2nd World War Memorial Museum and Cafe Project - Fatunaba, Timor-Leste

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"In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the historic Dare/Fatunaba memorial, the community of Fatunaba in conjunction with Kirsty Sword Gusmão, the Australian Embassy in Dili and the F-FDTL (Defence Force of Timor-Leste) will open a Museum and Café at the memorial site on 25 April, 2009. The memorial, built in 1969 in the hills overlooking Dili, was a gift to the people of East Timor from members of the 2/2nd and 2/4th independent companies. The Museum, a repository of documents, photos and memorabilia relating to the Australian presence on Timor during the 2nd World War, is the first of its kind in Timor-Leste and will contribute significantly to building a greater understanding amongst East Timorese and foreign visitors alike of this moment in history and the enduring bonds of friendship and camaraderie which emerged from it.

“Over 40,000 East Timorese people lost their lives as a consequence of their involvement in the Australian campaign on Timor”, says Kirsty Sword Gusmão, wife of East Timor’s Prime Minister and initiator of the project. “This Museum project honours the memory of those selfless Timorese who lived and fought alongside Australian soldiers, but also, very importantly, it is a tribute to the friendship and solidarity between the people of our two nations which had its beginnings in that dark page of our shared histories.”

A Primary School built with private donations also features on the memorial site, its 300 local students being the living custodians of the memory and history housed within the museum complex. The school’s official opening will be celebrated on the same occasion.

“It is fitting that the opening of this School, Museum and Café be on Anzac Day, the day when Australia remembers the debt it owes its own veterans” says Peter Heyward, Australia’s Ambassador to Timor-Leste. “The Museum will help keep alive the spirit of the Dare memorial; recalling the unique bonds that Timorese forged with Australian troops. But the project also respects the intent of the veterans who established the memorial by providing practical assistance to the local community through the School and the Café.” (PRESS RELEASE | Recebido por e-mail)

Organising Committee:
- Community of Fatunaba/Dare
- Kirsty Sword Gusmão
- Australian Embassy in Dili
- F-FDTL (Defence Force of Timor-Leste)
For further information, please contact:
Jenny Coles
Email: pa_ksg@alolafoundation.org
Tel: +670 7321288
Kirsty Sword Gusmao
Chairwoman, The Alola Foundation
PO Box 3
Timor-Leste (via Darwin, Australia)
Website: http://www.alolafoundation.org

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