The Truth Is Out There – Queensland UFO related periodicals

Selection of Queensland UFO related periodicals from State Library of Queensland's collection

Selection of Queensland UFO related periodicals from State Library of Queensland’s collection

July 2nd each year is recognised by many around the globe as World UFO Day, a day when we turn our heads skywards and ponder the questions, “Are we alone in the universe?” and “Is the Truth really out there?”

Whether you are a skeptic or a true believer, the ideas of flying saucers and aliens from other worlds are deeply ingrained in our modern culture and reported sightings continue to intrigue us. State Library of Queensland is very fortunate to hold newsletters and magazines produced by UFO interest groups dating back to as early as 1957. These publications provide a fascinating insight into the world of UFO watchers. They detail recent sightings reported in Queensland, Australia and from around the world. For local cases, these groups often included the results of their own investigations, which provides an alternative source to reports published in newspapers.

The following is a list of UFO related periodicals from SLQ’s collection –

Here is a sample of some Queensland UFO sightings taken from The Australian Flying Saucer Digest (July-Sept 1965) –

On 27 May 1965 at Acacia Ridge, Brisbane at 4:15am, a woman was fetching a drink of water for her child, when she observed a very bright illumination in the backyard. The object was 10 feet wide, round, orange and red and “hovering to the left of a 60ft gum tree about 100 yards from the house”. It disappeared after about a minute, but later returned with a light which illuminated everything, including a small cloud.

On 2 Jun 1965 at Smithfield near Kuranda, a man observed a flying object – “it had the appearance of a two-third circle of lights, sharply defined which could have come through port holes, as they all disappeared together as though switched off at one centre”.

On 23 May 1965, an incident occurred at the Retreat Hotel in Epsom, about 65kms west of Mackay. At around midnight, the proprietor of the Retreat Hotel and two other men saw a flat disc about 30 feet in diameter  with “brillant light” on the ground about 500 yards from the hotel. The craft had three or four legs, each with a bright light. The object soon began to rise – hovering near the men for about 40 minutes and making a buzzing noise (like bees). The craft eventually rose up 300 feet and then disappeared. The next day a circular impression was found at the spot and was supposedly measured by a local policeman to be around 20 feet long. “The tops of trees were scorched, but no scorch marks appeared on the ground”.

Probably one of the most famous Queensland UFO stories was the Tully Saucer Nest. On January 1966, newspapers around Australia were filled with news of a flyer saucer seen taking off from Horseshoe Lagoon near Tully.  On 16 January, a banana grower was driving his tractor at about 9am when he heard a loud hissing sound. He then saw an object rise into the air. It was described as being 25 feet long and 8 feet deep. He reported that the strange object rose vertically to about 60 feet and departed south west climbing at about 45 degrees. The banana grower described the object as “light grey; dull-non-reflecting”. The reeds at the site were all flatten in an oval shaped pattern – referred to as a “nest”.

The banana grower was initially reluctant to report his sighting and didn’t do so until the about 7:30pm that evening, and escorted police to the site the following day. It was discovered the reeds had now turned from green to brown. Some had formed the opinion that the “nest” of flatten swamp grass had been done by a whirlwind or waterspout. The RAAF did some tests on a sample of reeds from the “saucer nest” and concluded they died “from natural submersion”. The Queensland Flying Saucer Research Bureau did their own tests. The newsletter for Mar/Apr of 1966 certainly wasn’t impressed by the RAAF’s conclusion about the Tully Saucer Nest. Although their test also detected no effects of radiation, they pointed out that the area of the “nest” had not been flooded recently. They suggested it would take approximately 3 days for the reeds to turn brown, not 24 hours.

No matter what you views on aliens and flying saucers, these periodicals provide a distinctively Queensland perspective on examining the unexplained.

Keep watching the skies!

Myles Sinnamon – Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland