Madoonga Station U.F.O.

As we have been requested in our home State of Victoria to notify the Air Force of any “Flying Saucers” sighted we presume the case to be the same here.

John Morris, 29 April 1955 [NAA: A705, 114/1/197 Page 17 of 210]

The night was clear on Thursday, 28 April 1955. John Morris got up at about 11:15 pm and left his quarters at Madoonga Station near Cue. An orange blur in the distance caught his attention. He called out to his friend, Gary Martin, to look at it. Gary got out of bed and, by the time he got to where John was standing, it had stabilised. An object with orange lights was hovering in the sky. They believed that what they were looking at was a flying saucer.

Upon seeing the object, they fetched a pair of binoculars so they could get a closer look. They described it as being saucer-shaped with an orange glow emitting from three spots. For three to four minutes, they stood and watched it in the night sky. It moved slowly, and they did not believe it was a comet or a fireball.

It had a definate [sic] shape, and I could see, thru the binoculars, what appeared to be portholes. No known vehicle was travelling on the property at that time to cause any reflections.

John Morris, 29 April 1955 [NAA: A705, 114/1/197 Page 19 of 210]

Both were shaken by what they witnessed. After it vanished into the horizon, Gary sat down to write what they saw. He began by stating that they observed “…a strange glowing object…” in a westerly direction that moved towards them and then returned the way it came.

On the following day, John copied Gary’s observations in a letter addressed to The Intelligence Branch of the Royal Australian Air Force at Pearce. To help illustrate what they saw, they each drew a small picture in the letter.

Upon receipt of the letter, Flight Lieutenant Hartley wrote to the Commissioner of Police in Perth. He told them of John and Gary’s report and requested that a constable in Cue investigate the matter and ask them to complete a form. He noted that if other witnesses saw the phenomenon, then the constable should also collect their statements.

John and Gary answered all the questions apart from 25 and 26, which were completed by the Royal Australian Air Force. Number 25 asked: “Location of any air traffic in the vicinity at the time of sighting.” The answer was ‘nil.’ Number 26 asked: “Location of any meteorological stations in the general area.” The nearest stations were Carnarvon and Geraldton, respectively 240 and 190 miles away from Madoonga Station.

Officer Gilchrist questioned other residents in the area, but there were no other witnesses of the phenomenon. He returned the forms to Perth and, on 27 June 1955, the Acting Commissioner sent a letter to the Royal Australian Air Force, at Pearce.

From Pearce, Flight Lieutenant Hartley sent John Morris’s letter and the forms to the Department of Air at the Victoria Barracks in Melbourne to add to their records.

As part of his duties, Officer Gilchrist suggested to John that he forward any photographs or diagrams of the object to the base at Pearce. It took him a few months, but on 8 July 1955, he wrote another letter. It began, “You will remember I wrote your department concerning a ‘flying saucer’ sighted by my friend Gary Martin and myself on the night of April 28, 1955, here at Madoonga Station.”

John had taken the trouble to draw a neat, detailed diagram of the object, with each part labelled to provide additional explanation. He had also taken a photograph of the scene and explained that at the time of witnessing the object, neither of them had “thought of attempting to use a camera” as they “were so amazed.

A drawing of the object John Morris and Gary Martin saw. Courtesy of the National Archives of Australia.

He explained that he and Gary were standing in the foreground and that their quarters were to the right. The ‘flying saucer’ had hovered over the trees in the background, and he had marked the approximate position on the photograph with a cross.

This photograph might give you some idea of the distance between the object and ourselves on that night.

John Morris, 8 July 1955 [NAA: PP474/1, 5/5/AIR Page 39 of 112]
A photograph taken outside John and Gary’s quarters at Madoonga Station. A faint cross marks where they saw the object. Courtesy of the National Archives of Australia.

Flight Lieutenant Hartley thanked him for taking the time to send the drawing and the photograph. Once again, he sent both documents to the Department of Air in Melbourne. The information eventually formed part of two files relating to unusual aerial sightings and reports on flying saucers. Within the files, there was no explanation or theory as to what John Morris and Gary Martin saw that night in the outback near Cue.


  • National Archives of Australia; [RAAF, Royal Australian Airforce, Pearce] Intelligence – unusual aerial sightings [UFO]; NAA: PP474/1, 5/5/AIR
  • National Archives of Australia; [Intelligence – General] – Reports on flying saucers [UFO’s] and other aerial objects – October 1953 – April 1955 [2.5cms]; NAA: A705, 114/1/197

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