National Archives staff often unearth exciting or unusual records from among the millions of documents held in the collection. These records are placed on the Archives’ Gems Register. ‘What a gem!’ showcases amazing finds from the Gems Register.
Unfortunately, inclement weather resulted in the cancellation of Australia’s first UFO conference, scheduled to be held in March 2011 in the Northern Territory. One wonders, if the conference did proceed as planned, whether the official reports of sightings of ‘flying saucers and other aerial objects’ held by the Archives would have been deliberated.
Interest in UFOs was high in the 1950s and 1960s. Popular culture reflected this fascination with the unknown and fed the imagination of people around the world. The mainstream press also carried reports of UFO sightings.
In the absence of a specialist government agency to deal with UFO correspondence, responsibility for recording encounters with unexplained phenomena fell on the Department of Air. These records are now held by the Archives, and include completed ‘Report on aerial object observed’ forms and narrative accounts of UFO encounters.
This Department of Air record, marked confidential, is a diagram of a UFO sighting from 1955. It details how the ‘object came from & returned to the west’ and ‘appeared to float just above the tree tops’. An ‘orange glow’ could be seen through the three portholes.
View Archives records relating to this article:
- Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects, 1953–55
- Western Australian Squadron Air Training Corps – investigation of unidentified flying objects, 1966–72
- RAAF Headquarters Support Command, Victoria Barracks – UFOs prediction agencies (unusual aerial sightings), 1967–86
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