Why Australia Owes A Debt Of
Honour To Timor-Leste
How 50,000 Timorese lost their lives protecting Australian soldiers in WWII
In World War 2, Portuguese Timor was neutral territory. However, Australia’s 2/2 Company entered uninvited, luring the Japanese troops. Many young Timorese volunteered to serve alongside as the eyes and ears of the Australian soldiers, hauling supplies and equipment, making the 2/2 Company an effective guerilla force. Some actually carried arms and took part in engagements with the enemy. The Timorese also gave the Australians food, shelter and refused to inform on them.
Unconditionally, the Timorese became an invisible shield for the Australians. With Timorese protection, Australia’s small guerilla company suffered an incredibly small number of casualties, and was able to fend off the Japanese troops even when they came within striking force of Australia later on.
Today, few are aware of the 50,000 Timorese who died as a result of this conflict. Despite supporting Australia more than any other nation during the Second World War, the Timor campaign appears only as a minor footnote in most histories.
But Australian veterans who fought in this campaign feel a great debt to their Timorese comrades-in-arms for saving their lives. Many are greatly aggrieved when successive Australian governments betrayed them. Unfortunately, Australian policy appeased the Indonesia invasion and subsequent excess of carving up East Timor’s oil reserves in the 1980s.
In the light of this, many Australians, whose fathers and grandfathers have fought in the Timor campaign are extremely grateful for the Timorese. Knowing that they would not be alive otherwise, many have stepped forward to make generous donations to HIAM Health over the years.Adapted from: “The Men Who Came Out of the Ground”
by Paul Clearly
Our Donors & Supporters
|HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust)||UK||2004—Present||Link|
|The Optical Superstore||AU||2005—Present||Link|
|The Bupa Group||AU||2008||Link|
|St John God Pathology||AU||2006—2008||Link|
|British Embassy||Timor Leste||2005—2006||Link|
|GTZ (German Technical Corporation)||Timor Leste||2007||Link|
|Indigo Shire (Dr Wendy Connor)||AU||2005—2008||N/A|
|AFAP (Australia Foundation for the Peoples of Asia Pacific Ltd)||NSW||2007—Present||Link|
|Ex-President of Timor Leste, Dr Jose Ramous Horta facilitated funds from:
|World Food Program (WFP)||Timor Leste||2006—2012||Link|
|The Chain Reaction Project||SG||2009—Present||Link|
|SETRA (Seattle East Timor Relief Association)||USA||2006, 2008, 2011, 2013||Link|
|Rotary Club of Queenstown||SG||2012||Link|
|Sunrise Joint Venture (Woodside, Shell, Conoco Phillips, Osaka Gas)||International||2012—Present||Link|
|ETCAS (East Timor Community Assistance Scheme)||East Timor||2009, 2012||Link|
|Lions Club Australia||AU||2012||Link|
|Maritime Chamber of Commerce||NSW||2012||N/A|
|Isle of Man||UK||2013-2015||N/A|
|AYAD (Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development)||AU||2013-2014||Link|
|ABV (Australian Business Volunteers)||AU||2011 – 2012||Link|
|Curves West Ryde||AU||2012 – Present||Link|
|Rob White Consulting||WA||2011||Link|
|Timor Leste Travel Agencies||TL||2010||N/A|
|Friends of HIAM Group||WA||2006 -2012||N/A|
|Uniting Church & Members (Wembly Downs)||WA||2010||N/A|
|SAI (Smallholdings Agriculture International)||WA||2012-Present||N/A|
To every single individual who has helped and donated to us:
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for all your contributions thus far. With all your continuous support, we have and will perservere in giving the people of Timor-Leste a brighter future.