national focus was effectively re-empowered with Robert Frola and Diane Harrison’s Australian UFO Research Network (AUFORN). Robert Frola also focused on a national newsstand magazine—the Ufologist—which continued for two decades. While the Internet helped break down a lot of the barriers of a big country like Australia, it effectively energised individuals and state orientated groups. For example the blogs of Keith Basterfield, Paul Dean, and myself in terms of the individual approaches, and in terms of state orientated groups—UFO Research Qld, UFO Research NSW, and Victorian UFO Action (VUFOA). Other organisations and individuals provide alternate focuses such as my own low profile networking continuation of UFOIC, Moira McGhee’s INUFOR (Independent Network of UFO researchers), the Campbelltown based UFO-PRSA (The UFO & Paranormal Research Society of Australia), Rex and Heather Gilroy’s Blue Mountains UFO research, John Auchettl’s rather secrecy obsessed group PRA (Phenomena Research Australia) and Damien Nott’s Australian Aerial Phenomena Investigations (AAPI).
RG: What do you consider to be the most compelling Australian UFO incident on record, and why?
BC: I prefer to put forward my own list of “top ten” regional Australian cases, rather than one single case, as the list better reflects the complexity and nature of the UFO phenomenon. Despite various efforts to explain away some of my listed cases, they have stood up well. You can explore the details of each case, in part, through entries about each on my blogalong with a whole lot of other cases.
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Australia, Australian Defence Department, Australian UFO Research Network, Bill Chalker, Colin Norris, Diane Harrison, Dr. Miran Lindtner, Edgar Jarrold, Judy Magee, Keith Basterfield, Paul Norman, Peter Norris, Robert Frola, Stan Seers, Vladimir Godic