Australia's X-Files: UFO Sighting Near Sydney Had The Air Force Spooked

It was just another ordinary morning in June, 1983 when Queensland dairy farmer Robin Priete looked up and saw something strange hovering in the sky. He phoned local police, who had it described to them as a large white light with flashing lights surrounding it. Normally the police would have written this off as a hoax or dismissed it as a crazy claim, but that's when three separate people reported seeing the same thing in the night sky. Elsewhere, the Air Force had seen it too, and started to get crews into their fighter jets to respond. Welcome to Australia's X-Files.

Inside declassified documents recently added to the National Archive Of Australia lies a report labelled "Operation Close Encounter". It has been kept secret for 30 years and was filed by a squadron leader from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) who tells the story of how, in one night, five separate people spotted the same unidentified flying object in the skies over the east cost of Australia.

In June of 1983, air traffic controllers manning the Williamstown, NSW radar tower noticed several contacts 300 kilometres away from Sydney, moving at great speed. According to the unsealed operations file, two jets were placed on standby to deal with the potential threats.

The report reads that the jets were never launched radar contacts were eventually dismissed as interference in the dishes.

Meanwhile, in Queensland, Constable Geoffrey Russell reported seeing circles that indicated that something had landed and taken off along a dirt road. He reported a circle of around 2.3 metres in diameter that featured an inner circle. The dirt around the circle had been blown away like something had landed there, the constable reported, adding later that he didn't think it could have been a hoax. Also in Queensland, three others report seeing similar discs floating in the air over the state.

Squadron leader Keenan, the author of the declassified report, wrote derisively of the incident, saying that it was expensive and unnecessary.

While UFOs are clearly nonsense, it's interesting to see how the Air Force responds to these unknown threats. [Illawarra Mercury]

Image: DragonRal

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    We're being groomed for disclosure

      +1 only a matter of time until it all comes out into the open...

    Do you think the martians on Mars thought that Curiosity was a UFO?

    How can you say that "UFO's are clearly nonsense" when this release is yet more evidence that people are seeing something in the sky?

    What exactly people area seeing is in most cases easily explainable yet there are hundreds of reports from eyewitnesses all over the world that simply defy a reasonable explanation. It seems there may even be a few of them in this recent release.

    Your ignorance isn't entirely your own fault of course as the ridicule associated with the term "UFO" is deeply ingrained in our culture. The ridicule in undeserving as this phenomenon requires more serious treatment and study.

      Well, UFOs clearly aren't nonsense in the sense that anything you see in the sky that can't be identified... is a UFO. So, if I stick a few LEDs inside a large balloon, fill it with helium and send it up above Sydney, then I've successfully created a UFO. Perhaps 'alien spacecraft' might be considered nonsensical.

      "defy a reasonable explanation" != alien spacecraft (not that you explicitly said that)

      Even if you rule out radar glitches, meteors, ball lightning, atmospheric phenomena, top-secret aircraft etc, that still proves nothing. There are countless explanations more likely than space aliens, including some we simply haven't thought of.

      Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence - and blurry photos, untrained witnesses and even mysterious radar returns are not even close.

    Couldn't have been a spaceship from another planet. Everybody knows that they only land/crash in the US.

    Luke Hopewill is nonsense
    See, I can be close minded and ignorant too :D

    Bet USA is the last country to publish UFO files, and then they'll start rolling out phase 2, releasing slightly more information while people get used to the idea of interstellar visitors (as if the last 50 years of films, comics, tv shows, games, etc haven't been enough for everyone to at least consider it)

      Hahaha not believing in fairies and invisible pink unicorns and UFOs isn't close minded. It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and X'iblorkquigan.

        Belief in alien life is not incompatible with Christian faith. Ask the figurehead of the Catholic Church

        I much more prefer a belief in a Aliens than a mythical man in the sky that supposedly created all... gimme a break. You believe in your fantasies and ill believe in mine... ok bible boi!

          God doesn't care what you prefer
          Without gods, man is nothing


              Apparently he cares a great fact, so much so that he will condemn you to an eternity of pain simply for not acknowledging his existence.

                Why do people always use one faith's beliefs to dictate their views on Christianity? Either keep your ignorant mouth shut or read the Bible for yourself. There's no such thing as an eternity of suffering.

                  Militant atheists love to judge god and all religions based on their tiny and limited understanding of religion

                  What gives you the right to make sweeping declarations for the whole of Christianity? What makes you think your particular sects' interpretations are any more valid than , say, Protestants?

        Believing in Adam and Eve/religion is more close minded.

    I knew Abbot (and his ears) had to come from outer space.

    "While UFOs are clearly nonsense"

    You mean alien spacecraft are nonsense, right? UFO doesn't mean alien spacecraft, it means unidentified flying object -- i.e. any object that is flying that can't be identified... which is exactly what this was.


      Everyone always thinks that UFO equals alien. Imagine if you had seen a B2 bomber flying over your head before it was made public, or any other secret military aircraft.

        But you can be pretty sure a B2 is made on earth
        Some ufo sightings allegedly defy the laws of physics, and there's more than just sightings
        At least 60 years of stories, and if just one is true, we are being visited

      You are judging alien technology with OUR knowledge

      Once upon a time, it was unimaginable that anyone could cross the ocean too

        The joint strike fighter would appear to defy the laws of physics to most people too.

