Thursday, June 16, 2022

A very strange light - Casino, NSW, Australia - 1969

Possible “solid light” case – 1969, 12 May – Parkview, Casino, NSW, Australia


My “impression” of the event (based on my interpretation of the report below and my knowledge of a class of events often referred to a “solid light” events):


(The report on the Casino event below, transcribed by Bill Chalker (B.C.) was from a handwritten “draft” account prepared by G. (Joe) Testa sometime received by B.C. during the 1970s.  Joe Testa had supplied the original to T.V. (Tas) Homan, the UFOIC sightings officer during 1969.  Some background is required to explain the context of the report)

Joe Testa (right) with Ian Robinson
at Bungawalbyn in 1969 


It is fortunate that this “draft” (or rough handwritten copy) of Joe Testa’s report was preserved, because without it, the only other surviving accounts – apparently a brief account in the UFOIC Newsletter No. 26, December, 1969, and an inaccurate account in the Lismore newspaper the Northern Star - “Mystery object on lawn” – 15 May 1969 edition -  would have provided a fragmentary and distorted reflection of a fascinating experience.


From the UFOIC Newsletter:

“12/5/69 Casino – Parkview Road – Mr. & Mrs. Hinitt’s neighbour’s property. Mystery circular shaped, intensely brilliant object hovering above ground, with pulsating streaks or shadows making highly highly random movement. Raining very heavily at time but inspection next morning showed no burnt patches.”

This brief account appeared in a brief story - “What is the pattern suggested by the following? – listing the following events:

19/2/69 Omagh Road, near Kyogle – 20-foot diameter scorched circle on Bryant property

19/2/69 West of Nimbin on Goolmanger Creek – “nest” found by children

20/2/69 Afterlee – elliptical flattened area of swamp reeds 30’x12’ on O’Neill property

20/2/69 Tuckarimba – 16’ diameter ring completely charred on McCaughey property

8/4/69 Bungawalbyn – 2 circular flatten areas of saccaline crop, 6’ apart, lying on the ground in a north-south direction on Heffernan property

12/5/69 – Casino – Hinnit observation of ball of light

21/5/69 Corndale – oval shaped flatten grassed depression 20’ long 15’ wide, deeper around perimeter 

Readers of the newsletter were asked to map the locations to see the interesting implications for “a planned grid around the earth” – a reference to the then popular theories of New Zealand pilot Bruce Cathie (e.g. “Harmonic 33”).

I note that the 21/5/69 Corndale reference in the 1969 UFOIC Newsletter is probably in error, as the Hunters reported back in May 1966 they had found a 20’x15’ area of flatten grass.


In a letter to Tas Homan, Joe Testa wrote, “Meanwhile, another incident has occurred in Casino on Monday night (12thMay) at 9.45 p.m.  I have tracked down the couple who saw an eerie object in a neighbour’s back lawn during heavy rain.  I will compile a complete report from notes I made during an interview with them last weekend.  I believe the people to be quite genuine.  They, too, were afraid to say anything to newspapers for fear of ridicule, so the story was given to the press by relations.  It is not completely accurate compared to the detailed story I got from the couple.”


The Northern Star article “Mystery object on lawn” from 15-5-69 reported:

“Casino – A couple living in Park View are mystified by a glowing, pulsating object they observed for more than 10 minutes on a neighbour’s lawn.

“The couple watched the object, apparently resting on the lawn, for 10 to 15 minutes before it shot sideways about 10 feet leaving a glowing white trail and abruptly disappeared.

“While it was stationary, the object appeared to emit a vapour on all sides. 

“Although misty rain was falling at the time, the couple have discounted the possibility the object was an illusion caused by lights reflecting in the rain.

“No street lights shine into the area in which the object was seen and there were no house lights turned on.

“An inspection of the area failed to show any evidence that any substantial object was resting on the lawn.”


As noted by Joe Testa the newspaper account did not come directly from the witnesses and therefore some inaccuracies were present in the published story.


Here is G. (Joe) Testa’s report:


Report on mystery object seen by Mr. & Mrs. R.E. Hinitt of 2 Parkview Road Casino.


On Monday night (12 May), Mr & Mrs. R. E. Hinitt were watching TV in the lounge room of their home in Parkview Rd. Casino. At 9.45 Mrs. Hinitt got up and walked towards the kitchen.


As she did so she happened to glance through a doorway leading out to the back verandah.  Her attention had been attracted by a bright glow in the neighbour’s back yard.  She walked out to the verandah rail to get a closer look at this strange light.  She hurried back inside to call her husband out.  It was raining very heavily at the time.  As they stood there watching the glow they wondered if someone was in the yard with a torch.


Mr. Hinitt called out several times.  As the neighbour’s house was unoccupied at the time Mr. Hinitt thought that someone may be prowling around.


