Woomera - Europa 1

Compiled and copyright © 2008 by Keith Basterfield
PO Box 786, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006

The format for case headings is:
[Date] [Location (including Adelaide if location is a suburb of Adelaide)] [Time] [Duration] [Name of witness if in the public domain] [Number of witness(es)][Gender of witness(es)] [Age of witness(es)] [Type of event-Hynek classification] Some elements will be missing in some cases.

Updated information is sought about any of the cases below. Please forward to:

PO Box 786, North Adelaide South Australia 5006

E-mail to:

28 April 1952 Woomera West SA 0345hrs 15secs 3wits NL

Three men waiting for transport, noticed at 45 degrees SE, a light in the sky.  This light was moving WNW parallel to the ground, lighting up clouds and the surrounding terrain.  It was visible through breaks in the clouds.  The bus driver remarked, "They are firing rockets early today."  One witness replied: "It was not a rocket."  The light had an estimated size of one third that of the full Moon.  Witnesses, including astronomers saw a globular light.
(1.  National Archives of Australia. File D174, control symbol SA 5281. Adelaide Office. Statements of observers.
2.  National Archives of Australia file D250 56/483 p1.
3.  Australian International UFO Flying Saucer Research Society magazine August 1985.  Citing G. M. Newall, guard, at Woomera as the source.)

27 September 1952 Woomera SA ca2050hrs 5 secs 5 wits NO

Five witnesses were at the Woomera West Open Air Theatre.  They sighted an object, variously described as a "cigar," an "airship," and "cylindrical" with an "exhaust" at the rear.  It travelled horizontally from west to east, possibly NW to SE.  One witness reported "...two portholes with internal lighting."  It was moving quickly, with no noise noted.
(1.  National Archives of Australia. File D174, control symbol SA 5281. Adelaide Office.  Statements of observers.
2.  1954 Turner report.)

8 October 1952 Woomera SA 1345hrs 44 minutes 1wit 3 Radar

While tracking an aircraft, a target was acquired by radar.  However, no visual object could be seen by the radar operator.  "The signal to noise ratio was at least 5 to 1 which is similar to that obtained from a large aircraft." At one stage between 1345 and 1400hrs the target approached to within one mile.  Between 1405 and 1429hrs the operator tracked the invisible target at heights between 1500 and 5600 feet.  "At times during the movement of the target smaller targets seemed to detach themselves from the main target and drift away."  Weather was fine, 5/8 high cloud at 25000 feet-84 degrees F, north wind at 25-30 mph.

Comments by the Security Officer included (note it snowed briefly at 0900hrs the next day): " was most probably that the snow cloud had some connection.  However, the possibility of a neutron cloud is not ruled out..." A ground plot of the radar target was located on the file.
(1.  National Archives of Australia. File D174, control symbol SA 5281.  Adelaide Office. Statements of radar operator.
2.  NAA file D250 56/483 pp12-12
3.  1954 Turner report.)

28 October 1952 Woomera SA 1400hrs 45 minutes 1 wit Radar
Moving to 120 degrees.  Speed 27 mph.  Height fluctuated between 1500 and 5600 feet.
(1954 Turner report — appears to refer to the 8 October 1952 event above.)

24 July 1953 Woomera SA 0145hrs 1 wit NL

White oval light (detected by doppler).  Overhead, moving NW then SE.  Speed greater than 80 degrees/minute.  Dimensions 10-12 feet.
(1954 Turner report.)

29 July 1953 Woomera SA(1030-1530hrs) Brief intervals Many wits IFO

Objects seen at 1030 & 1038hrs.  One observer Moore thought one was round or flattened disc.  Elsewhere "...around object had been mistaken for a bomb being released...and a series of photographs had been taken..."  At 1400hrs two Security personnel saw spherical objects moving rapidly across the sky through binoculars.  "It is believed that the objects seen were balls of thistle seeds and vegetation."
(NAA file D250, 56/483 pp23-25)
White round objects at high elevation.  X10 binoculars used. (Thistles) (1954 Turner report)

14 November 1953 Woomera SA 0145hrs 1wit NL

Sighting of a "glare" believed to be an aircraft.
(1.  National Archives of Australia. File D174, control symbol SA 5281.  Adelaide Office. Statements of observer.
2.  NAA file D250, 56/483 p34.)

