Obituary: Quentin Fogarty

Quentin Fogarty, the Logie award-winning journalist who attracted international attention reporting on a UFO sighting in New Zealand, died suddenly earlier this month at the age of 73.

Born in New Zealand, he started his career at the Dunedin Evening Star newspaper. Coming to Australia, his career included working for ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten and SBS.

In December 1978 Fogarty, while employed by ATV0 (now Ten) in Melbourne, was holidaying in New Zealand with his family. His boss in Melbourne had heard reports of pilots witnessing strange lights over the skies in New Zealand, and summonsed Fogarty to cover the story.

Fogarty, accompanied by a New Zealand film crew, was then on board a freight aircraft which filmed several bright objects that were also tracked on radar.

The footage and Fogarty’s report was broadcast in Australia on New Year’s Day 1979, and made news around the world as a possible UFO sighting.

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A dispute with ATV0 over copyright of the New Zealand footage saw him resign from the channel a few weeks later.

The report also went on to feature in the US science series, In Search Of.

In the early 1980s, Fogarty wrote about his experience in the book Let’s Hope They’re Friendly, and at the time of his death had been working on computer analysis of the footage with the hope of finding a definitive explanation for the sightings.

During his career he also made documentaries, provided media training to politicians and executives and worked in issues management, corporate and government communications.

In 1985, Fogarty won a TV Week Logie Award for Best Documentary for Frontline Afghanistan, produced for ABC. The program told the story of Raffaele Favero, from Victoria, who was killed when he visited Afghanistan in 1983 to film the war. At the time, Fogarty described the documentary as “the best thing I’ve ever worked on”.

Quentin Fogarty is survived by former wife, journalist Sue Ahearn (who wrote the tribute linked below for the Sydney Morning Herald), sons Daniel, Ben, Sam and Jason and seven grandchildren

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, TV Tonight, New Zealand Herald. The Canberra Times, 20 January 1979. TV Week, 4 May 1985. 

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1 comment

    • Margaret on 8 August 2023 at 12:30 PM
    • Reply

    I remember watching this report on Channel 0. It was a very early introduction to my awareness and great interest in the UFO phenomenon.

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