The glowing object remained stationary only 20-25 feet from their viewing position.  They were watching from the corner of their high verandah which is approximately 7 feet above ground level, so they were looking down at the object at an angle of approx. 30 degrees.  They believe it was just above ground level.


The rain was so heavy at the time that visibility was no more than 50 feet.


Mr. Hinitt thought at that moment that it may have been a reflection of light on the wet blue-couch lawn. He looked around carefully noting if any lights shone into the area which is surrounded by buildings and trees. He made absolutely sure that no lights were shining into the area.  There were no lights shining from nearby windows.  They even turned off all of the lights in their own house to make sure. Street lights in the area are not visible from this particular backyard as there are buildings on each side as well as trees.  


This prompted Mr. Hinitt to go out in the rain to investigate.  While Mrs. Hinitt kepth watch, Mr. Hinitt grabbed an umbrella, went down stairs and went over to the first of two paling fences which divide the properties.  The two paling fences form a fowl run tapering from 4 ft. at the verandah end of the house to 20 ft. at the other end. The fences run for 66 feet.


At this point Mr. Hinitt was about 12-16 ft from the object.  He could not hear any sound except the heavy rain beating on the ground.


As Mr. Hinitt stood at the fence he wondered what he should do next.  He began to feel a little frightened to go any closer, so he quickly back-tracked upstairs to the verandah where his wife had been pleading with him to come back.


As he returned to the verandah they were startled by an intense light which began to move all the way up behind the second paling fence beginning from a point near the object to the full length of the 66 ft. paling fence on the neighbour’s side.  They estimated the light took 4-5 seconds to reach the other end to where the fowl pen was.  As it reached the fowl pen, it lit up the entire structure of the pen. 


All this time, the glowing object had not moved from its position.  It was still there glowing brighter than before.


What puzzled them most of all was the fact that the light which they saw moving along behind the fence in the neighbour’s yard, did not light up the surrounding area or tree branches, directly above the fence.


As they looked much more closely at the stationary object, they noticed that within the glow, were pulsating streaks or shadows making highly random movements.  The object did not appear to be solid, but rather of a gaseous nature with high luminosity, circular in shape and approx. 4-5 feet in diameter.


Within the next few minutes the object disappeared. The duration of the sighting was approx. 10-15 minutes.


Mr. Hinitt returned 11/2hours (90 minutes – B.C.) later to the verandah to check the spot where the object had been. It was now 11.30 pm.  After a brief period as his eyes had become adjusted to the darkness outside, he noticed that there was a faint luminous patch where the object had been.


Next morning the Hinitts went over to check the lawn and surrounding area.  They found no markings or burnt patches.  Mr. & Mrs. Hinitt are a quiet living couple who would certainly not benefit by creating a hoax.


(That ends G (Joe) Testa’s report on the 12 May 1969 Casino event)


In a letter to Tas Homan (UFOIC), dated 11/11/69, Testa wrote, “I have compiled a report for you regarding the Casino mystery at Park View Rd.  I think you will find this quite interesting.  My colleague (Stratford) and I, have put it down to a possible experience of seeing a remote controlled phenomenon.

My layout of the event based on Joe Testa's rough site sketch:


The report by Joe Testa gives a good accounting of the incident but there is unclear on the critical aspects of the behaviour of the light that seems to progress slowly along the neighbour’s fence line.  Is it another ball of light, a light like a torch beam, or a slowly extending beam of light? 


The report relates, “an intense light which began to move all the way up behind the second paling fence beginning from a point near the object to the full length of the 66 ft. paling fence on the neighbour’s side.  They estimated the light took 4-5 seconds to reach the other end to where the fowl pen was.  As it reached the fowl pen, it lit up the entire structure of the pen,”and adds “What puzzled (the Hinitts) most of all was the fact that the light which they saw moving along behind the fence in the neighbour’s yard, did not light up the surrounding area or tree branches, directly above the fence.”


My impression is this may be a “solid light” event, no doubt influenced by my interest and familiarity with this class of events. However, the account described lacks that clarity of whether it is a beam of light or just a ball of light again.  In my interpretation, I felt that if it was another ball of light, it would have been referred to as such.  It appears it is something different to a ball of light.  The moving light is described as taking 4-5 seconds to go from a point near the ball of light to the fowl pen. This to me supports the characteristic of “slow progression” of “an intense light”, which doesn’t behave like normal light.  “Slow progression” of so-called “solid light” is a frequent characteristic of this class of UFO events, along with the familiar impression from witnesses that such events do not seem to be “normal light”.


I recently tried to find out more without success to date, but I have not been able to reconnect with or find G. (Joe) Testa. I tried to find Mr. & Mrs. R.E. Hinitt without success, but I recently learnt from Tim Hinitt, who has done research into the Hinnit name, that “the man was Reginald Edwin Hinitt, his wife Edith (Eddie) had four children, two boys died early and there was no further male Hinitts of this line. "Reg" died June 20, 1986 (suddenly) at Casino Memorial Hospital 77yo.”