          Most UFOs are explainable, but there are like 2-5% of cases that simply cannot be explained rationally without considering visitors

          Like this one:

          But that won't stop people insisting that all ufos are misidentified and that anyone who entertains the idea of alien spacecrafts must be a crazy fool

    I believe in alien life in the universe. I don't believe they'll have the means to find us let alone be able to travel such distances.

    I think all UFO sightings are 100% bullshit.

      And if they did, their stealth tech would be so advanced we wouldn't even know they are here.

      War in space is going to be like submarine warfare. He who is spotted first, dies.

    While UFOs are clearly nonsense

    Oh no you didn't :P
    Not to create dissension in the Giz ranks -- but not being at least open to the scientific possibility that UFOs exist would be as equally narrow-viewed as vehemently believing they were 100% real, no? C'mon Mulder, you want to believe ;)

      seriously? so out of the 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in this universe the possibility of there being other earth like planets that are more advanced then us is ridiculas? all you need is one earth like planet that is say 1 million years older then our earth and has had species develop 1 million years before us. could you imagine how advance we will be in 1000 years let alone 1 million? The maths alone proves its illogical to think we are the only advanced life forms. Are the human race that self centered that we believe we are the centre of the universe?

        For quite some time, we firmly believed this in a geospatial sense, yes.
        For a long time to come, we will continue to believe this in a psychological sense. Human is as human does. Stroke the ego.

          Math DISPROVES our existence. That is why many look elsewhere for origin explanations.

            No, it just points out that it was ridiculously improbable.

              and further, math shows that in a sufficiently large universe, ridiculously improbably events happen all the time.

              I think it extremely likely that we're not alone in this universe. I also think it extremely unlikely that intelligent aliens are a) close to us, on a galactic scale, and b) could be bothered to travel across those thousands of light-years for a quick fly-by, multiple times, without even saying a proper hello.

              Would love to be proved wrong, but I'm gonna need more than a blurry photo.

                "math shows that in a sufficiently large universe, ridiculously improbably events happen all the time"

                Wrong. You're using the old monkey at the typewriter scenario. Given an infinite amount of time, a monkey at a typewriter will NEVER type the entire works of Shakespeare without a single mistake. Maths says yes. Common sense says no.

                  Common sense doesn't cope very well with infinity :-)

                  But try this: If there's only a one-in-a-billion random chance of success, but a billion people try it every minute, how many successes are likely to occur in an hour? If it really is random, the answer really is 60.

                  If life is a random occurrence, and if our probability estimations are not way off, then the chances of life occurring only once, on all the 160 billion planets in our galaxy, are pretty remote.

        See my comment further down about us possibly being the future progenitors.

    Considering some of the greatest scientists in human history have clearly stated they believe it next to impossible that we ARE alone in the Universe, exactly what qualifications are you spouting to claim with 100% certainty the impossibility of UFOs?

    "I believe UFOs are nonsense" is the statement you were looking for there. Because that's precisely all that statement is, you opinion. Backed by nothing more then an absence of what you see as credible proof to the contrary. I on the other hand stand with those who believe it is nothing short of arrogance to believe that there is no other intelligent life in this universe, or indeed that we are the most advanced of said intelligent life.

    I totally read that as 'National Archive Of Australian Lies' and went "huh, that's quite brazen but probably accurate"..

    well it's not silly to believe that somewhere in our vast universe of which we have barely even begun to explore is a civilization on another planet with suitable conditions for life who could have had millions of years to evolve and create their own more advanced technology, the universe is constantly expanding and is thought to be endless, is it really that preposterous to accept we're not the only ones out there?, i mean theres so much left to explore just because we havent found aliens doesnt mean they dont exist and if they have better technology than us they could travel alot further from their home planet than we could at the moment

    Um...Question please. The squad leader wrote this UFO as expensive and blah, basically not worth the time to warrant a closer look. What if this UFO was hostile? It shows that if it was something more, then Australia would have been doing nothing while the hostile craft was hitting the East Coast of Australia.

    Just in case - I don't mean UFO as alien but a aircraft from another country or something

    "... seeing circles that indicated that something had landed and taken off along a dirt road. He reported a circle of around 2.3 metres in diameter that featured an inner circle."

    Does anybody else think this just points to somebody ripping some mad donuts on a dirt road..?

    Hey guys, something to ponder: What if we ARE in fact the future progenitors of all life soon to be spread across the universe. That this is actually the first time an area in the universe has been stable enough, for a long enough period, to allow for life to evolve. Thus it is us who seed rest of the universe with life.

    Just a thought.

      Interesting thought, but I highly doubt this is the case. Dominant species have been wiped out many times here on Earth, due to external factors. I fully believe that there are planets out there that have never gone through such phases, and thus the dominant species on these planets have been allowed to evolve to an intelligent state much sooner than humans.

      Stroke our ego just that little bit more!

      Not gonna happen, with the stuff currently happening around us. It's gonna take something very profund to make us change.

    Is UFOLOGY now classed as a "Science"? This would be better placed under the Geek Out category

    I know this is late but I just had to comment:
    "In June of 1983, air traffic controllers manning the Williamstown, NSW radar tower"
    Umm no, no ATCOs at Williamtown (note NO "s") saw anything. That was Sydney, after they had done a mod to the radar and didn't notice the UFOs only appeared after the mod was done. Nobody mans the radar tower, let alone ATCOs. The ATC radar wasn't even involved. That was 3CRU, and its radar isn't mounted on a tower.

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