Balibo Fort Museum Upgrade

We’re delighted to share a link to the launch of the upgraded Balibo Fort Museum, opening in 2021, attended by senior Ministers in the Timorese government, the Australian Embassy and Veterans. With thanks to Market Development Facility, the new displays will celebrate the deep links between Timor Leste and INTERFET, and encourage visitors learn more about Timor Leste’s rich cultures and communities.

Statement from the Balibo House Trust at the construction launch of the Balibo Fort Museum

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and especially all my great friends in Balibo.

I am so sorry that due to the COVID 19 pandemic I am unable to join you in Balibo today to launch the construction of the Balibo Fort Museum and commemorate the 20th. Anniversary of INTERFET.

The Balibo House Trust was established in memory of the five Australian journalists, killed in Balibo on October 16th. 1975.  They died in the pursuit of the truth and the cause of freedom.  Tens of thousands of East Timorese also lost their lives pursuing the right to chart their own future, and we remember all those locally who died so that Timor Leste could become an independent and free nation.

The Trust is founded on honoring the past, whilst working with the people of the Balibo Sub-District to build a more prosperous future.  The Balibo Fort Hotel and Museum are a visible expression of that.  The Fort has played a significant role in the history of the district, both as a fortress for colonial rule and as a home base for international forces seeking to protect a fledgling country which had just voted for independence.

Intertwined with its history are stories of heroism and courage, by the local community, and by Timorese, Australian and international soldiers, in World War 2, during the occupation and in 1999.  It is vital that we all reflect on the sacrifices that have been made so that it strengthens our resolve to create a better future.

The Trust has sought to honour and preserve this local history through the Australian Flag House and through this wonderful 300-year-old Portuguese Fort.  It is our hope that through the wonderful addition of the Fort Museum that visitors will come to the District to learn more about Timor Leste and its history, culture and people.  In doing so they will help support the local economy and our social enterprise, the Balibo Fort Hotel, which is providing much need training and employment for young people in the area.

So please enjoy this auspicious day in the ongoing story of the Balibo Fort.  And come back someday to stay and enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the people in this District.

Rob Hudson


Balibo House Trust

19th September 2020