Friday, June 03, 2022

Did Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke facilitate a meeting in March 1984 to allow a viewing of UFO films by business man James Kibel?

Did Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke facilitate a meeting in March 1984 to allow a viewing of UFO films by business man James Kibel? 

On Friday 3 June 2022 I sent a letter to the Honourable Kim Beazley AC (see below) to see if he could add light to the claim by James Kibel that he was allowed to view Australian Department of Defence UFO (UAS) films back in 1984.  I will report here any response.

I wrote a tribute to James Kibel which can be read here. Jim Kibel had told me about examining government UFO footage, but I had assumed this may have occurred in an overseas jurisdiction.  Reading a MUFON publication about the files of UFO researcher Lenonard Stringfield - "Retrievals of the Third Kind - a re-examination of Leonard Stringfield's UFO Crash/Retrieval Case" by Michael Schratt (2013), I noted cases attributed to Jim Kibel. While there were some apparent errors in the account I was sent copies by MUFON board director Rob Swiatek of Len Stringfield's original notes, that were his assistant's transcription of his commentary to her.  Some details may have been garbled in this connection - James Kibel to Len Stringfield, then Len Stringfield to his assistant Patricia McGown.  Schratt's account was accurate, but he had made no attempt to verify the accuracy of the statement.  As an Australian researcher, problems were apparent to me, but I worked through these matters and felt that it would be worthwhile to address the basis of the story to Kim Beazley, current Governor of Western Australia.  

An excellent biography of Kim Beazley by Peter FitzSimons addresses the background of the period.  

I will note that during this same period - 1982 to 1984 I was actively examining RAAF UFO/UAS files at the Russell Offices of the Department of Defence in Canberra.  I decided it would be more appropriate to ask Kim Beazley rather than Bob Hogg, for the reason outlined in my letter. I ask others to respect Bob Hogg's privacy as I feel that if there is any validity to the matters outlined Kim Beazley would be in a better position to comment, if he is able to.  I note that I have contacted Jim Kibel's widow on this matter.  She was not aware of the "job offer" from PM Bob Hawke, but confirmed that Bob Hawke had been a guest and friend, and that also Len Stringfield and his wife were very close friends.

Further below I add further background to the matter.

To the Honourable Kim Beazley AC,

Governor of Western Australia,
C/- Official Secretary,
Government House
St George Terrace
Perth WA 6000

To the Honourable Kim Beazley AC,

I am seeking your advice and clarification on a matter involving the PM Robert (Bob) Hawke and his business friend James Kibel that took place in March 1984, while you were the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence (The Minister for Defence was then Gordon Scholes, with you taking on that position on 13/12/84) and Minister for Aviation. 

Here is a photo of James Kibel and Bob Hawke at a gathering at the Kibel residence in Melbourne from about the early 1970s. Bob Hawke attended a number of similar events at the Kibel residence.

From documentation attached, soon after Bob Hawke became prime minister, he offered James Kibel a political position because of Kibel’s extensive experience in business. Kibel declined the offer, but did ask PM Bob Hawke one favour - to speak to the “Air Defence Minister” regarding the subject of UFOs.  A meeting was apparently facilitated in which James Kibel was also personally shown 5 films of UFOs by the minister during March 1984 along with an extensive UFO (UAS) file collection at Defence division headquarters.  The documentation attached comes from Binder 358 May 85-Oct85 - Notes from Len Stringfield, an American friend of James Kibel, dictated to Stringfield’s assistant Patricia McGowan, dated September 11, 1985. You will note the errors - “the Air Defence Minister”, “the Air Minister Bob Hogg”, The correct ministry designations would have been Defence and/or Aviation, and Bob Hogg was not a minister, but during that time was senior advisor to PM Bob Hawke.  I am aware that Bobb Hogg, currently partnered with Maxine McKew, has not been in good health and I did not wish to burden him with this enquiry.  While PM Bob Hawke may well have asked Bog Hogg to assist in facilitating James Kibel’s meeting, I thought it more likely that it would have come under your jurisdiction.

During the same period 1982 to 1984, over 4 visits, the first being a week long visit to the Russell Offices of the Department of Defence in Canberra I was granted access to the DoD’s UFO/UAS files. Here is a photo I took in the office of the Director of Public Relations (DPR), who was on holidays at the time (January 1982):

I also include 2 pages from my chapter contribution to the 2012 book “UFOs and Government - A Historical Enquiry”:
I therefore ask you of your knowledge/awareness of this matter, and more generally what your knowledge and opinions were and are on UFOs, UAS (Unusual Aerial Sightings - the preferred DOD 1984 term) or UAPs (the current Pentagon preferred term), given now that the matter has assumed a greater significance).

