The fourth Timor Time was held at Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club on Saturday 25 August 2018, and what a great day it was! Over 190 people packed the beautiful venue, gathering together for a great meal, a social catch-up, and some terrific entertainment.
As usual, Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club assisted wholeheartedly and it was a pleasure to present our event in their fine premises. Much behind-the-scenes work made the day a huge success. The careful planning and preparations and the attention to detail ensured that everything was smooth and seemingly effortless. Janet Borg, Susan Connelly, Stephen Dillon, Rayella Haines, Gerald Kenneally, Paul McGrath, Graham McIntyre, Josephine Mitchell and Noreen Nicoara had done their work with enthusiasm in the preceding months, making the Timor Time day a fine example of people working together successfully for a worthy cause. Members of some of their families were also involved in the preparation and at the event, for which everyone in ATLAS is grateful.
MC Father Graham McIntyre introduced Chairman Gerald Kenneally, who began the proceedings with a DVD celebrating ATLAS’s work during the last five years. The World War II events which led to the friendship between Timorese and Australians, and which is a primary motivator behind ATLAS’s efforts, featured in the DVD.
The Timorese music group Ksolok performed lovely Timorese songs. We are so grateful to Idelina Araujo, Lito Brites, Maria Neves, Ligia Inacio, Zeca Monteiro, Carlos dos Reis, and Charlie Lay for performing. Their contribution to the day is much appreciated. Just great to hear those beautiful songs.
We heard from Liz and Gordon Biok after their recent trip to Timor- Leste, where they saw some of the ATLAS projects which are underway, particularly the sewing initiatives. Liz reported on the improvements she saw in the people and the systems. It seems that the Tetun language is strengthening as the vehicle of public communication, and so more books are required in that language. Liz also spoke glowingly of the increasing links between Timorese and Australian veterans, as a way of addressing the remaining great needs. Gordon her husband played his ukulele and led everyone in singing the Timorese song “O Doben”, along with the Timorese singers.
Josephine Mitchell introduced Jenny Shepherd who related some of the activities she recently engaged in with Kylie Knellwolf and Nicole Fraser in Timor. These women are keen to support health projects such as children’s eye checks, so very important to education, and so easily overlooked in situations of dire poverty such as in Timor-Leste. We were conscious of ATLAS member Chris Scharf whose work supports key ATLAS projects.
Susan Connelly and Janet Borg launched a website for the Scripture teaching program “Hela ho Maromak” (Staying with God). The program has been long in coming, and was adopted by ATLAS when Father John Iacono generously financed it. We are truly grateful to him.
Also launched were two children’s books produced by ATLAS: “Duni Dihi” (The Troublesome Wasp) and “Asuwa’in Lalehan Dere Tambor” (The Sky Warrior Playing the Drum). Luisa Marques wrote the stories and they were illustrated by Richard Gregory. The stories are in both Tetun and English, and the fine drawings are a delight. They are available to buy at $10 each.
Rayella Haines and her companions Marion Turner and Apana Panchanathan presented items to be sold in a most attractive manner.
Marion had made numerous articles from Timorese Tais. The items were beautifully made and sold like hotcakes – cushions, bags, hair adornments and a host of other goodies. Rayella herself had sourced the prizes for the raffle and the lucky door. These prizes were donated by Rotary Club of Penrith, the bedding and computer departments of Harvey Norman Penrith, George Gauci of Minchinbury Fruit Market, and Panarotti’s Restaurants.
We were again graced by the presence of widows of Australian soldiers who served on Timor in 1942: Betty Devlin, Nora Kenneally, Maria Hartley and Yvonne Langley-Walsh. Each was presented with a certificate bearing the title “Your friends do not forget you”. This was the Australian statement on leaflets dropped all over Timor as our men left in 1943. It summarises the attitude of so many Australians today, who strongly feel the debt which Australia owes to the Timorese people. Each widow also received a champagne flute which had the ATLAS logo acid etched onto it. The fine detailed etching work on the glasses was the result of Sean Nicoara’s deft skill and patience – a great contribution to Timor Time.
The presentation was made by Felice Brooks, the son of Miriam de Almeida and Philip Brooks. Felice looked so grand in full Timorese dress. Seeing Felice and the widows brought a tear to the eye. We will not forget.
All of a sudden, it was over! Timor Time, our major fundraiser, once again a happy memory, but the proceeds so very necessary for ATLAS’ partnership with Timor-Leste.
ATLAS is an “Advancement” society, through which both Australians and Timorese advance in cooperation, mutual support and human well-being. Three cheers for Timor Time!