22/23 November 1953 Woomera SA NL

Three groups of residents reported objects:
  1. 22 Nov Moocalla to Birthday Siding 2200hrs 2wits
    Shaped like an inverted saucer, green/teal in colour, travelling in a northerly direction at speed, emitting bluish coloured exhausts from rear and sides.

  2. 23 Nov 90km out of Woomera 0200hrs 1M
    Saw a bluish green circular object in the sky travelling northwards at high speed.
  3. 23 Nov 0230hrs 1M
    Bright object proceeding north at high speed.

  4. 23 Nov 0315hrs 1M
    What appeared to be two flares dropped vertically to a position NW of the lake 15 miles from Pimba on Port Augusta road.  Colour was orange turning to pale blue.
(RAAF papers located in U.S. Project Blue Book files.  Ref: 8/110/2/WRA)

5 May 1954 Woomera SA app 1630hrs 5 mins 3 wits Radar/visual

1.  Radar echo of misty grey disc.  Bearing 355 degrees 35 mls greater than 60,000 feet.  Travelled S then E.  Visual observation aided by binoculars Dimensions estd 10 feet.  Speed 3600 mph to E (measured on trace).
(1954 Turner report.)

2.  "Harry Turner told me of a radar case that impressed him most in his study of the DAFI UFO files that lead to his classified 1954 report.  The case, originally classified 'secret' describes a UFO event over Woomera that was witnessed by an English Electric scientist and a radar operator.  The English Electric scientist was outside talking to the radar operator when the radar confirmed the presence of a UFO.  The scientist watched the object with binoculars.  One of his functions at Woomera was to monitor rocket tests, he was experienced in observing movements in the sky.  The radar tracked the UFO until it went out of range.  However, they were unable to confirm distance and size. Some tests were being undertaken with a Canberra bomber in flight.  The UFO was moving in formation with the Canberra.  The Canberra crew could not see the UFO, but both the plane and UFO were confirmed on radar."

3.  Three relevant documents were found on file D174, being statements by the two men involved and a covering letter, dated 20 May 1954, forwarding the statements, from the Superintendent Long Range Weapons Establishment Range, Woomera, to the "Chief Superintendent".  This letter included the statement:

"The persons reporting were separated by a distance of approximately three hundred yards and give corroborative accounts of what each observed."

One statement, dated 6 May 1954, read:

Post "R"



At about 1600 on 5th May, an unidentified Target was observed on radar AA Number 4 Mk. 6.

The target appeared on High Beam at a range of about 60,000 yards Brg 355 degrees approaching ‘R’, described a Hyperbols (sic) over ‘R’ and went out at a bearing of approx. 90 degrees.  On its way out it passed behind Spotting Tower, "S2".  I timed it over 15,000 yards 10 seconds which would make its speed approximately 3600 M.P.H.  Cfn. KEANE observed this occurrence with me.  Since the target was followed to 70,000 yards on High Beam the height would be greater than 60,000 feet.  See Diagram on next page.

The diagram referred to was not located in the file examined.

The other statement, dated 7 May 1954, which under the man’s name had an entry: "Vickers-Armstrong," read:


I was at Range R1 (Post R1), the Radar Post, standing by the Security Officer's Hut, and looking towards the radar Post at approximately 1645 hours, observing one of our trials through binoculars.

This object appeared to be travelling towards me or directly across a path of the approaching Canberra.  When it got to the path of the Canberra it turned to my right and was going in the direction from which the Canberra had just come.

When it got directly over the Canberra it slowed down.  During this time I found it very hard to believe what I was seeing, so I shut my eyes and then looked again through the binoculars and the object was still stationary over the flight path of the Canberra.

Since it appeared to be the same relative size as the Canberra through the binoculars, I thought it would be possible to see it with the naked eye.  However, when I looked over the top of the binoculars the object had either gone or I could not see it with the naked eye, and when I looked again through the binoculars I could not pick it up.