I thank you for your time and your extraordinary service to the people and governance of Australia.

Yours sincerely,

Bill Chalker

author of “The OZ Files - the Australian UFO Story” (1996)

From the WA Governor's website (1 June, 2022):

A similar UFO film viewing experience, to the above claim, was described by the late researcher Budd Hopkins in his 1981 book "Missing Time - A documented Study of UFO Abductions".  He told me the source's name and I was able to directly confirm the account with him. The source has since passed away.  See page 253 of the hardback edition of "Missing Time". Note that both anecdotes  are located in Australia and each feature filming from a B-29 aircraft.  Some were used for monitoring in the Maralinga atomic bomb trials in Australia, which were subsequently used in RAAF surveillance exercises for a few years, before going out of service.  So, there seems to be some suggestions that maybe the story has some substance.
Here is the story recorded by Budd Hopkins:
"As an example of suppressed evidence in government hands there exists a film of four UFOs taken over Australia by that nation's Air Force, and a good friend of mine, a former U.S. Air Force sergeant with top secret clearance, was shown the film in the late 1960s.  Together with other personnel with equally high security ratings, he viewed this short movie shot from an Australian B-29 converted to a photo-mapping function.  It showed a huge, hovering, windowed craft with three small UFOs attach to it as a kind of tail.  A door on the "mothership" opened - two vertical panels and two horizontally aligned ones sliding apart - and the three small ships zipped inside.  The panels closed, the large craft canted at an angle, and in seconds it was gone.  The film image of the UFO was extraordinarily large and clear, filling the entire movie screen."
Another Australian UFO film viewing claim was made by Graham Sayer, who in the mid 1960s, when he was in mid 30s, indicated he was engaged by the Australian government to establish an ambulance and emergency service in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. He indicated he had also been appointed medical director with the civil defence network.  In February 1966, he claimed the authorities had sent him on a 2 week training course at the Australian government Civil Defence School near Macedon, Victoria - a course intended for civil defence officials, that prepared them, according to Sayer, for nuclear, fire and flood emergency, but allegedly thrown into the mix was an added issue - UFOs, "which had caused numerous plane and air accidents and disappearances."  According to Graham Sayer the class was shown films of UFOs flying an Arizona military installation, allegedly travelling at about 5,000 miles per hour, as well as footage from the CIA, showing formations of UFOs over a US missile site. Aircraft sent up disappeared according to Sayer.  Sayer claimed that the course instructor indicated there was a worldwide government agreement on "a concerted campaign of silence.  Whenever there was an impressive report of UFO activity, the experts would first try to explain it away as a weather freak, or some other explicable phenomenon. If this failed, they'd try to discredit the witnesses.  According to the instructors, there are some things the public can't handle." 

I welcome any evidence or documentation that would determine the validity of such claims. I can be contacted via

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Connecting with the Impossible

 Much of the debate about UFOs and UAPs in the past few years has been restricted to a skewed focus on military cases, classified programs and a convoluted trajectory to achieve more transparent governmental reviews of data emerging from such activities.  

Those who have deep connections with detailed historical views and research know that we have seen all these things before. However the military case data is increasingly coming with multi-sensory data of a seemingly impressive nature, and yet in many such cases there is a convoluted drawn out battle to get access to such data.  A driver of such recent battles has been the much discussed USS Nimitz battle fleet encounters of 2004 - some of the best documented UFO/UAP cases in the modern era.  And yet, we are inevitably still chasing significant gaps in the multi-sensory data.  Given the political progress to date, despite its high profile and rampant publicity, we have seen declarations that much of the data emerging will continue to be stripped of its more sensitive (but perhaps more compelling) aspects.  

As an advocate of open and transparent scientific based multidisciplinary investigations and research, I applaud activities like SCU, UFO DATA, UAPx and Project Galileo.  The past 7 decades of civilian and official investigations have yielded extraordinary cases and data which should heavily inform the new investigative/research strategies.

The rich legacy of UFO/UAP history has alway highlighted that there are often deeper connections outside the apparent range of even the most advanced of multi-sensory data collections. The so-called "paranormal" dimensions of the UFO/UAP mystery are one such potent area of exploration.  There have been ongoing efforts to address these aspects over the long history of UFO investigations.  Researchers addressing these areas need to closely examine what has gone before.  I have engaged with and researched this aspect for many decades.  

Here are some of my commentaries addressing this so-called "paranormal" linkage with UFOs or UAPs:

During March 2022, Rice University's School of Humanities hosted a conference focusing on the "Archives of the Impossible", which shone a significant light on part of the "paranormal" dimensions of human experience.

