Unidentified flying objects (UFOs)

The National Archives holds a number of records relating to unidentified flying objects (UFOs), flying saucers and other unidentified aerial sightings. Most of these records date from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, when public interest in UFOs was high and many sightings were reported to Commonwealth authorities.

There was no specific government agency responsible for the collecting and analysing these sightings, so responsibility fell on the Department of Air. The Department collected reports from defence force members, pilots and air traffic controllers, meteorologists and the general public. During the peak of interest in UFOs the department investigated some reports, trying to establish whether the sighting could be attributed to low flying aircraft, weather balloons or meteorological phenomena.

Reports were also collected by other agencies involved in air safety, research and intelligence, including the CSIRO, the Joint Intelligence Organisation, the Weapons Research Establishment at Maralinga, and the Department of Transport. The Department of Territories kept reports from Papua New Guinea.

Below is a selection of records in the Archives' collection that relate to UFOs. To find further records of interest, you can search the collection.

 


Item titleDate rangeSeries number
Training command HQ – reports of unusual activity and aerial phenomenon1950–55B5758, 5/6/AIR part 1
Investigations of flying saucers – policy1953–63A703, 554/1/30 part 1
Investigations of flying saucers – policy1953–67A703, 554/1/30 part 2
Investigations of flying saucers – policy1959–74A703, 554/1/30 part 3
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1953–58A703, 580/1/1 part 1
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1958–60A703, 580/1/1 part 2
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1960–63A703, 580/1/1 part 3
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1963–65A703, 580/1/1 part 4
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1965-66A703, 580/1/1 part 5
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1966-66A703, 580/1/1 part 6
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1966-67A703, 580/1/1 part 7
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1967-68A703, 580/1/1 part 8
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1968-68A703, 580/1/1 part 9
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1968-69A703, 580/1/1 part 10
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1969-69A703, 580/1/1 part 11
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1969-69A703, 580/1/1 part 12
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1969-70A703, 580/1/1 part 13
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1970-71A703, 580/1/1 part 14
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1971-71A703, 580/1/1 part 15
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1971-72A703, 580/1/1 part 16
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1972-72A703, 580/1/1 part 17
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1972-72A703, 580/1/1 part 18
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1972-73A703, 580/1/1 part 19
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1972-73A703, 580/1/1 part 20
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-73A703, 580/1/1 part 21
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-73A703, 580/1/1 part 22
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-73A703, 580/1/1 part 23
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-73A703, 580/1/1 part 24
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-73A703, 580/1/1 part 25
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-73A703, 580/1/1 part 26
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-73A703, 580/1/1 part 27
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-73A703, 580/1/1 part 28
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-73A703, 580/1/1 part 29
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-82A703, 580/1/1 part 30
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-82A703, 580/1/1 part 31
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-82A703, 580/1/1 part 32
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-74A703, 580/1/1 part 33
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1973-74A703, 580/1/1 part 34
Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects1974-74A703, 580/1/1 part 35

Additional resources

Memento, Issue 2 March 2011 – ‘What a gem! Flying saucers and other aerial objects’

Find of the month, August 2005 – Blinded by the light

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