A policeman on his way down a lane to the rear of the premises saw the smoke and ran back to tell the Crown Law officials who accompanied the raiding party.
The officials stopped the burning, and told a Mr Gogerley, of the scientology staff, that they were empowered to seize "any material relating to the practice of scientology on, by or with respect to any particular person."
Then, while Mr Gogerley conducted the officials through scientology's two double-storey buildings opposite the State Parliament, the police took off their coats and began carrying out stacks of manila folders.
Many of the folders had names and addresses of people written on them, and contained pen-written notes on notebook pages. Some contained graphs and typewritten notes.
The folders were stacked knee-deep on a tabletop truck to be taken "in safe custody." They will be handed over to the Attorney-General, Mr Rylah.
The raid came within two hours of the State Executive Council proclaiming two sections of the Government's bill to outlaw scientology.
Sections 31 and 32 of the Psychological Practices Bill make it illegal for scientologists to operate and require the files to be surrendered to the Attorney-General.
The State Health Minister, Mr Dickie, said yesterday the signs and placards in the window of the scientology headquarters must be taken down immediately.
The bill, passed by State Parliament, gives the Government the power to seize records by force if necessary.
In his report on scientology, presented to Parliament three months ago , Mr K. V. Anderson, QC, said that files could be used for blackmail, extortion or to force people to return to scientology.
The files contained intimate secrets revealed by people while being "processed" by scientologists.
Mr Anderson said duplicates of all files were held at the World Scientology Headquarters at East Grinstead, England.
Other sections of the bill, which provides for a psychologists' registration council, will be proclaimed early next year and the remainder will become law when the council has been set up.
Heavy fines are provided for practising scientologists or any unregistered practising psychologist.
[young policeman carrying files, staring straight ahead] CONSTABLE C. BRODERICK removes files from the scientology headquarters.