Appendix six to the final report on the Disclosure Australia Project's five year search for Australian government UFO files concerned the disappearance of Frederick Valentich (click here) on 21 October 1978. While looking through Australian government files for UFO related material, the Project also kept an eye out for any papers concerning Frederick Valentich.
On 10 August 2004, I submitted an FOI request to the federal Department of Transport requesting a copy of their accident/incident investigation report on Valentich - their file reference V116/783/1047. Their reply on 1 September 2004 in part read "I understand that file V116/783/1047 has been destroyed by the National Archives of Australia." An electronic search of the NAA's records failed to find any trace of this file. It did indeed appear that it was no longer with us.
Fast forward to earlier tonight, when I was browsing the NAA website and to my amazement there was file - safely in the Archives!
File series B1497 control symbol V116/783/1047 DSJ - Cape Otway to King Island. 21 October 1978 - Aircraft missing (Valentich). Date range 1978-1992. Barcode 10491375. Location - Melbourne.
There was one hitch thought, the status of the file is shown as "closed." This in theory means that although the file is in the NAA you can't access it. Then I noticed that the reason for it being closed was that in 2008 when the status was shown as closed, the 30 year rule did not apply. Via the Archive Act you can only access files with papers on them providing they are more than 30 years old.
Now it is 2011, so one should be able to access papers on the file provided they are dated 1978, 1979 or 1980. The Archives still won't let you access papers less than 30 years old.
Needless to say, I have just lodged an application for access to the files, which should get me the 1978-1980 papers. This process can take up to three months, so I will keep you posted. However, finally we might get to see what the Department of Transport's investigation found.