In the March-April 2012 issue (Vol.15 No.6) of the Australian UFOLOGIST magazine my 5 page report "The Search for historical UFO Reports in Australia" appears. It is a detailed account of search for pre-1947 UFO events in Australia. I encourage you to support the UFOLOGIST magazine by getting a copy through Australian newsagents or via the publisher Earthlink Publishing, PO Box 738, Jimboomba QLD 4280 Australia. Also check UFOLOGIST magazine web site
In the article I describe the efforts over the years by various people, including myself, and list the historical cases that have emerged since the earliest attempts I could locate to find such cases - 1958 via early members of the Sydney based UFO Investigation Centre (UFOIC)
- through to now. Here are some extracts from my article:
Back in 1978, in an article entitled “Historical
reports in Australia,” I included a reference to a possible UFO sighting during the 1861
Burke and Wills expedition, around June 23rd.
Within days both Burke and Wills would be dead, victims of an expedition
gone wrong and paying the ultimate price in the harsh conditions of the
Australian outback at Coopers Creek. 2011 was the 150th anniversary of the epic and tragic Burke and
I have been interested in historical UFO
events in Australia and the near region ever since I began my interest in UFOs. My
initial conclusion back in 1978 was, “Australia like many other counties has a rich crop of UFO sightings long
before the modern popularisation of the mystery. The UFO phenomenon seems to be as old as man
himself.” In my original account I used “UFO
phenomena” to equate with the likelihood that many things come together
that are collectively called the UFO phenomenon, but I prefer to have the
latter linking directly to the “core” unexplained and alien phenomenon.
reports in Australia” prepared
by me in 1978 was expressed in various forms between 1978 and 1979 in the “LGM”
– the little green magazine - as the ACOS (Australian Co-Ordination Section of
the Center for UFO Studies) Bulletin was often called, along with some other
brief historical collations. It was the
first focused piece that discussed historical Australian UFO sightings
including circa 1830s – Oven River region of eastern Victoria; 1861 – Coopers
Creek, central Australia; 1868 – Parramatta, NSW; 1879 – Freemantle, WA; 1881 –
at sea between Melbourne and Sydney; 1890s – Orrorro and Moonta, SA; 1893 –
central NSW; 1902 – eastern Australia “fireball” epidemic; 1902 – Adelaide SA
observatory; 1909 “airship” & “mystery light” reports in New Zealand and
Australia; before and after 1912 – Boulia, Qld with the Min Min reports; 1925 –
near Moora, WA; 1931 – Francis Chichester’s Tasman sea sighting; 1932 0r 1933 –
near Nambour, Qld; mid 1930s – central Qld; 1935 – Nobby’s Head, NSW “UFO
photo”; 1944 – Bass Strait; and 2 events from 1947 – Greta Army camp, near
Maitland, NSW, and near Newry, Victoria.
Those 19 references spanning the1830s to 1947 started a major quest by
me to locate further reports.
reports in Australia” article was reprinted a number of times including in the ACUFOS (Australian
Centre for UFO Studies) Journal, Vol.2. No. 1 to 4, 1981, and in “UFOs over Australia” edited by Mark Moravec & John Prytz (1985).
In 1981 I circulated a
“Preliminary listing of Australian Historical UFO Events - Prehistory to 1949” to
try to ignite interest in historical UFO cases. This sighting material was
largely put together from diverse sources by Paul Cropper and me. I choose the end year of 1949 because it
seemed based on research at the time that 1950 marked the significant
beginnings of the Australian UFO experience.
I listed the year, location and a few words about over 110 events, plus
Zealand “airship” events from 1909, as well a few more Fortean or apparitional
I had thought with
this extensive historical UFO sightings listing considerable interest would
have been ignited. Instead apart from
some researchers passing on a small amount of material, generally speaking
interest was non existent. Rather than
put out a detailed document at that point I chose instead to concentrate on
detailed case studies of select compelling cases. From this approach emerged
the 1868 Birmingham “UFO vision” and 1927 Fernvale documents:
“A UFO Vision? The
mystery of ‘A machine to go through the air’, 1873, Parramatta, NSW, Australia”, by Bill Chalker, UFORAN, Vol.3, No.1, Jan./Feb.1982. I also wrote a
separate article on the 1868 affair for Fortean Times, “Encounter in the Outback”,
“The Terror Down
Under”, by Bill Chalker, Fate,
September, 1988 (re 1927 Fernvale, NSW, UFO milieu). A much more detailed
account was to appear in the Fortean Times special issue devoted to the
Mothman, but for whatever reason (possibly length) it did not appear despite
being listed in 2 issues as coming in the next issue. Further details passed onto me by Cecil
McGann (the primary witness of the 1927 events) before he passed away, were
incorporated into an extended document.
In 1996 my book “The
OZ Files – the Australian UFO story” listed more than 19 historical UFO events:
1793 – Sydney; 1868 – the Birmingham “UFO vision”; 1873 – Birmingham’s
“daylight disc”; 1878 – Goulburn “ghost light”; 1879 – Freemantle, WA; 1890s –
Orrorro & Moonta SA “ghost lights”; 1893 – central NSW “paralysis” event;
1902 – Adelaide observatory “daylight disc” sighting; 1902 – “fireball” epidemic; the 1909
“airship” in New Zealand; 1909 – Australian reports; 1909 (should be 1910)
Minderoo Station event; 1927 – Fernvale NSW events; 1931 – Chichester sighting;
1933 – abduction of aboriginal woman at Discovery Wells, WA (courtesy of Rex
Gilroy); 1930s – WA aboriginal “entity” encounter; 1935 – Nobby’s Head “UFO”
photo, and 1944 – Bass Strait; 1944 or 1945 – Christchurch NZ “entities”.
For me the 1868 Birmingham “UFO vision” and the 1927 Fernvale affair were
the 2 standout historical Australian reports. They allowed very detailed
research and investigations. Of course
many of the historical reports may be about natural or prosaic phenomena (these
have a value all of their own), but many provocatively suggest indications of a
much earlier UFO history than the watershed year of 1947.
The approximate 110
plus reports (not including the 1909 New Zealand “airship” reports) I listed in
1981 has been significantly expanded with my own further research over the past
3 decades, ably assisted by Paul Cropper.
We hope to publish a substantial document describing the extraordinary
legacy of historical UFO reports in Australia and the near region.