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BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor

Upcoming Sydney (NSW) Events:

updated: 23 July 2006

East Timor events in or near Sydney:

July 30 2006: East Timor Cultural Event (MMET)
Aug 1 2006: Premiere screening: Papua in Search of Justice (AI)
Until Aug 13 2006: 'Witness to War' Travelling Exhibition (AWM)
Australia East Timor Association (AETA) events
Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters (BMETS) events
Until 2007: Exhibit - Children of the Crocodile
Other Timor Events in or near Sydney

East Timor fundraising Special Event

Raising funds for The Mary MacKillop Foundation to produce and distribute much needed school books for Kindergarten age children in over 50 schools in East Timor, in the East Timor Tetun Language.

Source: Kerry Adolfsson

Sunday night 7-10pm
July 30, 2006

Lala Taverna
Parramatta Road

Only $55 a head

A feast of exotic foods with wine, beer & soft drinks

Magnificent cultural entertainment
Frank Celata - Associate Clarinet Player with
The Sydney Symphony Orchestra

East Timorese Traditional Dancers and Singers

A night to be remembered and enjoyed! 

Purchase your tickets from:

Veronica Lowe - 0411 507 604

Loretta Coombs - 0419 585 390

Kerry Adolfsson - 0414 687 168

Premiere screening: Papua in Search of Justice

Tues Aug 1, 6.30pm.
The World Bar,
24 Bayswater Rd,
Kings Cross.
Organised by Amnesty International.
Ph 9217 7670.

The full rave:

1 July – 13 August 2006

Witness to War -
an Australian War Memorial Travelling Exhibition


Sydney audiences will soon have the opportunity to see the latest travelling exhibition developed by the Australian War Memorial, Witness to war: official art and photography 1999–2003.

Witness to war is a poignant collection of the work from the Memorial’s most recent official artists and photographers. It is an exhibition that reveals not only the striking images of Australian servicemen and women in war zones throughout the world but also their personal stories.

Between 1999 & 2003 four official war artists, Rick Amor, Wendy Sharpe, Peter Churcher and Lewis Miller, along with two official photographers, David Dare Parker and Stephen Dupont, travelled to the hot spots of East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq & Solomon Islands to capture and record the service of Australian men and women on duty.  The time on the ground alongside the troops has allowed each artist & photographer to craft portfolios of work that provides unique insights into Australia’s role in these regions. They are our witnesses to war.

The locals who lived through the East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq and Solomon Islands conflicts are portrayed in moments of joy, sadness and reflection.  The resilience and positive attitude of the local people is frequently captured in the photographs and works of art displayed.

Witness to war: official art and photography 1999–2003 is organised by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. The exhibition is funded under the Federal Government’s commemorations program, Saluting Their Service, which honours the contribution of Australia’s servicemen and women.

Public Programs:

Sunday 23 July at 3pm
Official war artist, East Timor, 1999

Award winning artist, Wendy Sharpe recalls her duty with Australian troops in Darwin & East Timor in 1999. Sharpe was one of two artists appointed by the Australian War Memorial to cover the Interfet peacekeeping operations in East Timor. Her visual drawings & paintings are a personal and passionate response to what was then a sense of hope for the East Timorese.

Sunday 30 July at 3pm
journalist & author, Battle Lines

For the past two decades, Scott Bevan has reported for news & current affairs television, worked as a radio broadcaster, feature writer and arts reviewer. While reporting on the East Timor crisis for the Nine Network’s A Current Affair in 1999, Scott met official war artist, Wendy Sharpe.  Observing her at work inspired Bevan to write

Australia East Timor Association events:

More AETA events in Australia:

Australia-East Timor Association (NSW) Monthly Meetings are the fourth Wednesday of each month in Room 318, Level 3, Tower Building, Uni of Technology, Broadway between 6.30pm and 9pm. (Note the meeting room is in the corridor behind the main Students Association offices).

Details of guest speakers and agenda from Secretary Stephen Langford (02) 9331-5986

Next Meeting: Wednesday 28th June, 6.30pm
"The Media and East Timor" with David O'Shea and Peter Cronau giving personal impressions of East Timor events.

Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters (BMETS) events

See Blue Mountains NSW page:

Until 2007:
Exhibit: Children of the Crocodile - The Australia East Timor Story 

Children of the Crocodile - the Australia East Timor story is part of the Passengers Gallery at the Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour Sydney, Australia.

Exhibit times: Museum hours are 9.30 am - 5.00 pm Monday to Sunday.
The exhibit is on display until 2007 and is a definite 'must see' if you are visiting Sydney.

A new exhibit at the Australian National Maritime Museum explores the complex links between Australia and its nearest neighbour, East Timor. This close proximity has shaped the history of both countries - from World War II when Australians and East Timorese fought together against the Japanese, to the present day when politicians continue to tussle over an oil-rich stretch of Timor Sea.

Children of the Crocodile takes its name from Timor's famous creation legend, and includes stunning graphics by photographer Ross Bird, poetry from President Xanana Gusmão, and a spectacular crocodile lantern created by artist Carmelita Gomes. The exhibit was developed in collaboration with the East Timorese community and Australian solidarity groups, and draws on personal stories to illuminate the larger historical themes.

During World War II, the Australian army landed in East Timor to stave off a feared Japanese attack on Australia.  The exhibit includes a copy of one of thousands of fliers air-dropped over the island to reassure the Timorese that their Australian friends would not forget them. More than 50,000 East Timorese died under the Japanese before the war ended.

In 1975 Indonesia invaded East Timor and the island was isolated from the rest of the world.  Australian-based supporters used two way radios to link up with FRETILIN fighters in East Timor's interior.  Harassed by the Australian government, the operation went underground, shifting regularly between secret bush locations in the Northern Territory.  Displayed are one of the original radios, and photographs of operator Estanislau da Silva tuning into Timor.

Thousands of East Timorese fled to Australia after the invasion, and communities here fought hard to give their country a voice.  The display incorporates a large cross carried by Melbourne demonstrators after the Dili massacre (1991) when more than 200 funeral-goers were massacred by Indonesian forces.  Smaller, but equally significant, is the cassette tape of Liberdade by Melbourne band the Dili Allstars. The tapes, encouraging East Timorese to vote for freedom, were smuggled into Dili by Australian university students in 1999 and were given to East Timorese activists of the clandestine resistance movement.

In August 1999 Indonesia granted East Timor the right to vote on its future. Indonesian- backed militias went on a violent rampage after 78.5 percent of East Timorese ticked the box for independence.  An excerpt from Marsha Emerman's moving documentary Children of the Crocodile captures this extraordinary episode from the viewpoint of East Timorese living in Australia.

Australia led the UN backed peacekeeping force (INTERFET) to stabilise East Timor. Australian Major General Mike Smith was appointed second in command of UNTAET, the transitional administration that followed, and formed close friendships with several East Timorese leaders.  Xanana Gusmão's military medals and a FALINTIL flag given to Mike by commander Tuar Matin Ruak as tokens of thanks are on display.

Love tokens and letters between Australian activist Kirsty Sword and Xanana Gusmão highlight Australia's ongoing links with the world's newest nation. Using false names, Kirsty smuggled messages between imprisoned political leader (now President) and his supporters outside.  Xanana and Kirsty met and fell in love through this clandestine correspondence, eventually marrying in 2000.

Children of the Crocodile - the Australia East Timor story is part of the Passengers Gallery at the Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour Sydney, Australia.

Museum website:

Exhibit times:
Museum hours are 9.30 am - 5.00 pm Monday to Sunday.
The exhibit is on display until 2007 and is a definite 'must see' if you are visiting Sydney.


Children of the Crocodile - the Australia East Timor Story was developed with the generous assistance of the following organizations and individuals.

In Victoria, Australia-

Australia-East Timor Association,
Melbourne East Timor Activity Centre-METAC (Bernardo Duarte),
Dili Allstars ( Paul Stewart, Gil Santos, Paulo Almeida), Marsha Emerman,
Ross Bird, Carmelita Gomes, Peter Nicholson, Jennifer Hughes,
Patsy Thatcher, Bernardo Machado, David Scott, June and Annie Stewart

In New South Wales, Australia-

Mary MacKillop Institute of East Timorese Studies, Jura books,
Timorese Australian Council-TAC (Duarte Martins), Liverpool Regional Museum,
SEARCH Foundation, State Library NSW, Amanda Wise, Alix Mandelson,
Chris Elenor, Estanislau da Silva, Nairana da Silva and the da Silva family,
Nancy de Almeida, Manuel Branco, Natalina Ramos Horta,
Filomena de Caravalho, Noni Piedade, RDTL Consul General Abel Guterres,
Matis Soares, Christine Nobel (Kangaroo Valley - Remexio Partnership),
Paddy Kenneally, Maria Lemos, Nelson Lay, Major General Mike Smith

In Western Australia-

Western Australia Military Museum

In the Northern Territory, Australia-

Rob Wesley-Smith

In the Australian Capital Territory-

Michael Maley (Australian Electoral Commission), Australian War Memorial,
National Archives Australia

In East Timor-

Kirsty Sword Gusmão, Toola Adrianopoulos

For further information about the exhibit please contact the curator:

Lindl Lawton
Curator, Post Federation Immigration
Australian National Maritime Museum
Darling Harbour
Sydney, Australia
Ph: +61 2 9298 3718
Mobile: 0415 798 765

Other Events in Sydney

(These links are frequently updated and sometimes include East Timor events)

Active Sydney:
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Green Left:

2SER - 107.3FM underground radio

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