Since Jeffrey Kripal's focus on "the paranormal and the sacred" in his 2010 book "Authors of the Impossible", featuring Frederick Myers, Charles Fort, Jacques Vallee and Bertrand Meheust, the momentum picked up with Kripal's striking pop culture examination, with "Mutants & Mystics - Science fiction, superhero comics, and the paranormal" (2011).  That book provided for me a welcomed remembrance of one of my own tentative inroads and anchor points into the UFO subject during the 1960s with its profiling of Otto Binder, author of "What we really know about Flying Saucers" (1967). Kripal's coverage led me to Bill Schelly's biography "Otto Binder - the life and work of a comic book and science fiction visionary".  Kripal's trajectory highlighted the humanities and cultural threads that have empowered deeper assessments of the uncertainties that abound in the "paranormal" aspects of the UFO phenomenon.

Jeffrey Kripal continued this process with his 2017 collaboration with Whitley Strieber "The Supernatural - Why the Unexplained is real."

The March 2022 conference showcased a striking collaborative archiving of rich resources for future research into the paranormal. 

For the area of UFO/UAP studies, archives from Jacques Vallee and Whitley Strieber are a formative focus for the growing programme of preserving important data. The conference provided an important focus on these efforts. "The Archives of the Impossible" are housed at the Fondren Library and I encourage you to examine them: 

The conference presentations are now more easily available:

and all the presentations are well worth your attention. 

Back in early March, when I was originally watching the main presentations live, I was personally struck by the coincidence of sitting through a couple of the presentations focusing on "death" and "surviving bodily death" - Whitley Strieber's "Them" highlighted this with "the Communion letters", with his wife Anne saying of the thousands of letters they received from experiencers, "This has to do with death", and Leslie Kean's " Impossibilities: From UFOs to materialisations" - on her explorations of evidence for "survival.". 

I was keeping "impossible hours" trying to keep up with the live early hour (Saturday morning, 5 March locally in Sydney Australia) presentations from Houston Texas.  I had just finished watching Whitley's talk, in the wake of Lesley's.  I felt I needed to lighten this journey with something different so I began listening to Ross Coulthart and Bryce Zabel's March 3 podcast "Need to know - In Plain Sight", where Ross said, "There's a mate of mine here in Australia Bill Chalker whose probably Australia's pre-eminent UFO UAP researcher and Bill told me about a Defence department scientist Harry Turner." Well, thanks mate I thought, so I started to settle into listening, but then I noticed a missed call on my mobile phone, which I had on silent.

Sadly it was my sister Anne telling me that her husband Stephen had passed away earlier that morning at their home in our old home town Grafton, on the north coast of Australia.  After contacting and trying to comfort my sister, I was in a whirlwind of emotion and struggling with a lack of sleep. To unwind I drove to a local village shopping centre, which has a open, free bookshelf, where locals leave books for other locals to borrow, keep. I had often found books that would be of interest, that I had never thought of before.  I guess on this occasion I saw it as a way to soften the burden of the close family loss.

However, I was immediately drawn to an unexpected find which made me think of my brother in law Stephen and of a decades long passion I had for a historical UFO mystery located at Parramatta (Sydney, Australia) - the 1868 story of a "vision" of a machine to go through the air, where Parramatta, surveyor, engineer and local council member, Frederick William Birmingham described seeing a "flying ark" land in Parramatta Park. Within easy walking distance was a historical cemetery where lies my original Australian ancestor William Chalker.

The unexpected bookshelf find was a book by Errol Lea-Scarlett "Roots & Branches - Ancestry for Australians.  How to trace your family tree."  Stephen Westley, my brother in law, shared a passion - family ancestral research.  Stephen was extremely good at this and we often discussed this and he shared his careful "family tree" research. He was so much better at it than me.  As a writer I was always more interested in the family stories behind the "family tree."

But, it was also Errol Lea-Scarlett's name that grabbed my attention.  In researching the 1868 Birmingham story I had encountered a 1911 letter by a local Parramatta seed man, horticulturist, printer, and genealogist, Hebert John Rumsey, which amazingly verified the very weird 1868 story.  

In the "Golden Jubilee history" of the Society of Australian Genealogists 1932-1982" I found an article by society fellow Errol Lea-Scarlett, "Up and down, then up again - a very personal account of our early days," which contained his account of a "secret" maintained by the society - "Mr Rumsey (yes, Hebert John Rumsey) was really the founder of the Society but he had fallen from grace and was no longer recognised or mentioned among the members."  Ironically, Stephen's funeral service was held at the Pullen Chapel, Grafton, 19th March, 2022.  The service was moving.  The chapel was historically housed in the old building that had belonged to the popular and prominent seed man to the Grafton area - the Pullen seed man family. As noted above, Rumsey was a seed man to the Parramatta area.

Prior to this unexpected personal aspect, I had some resonances with my own pathway through the UFO subject in some of the conference presentations.

