Hamutuk Ita Ajuda Malu Together We Help Each Other
HIAM Health

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

Donor Country Span Link
USAID Timor-Leste 2004—2005
HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust) UK 2004—Present
The Optical Superstore AU 2005—Present
The Bupa Group
 AU 2008
BLS Constructions WA 2009
St John God Pathology AU 2006—2008
British Embassy Timor Leste 2005—2006
Jill Forsyth AU 2006—2012
GTZ (German Technical Corporation) Timor Leste 2007
Indigo Shire (Dr Wendy Connor) AU 2005—2008
AFAP (Australia Foundation for the Peoples of Asia Pacific Ltd) NSW 2007—Present
Ex-President of Timor Leste, Dr Jose Ramous Horta facilitated funds from:
  • The Office of the Presidents fund to Combate Poverty (2011)
  • The Office of the Prime Ministers fund for Social Welfare (2012)
Timor Leste 2006—2012
World Food Program (WFP) Timor Leste 2006—2012
The Chain Reaction Project SG 2009—Present
SETRA (Seattle East Timor Relief Association) USA 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013
Rotary (DIK)
 VIC 2006—Present
Hart Australasia
 AU 2012
Rotary Club of Queenstown SG 2012
Sunrise Joint Venture (Woodside, Shell, Conoco Phillips, Osaka Gas) International 2012—Present
Medic One WA 2012
ETCAS (East Timor Community Assistance Scheme) East Timor 2009, 2012
Lions Club Australia AU 2012
Maritime Chamber of Commerce NSW 2012
Isle of Man UK 2013-2015
AYAD (Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development) AU 2013-2014
ABV (Australian Business Volunteers) AU 2011 – 2012
Curves West Ryde AU 2012 – Present
Rob White Consulting WA 2011
Timor Leste Travel Agencies TL 2010
Friends of HIAM Group WA 2006 -2012
Uniting Church & Members (Wembly Downs) WA 2010
Halsion Timor-Leste 2011- Present
SAI (Smallholdings Agriculture International) WA 2012-Present

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.