The sighting at Papua brought about an unlikely allegiance among UFO research groups in Australia. The groups distributed copies of Reverend Gill's report to all of the members of the House of Representatives of Australia's Federal Parliament.
An accompanying letter urged the leaders of government to request the Minister for Air to issue an opinion on the subject, not being satisfied with their initial, negative reaction. This letter did exact a reply.
On November 24, 1959, E.D. Cash, who was a Liberal member of Parliament, asked the Minister for Air, F.M. Osborne, if they had even investigated the sightings at Papua. Osborne's response was that they were still waiting for more evidence before making an "official" report. In his own words;
"Most sightings of UFOs are explained and only a very small percentage-something like 3 per cent-of reported sightings of flying objects cannot be explained."
The response of the Australian Minister for Air was to be taken lightly, considering the fact that they had not even interviewed Gill, until the Minister of Defense requested an investigation into the matter. The RAAF finally interviewed Gill in December 1959, some six months after the sightings.
Gill related that the interview consisted of two officers who talked about stars and planets, and then left. He heard no more from the two. The RAAF finally released an opinion on the case... and a negative one at that. Squadron leader, F.A. Lang stated:
"Although the Reverend Gill could be regarded as a reliable observer, it is felt that the June/July incidents could have been nothing more than natural phenomena coloured by past events and subconscious influences of UFO enthusiasts.
During the period of the report the weather was cloudy and unsettled with light thunder storm.
Although it is not possible to draw firm conclusions, an analysis of rough bearings and angles above the horizon does suggest that at least some of the lights observed were the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars."
Since the unusual events of 1959, there have been many "explanations" of the event, all by individuals who had not witnessed the event. Most of these are, as you would expect, panaceas for the general reports of sightings. Among these are hoax, planets, stars, astronomical misidentification, Gill's myopia, etc.
None of these really address the event as it happened. Dr. J. Allen Hynek investigated the sighting at great length, and gave his usual well thought out conclusions.
His "Center For UFO Studies" research included well-respected Allen Hendry, who was, at the time, the Center's top investigator. Their conclusions were as follows:
"Though the smaller UFOs seen by Gill could be attributable to bright stars and planets, the primary object COULD NOT. "its size and absence of movement over three hours ruled out an astronomical explanation."
The inclusion of the Boianai case in the well-known Australian book of fiction, Randolph Stow's 1979, "Visitants," would become a double-edged sword. Although it brought the details of the case to a larger audience, its inclusion in pure fiction lessened the appeal of the events as being REAL.
Stow was a cadet patrol-officer in Papua, New Guinea, and an assistant to the Government Anthropologist. His novel begins with this sentence, "On 26 June 1959, at Boianai in Papua, visitants appeared to the Reverend William Booth Gill, himself a visitant of thirteen years standing, and to thirty-seven witnesses of another colour."
The events of New Papua in 1959, at first glance, seem to be too unbelievable to be true. It is just too good of a sighting, compared to hazy photographs, reports of abductions by unreliable witnesses, and the designation of any undefined light in the sky as a "flying saucer."
To be respectable, open-minded individuals, we must NOT compare one report to another. Each case must be viewed on its own merits. Many of the so-called explanations are by those who never interviewed Reverend Gill, never visited the site, and never read Gill's actual reports, but relied on third party explanations to draw their own conclusions.
Dr. Hynek and his staff members actually interviewed Gill, they visited the site, they searched weather reports, and they stood in the same spot that Gill stood. They interviewed other witnesses of the events. They followed up initial inquiries with subsequent visits, and interviews, allowing the passage of time to shed its light on the witnesses, and what they had seen.
Fourteen years after the fantastic events at Papua, Dr. Hynek revisited Papua New Guinea, Australia, and re-interviewed six of the initial witnesses.
They all supported William Gill's initial reports, and still believe what they saw to be a REAL craft of unknown origin. The Papua, New Guinea sighting is one of the best documented cases of an unidentified craft of unknown origin in UFO annals.
1977 Interview of Reverend William Gill
Also see Transcript of tape recorded interview of William Gill by The Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society & The UFO Investigation Center of New South Wales
B J Booth
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