The object appeared to be travelling about three times as fast as the Canberra, but of course it is impossible to estimate, since I did not know what height it was.  It was perfectly circular all the time and a dark grey colour, and gave the appearance of being translucent.  It did not glisten at all when it turned or was it shiny.

(1.  National Archives of Australia file D174, control symbol SA 5281 covering the period 1952-1955.  Located in Adelaide Archives.
2.  NAA file D250, 56/483 pp36-40.)

6 October 1954 Woomera SA 1520hrs 10 mins 1M Willis

Gnr Willis is reported to have observed, and photographed with a Kine Theodelite, an aerial object.  He was looked at a Jindivik aircraft when he sighted the object.  It was silver white in colour, half moon shape, no details of structure and no sound.  He estimated it was at 40,000 feet travelling at "medium speed" travelling NW to SW in a straight path.  There was no exhaust, vapour or light seen.  It was lost to view "out of view at same height."  Three seconds of photography was undertaken.  The sky was "very clear" at the time.  A Department of Air Minute dated 28 Oct 54, records "The negative of this photograph has been handed to the Director."
(National Archives of Australia file Series A705 control symbol 114/1/197 date range 1953-1955 digital pages 71-73.)
Department of Air reference 901/1511/P1 (7A)

21 October 1954 Woomera SA 2125hrs 6mins 3wits NL

Observations of what witnesses described as a "dancing light," from adjacent to launcher apron number 1 range. Azimuth 215 degrees T at approximately 3 degrees elevation.  The light's colour varied from deep orange to a deep yellow. Described as three times the size of Venus.  The planet Venus was at 238 degrees T 1 degree elevation at the time.  The light was seen to move around in a small area.  Weather 70F, wind NNE 10 mph.  3/8 cloud at 15,000 feet.  Scattered ice crystals at 30,000 feet.  No noise heard from light.
(National Archives of Australia.  File D174, control symbol SA 5281.  Adelaide Office.  Statements of observers.)

20 July 1959 Woomera SA 2215hrs 15 secs NL

"A bright orange-coloured flying object was observed at the Woomera rocket range.  It was not associated with any range firing, the authorities admitted.  A forecaster at the Woomera meteorological station stated that the object was sighted at 10.15pm and remained visible for 15 seconds.  'It was travelling almost horizontally.  It was moving very fast, and looked like a bright shuttlecock, then appeared to break into three parts, which burnt out.
(Hervey, M. (1969.) UFOs Over the Southern Hemisphere. Horwitz. Sydney. P137.)

Late 1950s Woomera SA Dalton-Morgan + others

Group Captain Tom Dalton-Morgan was Officer-in-Charge of Range Operations.  Firing of a Black Night missile.  Received call from Recovery Officer Percy Hawkins about an unusual, bright light in sky at 80-90 miles NW of missile site.  Bright light at 5000 feet travelling directly towards the range head at high speed.  Captain viewed the incoming light.  It flew from NW then orbited the range buildings 5 miles to the S.  When E it climbed away to the NE at a steep angle.  It was a bright white-green light.  No noise.
(Llewelyn, K. (1991).  Flight Into the Ages. Felspin.  Warriewood NSW. pp143-146))

5 Jun 1964 Woomera SA Photo

This photograph was taken at the launching of a Blue Streak rocket, and shows an oval blob of light near the rocket.  A black and white print in the Flying Saucer Review was apparently from a colour movie.
(1.   Flying Saucer Review (FSR) Sep/Oct 1964 p 4.
2.   In 2003, The Disclosure Australia Project combed an index of DSTO photographs, held at the Adelaide office of the National Archives of Australia but failed to find any record of this photograph.)

8 June 1966 Woomera SA 1939hrs 2 wits 2M

Mr R Sharp, one of the men said: 'We saw the object from Woomera village at 7.39pm.  It had a light equivalent in intensity to a 200 watt bulb at 200 yards, and it appeared to leave a blue-green trail. 
(Hervey, M. (1969.)  UFOs Over the Southern Hemisphere. Horwitz. Sydney. Pp 145-146.)