Leslie Kean & part of her sitting description

For example in Leslie Kean's presentation she had described the impact of witnessing materialisation of "spirit hands," citing beyond her own first hand witnessing during the physical mediumship of Stewart Alexander, the historical legacy, particularly citing the controversial Polish medium Franek Kluski.  I previously had cause to consider Kluski in terms of a bizarre "bird" type apparitional episode experienced by Peter Khoury in Sydney in 2017. Kluski had a photograph taken in one of his medium sessions in 1919 which featured a strange bird like apparition purportedly turning up.  I was struck by the bizarre similarities.  I still don't know what to think about it. 

In Whitley Strieber's presentation on "Them", ("the Communion letters" apparently soon to be be addressed in some detail in another collaboration between Strieber and Jeffrey Kripal) I was pondering my early collaboration with Whitley Strieber on the events that informed what to him was "the best" representation of the "Visitors" amongst these same letters - an Australian case. Whitley had passed this letter onto to me.  After investigating it, I facilitated a meeting between the witness and Whitley, during one of his visits to Australia.  I described this in my 2005 book "Hair of the Alien".
Whitley Streiter & the Communion Letters

So for me at least, the resonances of the "Archives of the Impossible" went way beyond just researcher interest, to specific investigatory resonances, through to the deeply personal.  I suspect, given time and exposure, many might find many more. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Harry Turner and UFOs


Harry Turner (Photo: Bill Chalker)
Harry Turner & Bill Chalker - June 2004
Ross Coulthart and Bryce Zabel discuss Harry Turner's interest in UFOs on their excellent podcast "Need to Know" #9 The UFO Investigators 18 March 2022.

Thanks to Kenrick Leiba & Ross Coulthart for the positive endorsement on You Tube:
What Kenrick is referring to is my investigation of Vicki Klein, mentioned in a range of posts here on this "Oz Files" blog and in my book "Hair of the Alien":
I had an article on Harry Turner published recently in New Dawn magazine (January-February 2022

Ross, on the "Need to Know" podcast, attributes to me the startling point that Harry Turner may have spent some 80% of his time as head of the nuclear section of DSTI in Australia's Joint Intelligence Organisation on UFOs. Here is the background to that comment:

I recently had the following exchange with Rod Barton, author of "The Life of a Spy" and "The Weapons Detective"

Congratulations on the publication of your book “The Life of a Spy”. 

Apart from a general review of your work, I would like to discuss with you, in particular, your 5 years working in the nuclear section of JIO under Harry Turner (1977 to 1982).  

I had correspondence with Bob Mathams in 1982, and he backgrounded me on Harry Turner (O.H. (Oliver Harry) Turner), Harry’s interest in UFOs, JIO’s take on UFOs, and he helped me make contact with Harry. Harry and I first had discussions in 1982, and extensively after that. I met him in person a number of times, interviewing him at length, and he ultimately allowed me to access and copy his files on UFOs and related matters.

I have attached a recent article I wrote on Harry Turner, which addresses only a small part of his research in this area.

I’ve also included the Australian chapter I wrote for the 2012 book “UFOs and Government” to give a broad overview and context for Harry Turner’s role in the local controversy. 

While I take from your brief accounts in your 2 books mentioning Harry Turner, you were not that impressed with his UFO obsession, the matter (under the current terminology of UAPs) has now become a strong focus for military and intelligence organisations (and some science organisations, such as GEPAN in France, and Avi Loeb’s Project Galileo at Harvard university) around the world. I have also had an extensive focus on the Asian UFO experience, focusing mainly on China, and even lectured at 2 universities (in Beijing and Kunming).  

I would be grateful for the opportunity of discussing your recollections of Harry Turner in more detail.

I have written some books on the UFO subject.  I have an honours science degree in physical chemistry and Pure Mathematics from UNE (Armidale) and worked mainly in quality assurance & laboratory management.  During 1982 to 1984 I had direct access to the Australian Defence files on UFOs at the Russell offices in Canberra and published extensively on the results of this work.

Intriguingly, like you, I also had contact with the hill tribes in northern Thailand & southern China, but I was mainly focused on the Lahu, in areas closely related to the matters discussed above.

I would be grateful for the opportunity of discussing with you your recollections of Harry Turner.


20 January 2022:

Hi Bill,

Black Inc has passed your enquiry on to me. I have a few comments to make.

I got to know Harry pretty well even before I joined the nuclear group - we were a fairly close-knit family in DSTI. Harry as you no doubt know, was a very affable person and his nuclear knowledge well respected. He was however regarded as a bit of an eccentric although that was not unique within the branch. Mathams himself once said that some of the intelligence officers were eccentric. 

I was only engaged with the UFO aspects of Harry's work for a short while. I read some of the files particularly those from DAFI, and never knew what to make of some of them. However, I fairly quickly came to the conclusion that we (DSTI) were not going to resolve any of the difficult-to-explain phenomenon by standard intelligence techniques - and anything else would be outside our remit. 

The major reason for leaving Harry on his UFO quest was my awareness that Mathams was clearly not happy with this line of work. We had more than enough to do on nuclear matters and, given that I had already upset Mathams over my decline of his Harvard proposal, I thought it wise to get stuck into looking at nuclear matters. So, as I indicate in my book, I only had a fleeting engagement with UFO investigations. I did however admire Harry's persistence with this work against the odds even if I did not see eye-to-eye on most of it.

I am somewhat dismissive in the book of Harry's UFO obsession and perhaps could have presented matters in a more balanced way. To some extent this was because I did not want generally to get bogged down in details that are somewhat extraneous to my story - the book could have easily have finished up being 5 times longer!


I have read the articles you attached and have learnt a lot more about UAPs and found the history fascinating. I do not think I could possibly add anything else.

Regards, Rod 


Thank you Rod for responding to my enquiries and I am grateful for your elaborations.

I appreciate that “UFO obsessions” were outside the scope of your books, but Harry and DSTI/JIO interests are well within mine, and therefore I am grateful for your responses.

… I would be negligent in my research if I didn’t seek some further clarification, given that you provided two separate takes (and your much appreciated email response) on your fleeting intersection with Harry’s “UFO obsession” - your 2006 & 2021 books.  Your 2 books caused me to do a close analysis of the 2 accounts and I was hoping you may be able to address the points highlighted below, either via email or a quick phone conversation: 

1. In 2006, pg. 10, you describe Harry dashing off to examine “crop circles and scorch marks in a paddock near Canberra”, and in 2021, pg. you indicate that Harry had actually asked you to join him look for “the crop circles and scorch marks rumoured to exist in a paddock near Canberra.”  So, just to clear in my own mind you were indicating that you both went together to look for the “marks”, which turned out to be unsuccessful? 

2. Did Harry ask you to work with him on UFOs on just this one occasion or were there other occasions?  If there were other occasions could you elaborate? As I note you indicate to me your Harry mediated UFO flirtations were fleeting I am only trying to see if Harry’s UFO obsessions were a significant consuming activity with Harry on JIB/JIO time, or was it just a side interest.  I know what Bob Mathams wrote to me, but I’m trying to capture what the day to day realities might have been. While qualifying, if possible a perception of the degree of “UFO obsession” on Harry’s part, I note you indicate that Harry was “well respected” for “his UFO knowledge” (Note from B.C.: Here I meant to write “his nuclear knowledge”, but Rod did not take issue with that. Earlier Rod had written, “his (Harry Turner’s) nuclear knowledge (was) well respected.”).

3.  In my own examination of DAFI files at the Russell offices I came across a case dated 22 October 1978, on the Hume Highway approx. 10 km north of Goulburn, reported by a female ACT public servant, from 6.40 pm for 10 minutes, featuring 4 square lights next to each other, apparently rotating in the horizontal plane (relative width at arms length of approx. 20 mm. The intelligence officer indicated, “after the lights were sighted the instruments f the motor vehicle started to play up.  The speedo oscillated from min. to max. readings and eventually broke.  The generator light came on and there were extreme fluctuations in fuel and temperature gauges.  She stopped the car and observed the lights for 10 min. The lights disappeared and she continued her journey.  Instruments indicated normal with the exception of the speed.  This has sustained permanent damage.” The Intell officer evaluation: “(witness) has no relationship with any UFO organisations, is a person of some intelligence and not prone to exaggerate such matters.  I’m lead to believe this to be an accurate report and not a hoax of any kind.  I have no suggestion as to the cause of this report.”  I only mention this, because of its proximity to Canberra, that it was in DAFI files, which Harry was monitoring, and it was in 1978, early in your 5 year tenure in Harry’s department.  Do you recollect anything coming up like a scene out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, just down the road from Canberra?  Its the type of case I would have thought would have attracted Harry’s attention - potential physical evidence effects on a vehicle?  I don’t recollect coming across this in Harry’s files or in my various discussions with him.  We covered a huge amount of information, so it could have easily been over looked, plus I was looking at the entirety of Harry’s exposure to UFOs and the paranormal from the 1930s to the early 2000s. 

4. Did you have any exposure with people like John Farrands, George Barlow, Arthur Wills, Dr. Michael Duggin, John Symonds (from AAEC - nuclear), and Norm Gerrard (Radar & Electronic tracking group, WRE), all of whom had at least a passing interest in UFOs, where UFOs may have come up? 

5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but did UFOs dominate Harry’s time while he was working on JIO time?  I’m assuming that Harry must have given prominence to nuclear matters in his tenure during your exposure to him?  I realise this was also an issue with Bob Mathams, but Harry didn’t seem shy about regularly bringing the matter up with JIO, DSTO, DAFI etc at a reasonably high level, albeit seemingly unsuccessfully? 