9 June 1966 Woomera SA 3 secs 1M

There was a jet-like sound, but no aircraft were in the area.  An object was then seen, white in colour, trailing a bluish-green colour.  In size, it was smaller than the full Moon.  It travelled from azimuth 110 degrees to azimuth 90 degrees in 3 seconds.
(Report from AIUFOFSR citing D. A. Needleham, Engineer/ELDO employee.)

1966/1967 Woomera SA 1730hrs 1M DD

Looked up into sky and saw at least three lots of UFOs, 40 in all.  One broke away and hovered low over him.  Big as a football field.  Mother told him he walked home in shock and took him to Woomera hospital.

28 April 1967 Woomera SA app 1400hrs Multi wits DL

During the launch of a Skylark rocket, seven reports were made by observers of the launch.

(1)  1402hrs - About 0.5-1secs K Simmons.  Optical tracker.  Object appeared round and white, as large as the Moon and passed to the right of the Skylark at approx +55s in sequence, no elevations angle noted-no further details.  (page 50 of file.)

(2)  1402hrs - 2 secs Position K8 (very close to the launch point) L. Davis.  Optical instrument - tracking telescope.  Skylark in sky.  "Between +55s and 60s a dull white object appeared high in the tracking telescope for approx 2 secs.  Being high in the telescope the object was distorted but appeared to be long and wider in the centre than at the ends, the top piece being a slightly darker shade."  (pages 51-53 of file.)

(3)  1402hrs - +60s. 2/5 secs. I J Davis Site 4 (28kms NW of the launch point) Watch Skylark.  Trial 23 A3.  "85 degree el.  The object appeared to be moving very fast, was white in colour and saucer shaped sighted in FOV for approx 2/5 secs.  Flying in roughly the opposite direction to the vehicle-object appeared to be twice the size of the vehicle."  (pages 54-56 of file.)

(4)  1402hrs - Site K12 (18kms WNW of the launch point) A2 operator.  ¾ sec at +55 and =60  Using optical instrument watching Skylark.  Sky-fine, slight wispy cloud.  White object passed below vehicle in camera FOV.  (pages 57-59 of file.)

(5)  1402hrs - 6mins.  Site K9 (10kms North of the launch point) Through kinetheodelite.  Az 220 degrees el 70 degrees.  "Object acquired at +1m30s in sequence and lost at +8 to +9m in sequence.  Bright object fell away from dull white object.  Two objects kept coming back to larger object and flashing past.  "Large object was fast moving in az when picked up then slowed down in az and gained speed in el.  Small objects were fast in az."  Larger object dull white.  2 smaller were bright yellowish white.  (pages 60-63 of file.)

(6)  1402hrs - +60s in sequence.  L Fox at site 3.  Kinetheodelite.  Watching sky saw a silver white coloured object.  (pages 64-66 of file.)

(7)  1402hrs - 6 mins.  Site 3.  Optical-kine.  "Object acquired at approx +1m30s in sequence at 90 degrees elevation.  Lost at +8m10s to+8m30s at an az of 220.2 and el of 7-10.  Moved from 90 degrees el to 7/10 degrees el.  And at 15 degrees el was at 220.2 az.  Watching Skylark.  "The object flashed past the Skylark-was dull in colour.  Dull round object with two (undecipherable) 2 small shot past and buzzing round elongated.  Disappeared 8m10 to 8m30.  Round just moved out and others with it and went away 220.2az 15 degrees el when lost 7-10 degrees.  (pages 67-68 of file.)

30 June 1967 Woomera SA App 1100hrs Multi wits DL

Jindivik RPV

Jindivik RPV (Remote Piloted Vehicle)

During a Jindivik test, ten observations were made.

(1)  R Hodge Photographer.  3 secs Overhead.  One white round object.  60 to 90 degree very fast NNW to SSE straight line.  Lost in mid-air. Blue sky.  Target aircraft on dummy run  (Pages 72-73 of file.)

(2)  Approx 1100 till 1200.  Harvey.  Asst Photog.  Tracked at K12 (18kms WNW of the launch point)  Operator V34 drew attention.  White objects.  "No definite formation but most appeared to be within 10 degrees az of each other at times."  White.  "Most were spherical while others were appeared similar to meteorites." Lost.  "Mostly due size, distance and haze."  (Pages 74-75 of file.)