I hope you can respond to this points. 

Given your intelligence involvement with nuclear matters and weapons of mass destruction, you may be interested in the book by Robert Hastings - “UFOs and Nukes” or just google him and the subject matter. Right now there is considerable interest in UFO (or UAP - to use the Pentagon/DIA preferred nomenclature) events and nuclear facilities.  It would be wonderful to get your take on this.  Hastings book is essentially a very detailed coverage of witness events in this context - most being military witnesses. 

Thanks again  


Bill, in response to your questions:

1.          I accompanied Harry on one occasion only (in his own private car). I do not recall exactly where we went but it was somewhere towards Queanbeyan. As I recall we never got out of the car which limited our search somewhat. I cannot remember what info Harry was basing his search on but he did not seem to have a precise site in mind.

2.          I only recall going on one trip with Harry. His interest in UFOs occupied most of his time (90%?). The nuclear section was left largely to its own devices and we worked out amongst ourselves who did what. But the work got done and Mathams seemed satisfied with this.

3.          I do not recall the Goulburn event and do not know whether Harry followed up. By that time, I was engrossed in Iraq and its nuclear program, as well as other nuclear matters, so I was not entirely clear what Harry was doing with his UFO investigations.

4.          Although I had met Farrands and Barlow they were well above my grade and the subject of UFOs was not raised. I knew John Symonds because he would usually host us when we visited Lucas Heights and occasionally, he would come to Canberra for technical discussions with us. UFOs were never discussed when I was present and although Harry may have had some talks with him, I am not aware of this.

5.          See 2 above.



Hi Rod, 

Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions.

I must say I am dismayed that Harry may have occupied his JIO time as much as 90% with UFO matters.

I suspect when Bob Mathams retired, Harry’s tenure may have reached the end of the nuclear road and tolerance for his UFO obssession faded quickly, making his continuing nuclear section head role in JIO untenable.

I suspect that because of Harry’s rather unique experience set in nuclear matters with Harwell, Maralinga etc in the 1950s, he was an obvious person for a new nuclear section with DSTI/JIO via Bob Mathams.  I also suspect that Harry may have had a hand in “head hunting” the British people that seem to make up the section when you came into Harry’s section.  Perhaps he knew these people because of his time at UK nuclear institutions.

Would any of the nuclear section people be worth following up with in terms of the knowledge and connections with Harry prior to your arrival? 

A final question? Would you have any early pictures of Harry?  The only one’s I have were for the 1940s radar school and my photos when we meet in his retirement during the early 2000s.  I would have thought given his involvement at Maralinga and in the royal commission, photos of Harry during these 2 periods would have been relatively easy to find.  To date, no luck.

Thanking you again for your time, information and patience with my enquiries.



Hi Bill,

I might have been a bit harsh on the amount of time Harry spent on UFOs. Thinking back, I recall a study that he and I made on global nuclear warfare and he was totally committed to that. Even so, if not 90% it must have been close to 70-80%.

You may be right about his decision to leave JIO but he had reached the retirement age anyway.

As far as the recruitment of the Brit nuclear scientists, as I recall only one had spent any time at Harwell and I don't think that overlapped with Harry. I am not absolutely sure how they were recruited but after they left JIO, it was my job to replace them (by this time I was at a more senior level). We did this simply by advertising in local papers near the establishment we were targeting - we always attracted several applicants.

All of the Brit recruits who knew Harry, are now deceased with the possible exception of one with whom I have lost contact. However, if he is still alive, he would be in his late 90s.

I have no photos of Harry. Of course, cameras in our environment were prohibited/discouraged even when we were out socialising.


Hi Rod,

Thank you very much for taking the time to clarify your recollections of Harry Turner. 

They certainly help me in my research on the long evolution of Harry’s activities and the merits of it all.

Best wishes ,


I will be returning to further commentary on Harry Turner.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

On Australian UFO Sightings podcast Monday 24 January 2022

Here I'm talking with Anthony Goodall
about an early book source I read as a teenager
Otto Binder's "What we really know about flying saucers"
The above link is a rough copy of the interview referred to below, which may be replaced by a version that edits out the "glitches" - enjoy the rapid ride through aspects of my journey through the mystery of UFOs - the "tip of the iceberg" - only a very small part of my journey

Hi everybody, providing Queensland & NSW here in Oz don't get taken out by freakish acts of nature, technological angst & strange dread, I should be doing a live interview on Anthony Goodall's podcast Australian UFO Sightings from 8.30 pm Sydney time, Monday, 24th January 2022. Should be interesting. Link below

Always good to have a chat, chill out with a cup of tea or something harder 
chill out & enjoy