(3)  1100hrs to 1140hrs intermittent.  L D East.  Asst Photog.  165 degrees az 45 degrees el.  Crossing path of missile in trail EC 23.  Overhead.  Silver white like aircraft without wings.  45 degrees el slightly arced path.  "Did not track long as trial imminent."  Clear blue sky.  (Pages 76-77 of file.)

(4)  1135hrs Fraction of a sec.  P Howard.  Asst Photog.  Through 12x tracking scope of Congreves camera from site 6 K35 (45kms NW of launch site.)  Travelling across path of a Jindivik aircraft.  Ap 40-45 degree el very fast.  Northerly direction gaining height.  Went out of FOV.  Clear blue sky.  Object appeared to be closer to K35 than Jindivik.  (Pages 78-79 of file.)

(5)  11 to 1140 Intermittent.  M Randel.  Asst Photog.  165az 45 degree el at 1100 cross path of missile in trial.  Overhead.  Intercom talk alerted.  45 degree slow to very fast. Went towards range head.  Trial EC23.  (Pages 80-81 of file.)

(6)  1100-1145hrs M Wallbanks.  Asst Photog.  Site 2.  Congreaves K14 (18kms north of the launch point) kinetheodelite.  App in tracking telescope.  40 degrees el.  Travelling to 145 degrees az.  Path on curve, others circled and disappeared.  Disappeared over horizon.  Clear blue sky.  Jindivick trial.  (Pages 82-83 of file.)

(7)  1100-1130hrs I Neill.  Asst Photog.  Site 4.  K16.  (28kms NW of the launch point) Kinetheodelite.  Overhead.  Six objects white some appeared to have red others are rocket shaped.  First sighted 80 degrees el.  Lost over horizon.  Jindivick trial. (Pages 84-85 of file.)

(8)  1100-1115hrs Asst Photog.  10-15mins.  K15 (28kms NW of the launch pont).  Overhead.  Six to 12 objects white.  All shaped.  Travelled in all directions.  Straight path.  First sighted 80 degrees el.  Faded into distance.  Photographed at K15 for approx 5 seconds.  (Pages 86-87 of file.)

(9)  1100-1130hrs 10-15mins.  K15 (28kms NW of the launch point).  J Windner.  Asst Photog.  6-12 objects in no apparent formation.  White.  First seen at 80 degrees el.  Irregular cigar shapes - oblong.  Appeared to fade in distance.  (Pages 88-89 of file.)

(10)  1105-1130hrs P Ratcliffe.  Assist Photog.  V34 at site 3.  Gooney Bird.  Approx 55 degree el az 120 degrees.  Several white objects through binoculars.  Some circular some cylindrical.  NW to SE.  Went over horizon.  Jindivick dummy trial.  Tracked three objects to just on horizon.  Az 155-165 degrees.  (Pages 90-91 of file.)

The file contained pages discussing these two incidents as follows:

Page Item
41 Teleprinter 26 July 67.  From Woods Director Weapons to DS/R&E Supply Melbourne.  "Further to my W8476 about alleged UFO sightings.  The sentence in my message saying no films were exposed may be misleading.  In fact the normal trial kinetheodelite films were exposed during the trial.  These should have shown the UFO crossing the field of view close to Skylark but nothing was recorded."
42 Teleprinter.  25 July 67.  From Woods Weapons to DSR&E Supply Melbourne.  Re alleged UFO sighting.  "No, repat (sic), no films were exposed."  Reports came from kine operators and "...did not correlate with each other except in time."  "Sightings of wind carried webs are possible explanations."
46 Teleprinter.  Undated.  From Woods Weapons Salisbury to DSR&E Supply Melbourne.  Alleged UFO sighting at Woomera. Text same as 42.
47-48 Memo.  24 July 67.  To Director.  From Trials Wing HQ.  Alleged UFO sighting at Woomera.  Reports on two sightings 27 April and 30 June.
49 Memo.  21 Jul 67.  To Supt Trials From PO Ranges Gp Subject Alleged UFO sightings 27 April 67.  Enclosed original reports from various operators.  "It is however, quite possible that multiple sightings of wind carried webs could provide reasonable explanation."
69 Minute.  19 Jul 67.  To DD/T From ? Alleged UFO sighting.  First five paras of memo 17 Jul refer to 27 Apr sighting.  Paras 6 & 7 refer to 30 Jun 67.
70 File note 19 Jul 67.  From D/D Trails to S/TRD.  "I wouldn’t give the operators very high marks as observers."
71 Memo.  17 July 67.  To Supt Trials from PO/Ranges Alleged UFO sighting.  3-4 such sightings occur each year usually in late autumn months.  "The 'objects' are almost certainly wind-borne spider webs…The fact that attempts to photograph these 'objects' have always been unsuccessful tend to support the theory that they are in fact extremely tenuous body at no great distance from the observer."
92 Teleprinter 18 Jul 67.  From Dep Sec/R&E Melbourne to Woods WRE Salisbury.  Subject: Sightings 27 Apr 67.  "2.  The posts concerned were K9, K12, K8, site 3 site 4 and X11.  3.  Have you had the films examined as discussed..."
93 Memo.  30 Jun 67.  To PO Ranges Gp from Trials Division.  Subject: Alleged UFO sightings.  Director has received report.  Please investigate and report.
94 Memo.  23 Jun 67.  To DD/Trials From WRE HQ.  Subject: Alleged UFO sightings.  Please give me a report on 27 Apr.

30 November 1968 Woomera SA Afternoon 30mins 2wits DD

"...Miss Heather Potter, and a friend, watch for about 30 minutes two lights, one brighter than the other, about the size of peas, moving slowly across the sky against the wind.  One of the UFOs took the lead after a while, but the other one soon caught up with it.  They then stopped and hovered for some time, after which the brighter of the two sped off to a new location.  It again started to hover, whereupon a small black object left the parent craft and sped off at terrific speed.  The smaller light faded, while the other moved slowly across the sky and finally disappeared.  The matter was reported to the meteorological office at Woomera, but no explanation was forthcoming.
(Hervey, M.  (1969.) UFOs Over the Southern Hemisphere. Horwitz. Sydney. pp 152-153.)

28 Nov 71 Woomera SA 1315hrs 15secs 1M Murphy DO

Murphy was tracking a pre-launch meteorological balloon through an optical theodolite.  Balloon was situated almost due East of range E (? Difficult to read document) at 6900m and bearing 088.4 True and 37.7 deg el.  The balloon and its attached target were backgrounded by thin lines of cloud.  As the balloon moved slowly to the left side of the lens Murphy noted an object moving away from the balloon to the right of the lens.  He initially thought that the target had separated from the balloon.  He then tracked this object for 15 seconds.  It was moving at a constant speed in a shallow upward curve.  It was shaped like a cross.  He concluded it was an aircraft.  Light bluish grey in colour.  Outline was reasonably well defined.  Small image size.  Image was twice the size of the balloon target and similar in size to the balloon (which was 10-15 feet diameter).  Its 'fuselage' and 'wings' appeared to be of uniform thickness and length.  No evidence of engines or tail.  DCA reported there was a BOAC 707 at 37000 feet at 150-200 miles SE of Leigh Creek at the time.

"Two most likely explanations of this incident are:
  1. A mistaken identification of the object seen by Murphy through his theodolite

  2. A flight across the prohibited area by an aircraft for which a flight plan had not been submitted to DCA."

(pp144-150 of RAAF 580/1/1 part 16.)

20 Dec 71 Woomera SA 0650hrs 1M Sketcher DO

Met observer saw aircraft with the naked eye as a tiny silver dot ahead of a vapour trail.  Heading NE.  No known aircraft in the area.
(pp119-124 & 128-129 of RAAF 580/1/1 part 16.)

"...this sighting appears to be sufficiently authenticated, yet there is no official knowledge of any military or civil aircraft that could have intruded into the Woomera air space.  It is therefore now a matter of speculation that some foreign aircraft passed through a Restricted Flying Area on December 20, 1971, without the knowledge of the appropriate authorities and this is cause for concern."