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Bemvindo no parabens! Welcome and congratulations! 

You have made it to Dare.

Dare is about 9 kms from Dili, your start.  Doesn’t sound far but whether you are travelling by foot, or vehicle (or bike …) you’ve made it over some very steep terrain, around tight corners, circuited many other walkers, dogs, grains and washing laid out to dry. You’ve made your way around big trucks, many coloured and decorated buses loaded with passengers, products and livestock like pigs and chickens, many motor bikes – sometimes with a single rider but more likely a whole family, mum, dada, baby and other kids.

Actually we want to emphasise that this might be the continuous steepest section of road that you will traverse. You simply climb up and up and up and as you wind on you see the most extraordinary vistas backwards over Dili and down the coast. The views just keep on getting better as you make your way higher.

Dare is the first major village on the route from Dili to Suai, the major route right across the small island north to south (about 320 kms).  It’s a small village. No public buildings or big shops but a very important memorial to Timorese and Australian soldiers who worked together in WWII.

Walk on! Well done again … first leg achieved.

Additional Information – Dare Memorial

Story of Berta Martins – woman who saved an Australian soldier; ABC article; 10 April 2016

Dare Memorial

Today a visitor to the Dare Memorial can not only enjoy marvellous views over Dili but read and hear about the first significant contact between Timorese and Australians that has left a lasting legacy and debt. You can also dine is a small café, selling plungers of strong Timorese coffee, juice freshly made from local fruits and sandwiches from locally baked bread.

In 1941, Australian army ‘Sparrow Force’ landed in Timor with the view to holding back Japanese forces who were gradually making their way south. Over the next 2 years, soldiers stayed in Timor with the daily and deep support of many Timorese people, kriados.

The success of guerrilla operations was made possible only with the help of the Timorese people, who provided food and shelter, ponies for carrying heavy equipment, acted as porters and guides, and helped set up ambushes. Some Timorese took up arms themselves and fought alongside the Australians but tragically many were executed by the Japanese for providing assistance to the guerrillas. Dept of Veteran’s Affairs – see below

Strong friendships and the notion of mateship was forged. When the Japanese invaded, in February 1943 the Australian forces withdrew. When they left airplanes dropped leaflets from the sky saying ‘we will never forget you’. In reality, the raw facts are that over 40,000 Timorese people were killed during the violent period of occupation and reprisal that followed. Only one Australian lost their life but not through combat.

The memorial says that there is a “Debt of Honour”. It could be that story still continues and this debt is still not paid.  Events of 1975 with Australia’s links to Indonesia at the time of their occupation and then contemporary events with Australia’s much criticised dealings over the maritime border dispute and alleged spying over oil rights lead one to think that obligations remain.

Bega Valley advocacy group repays ‘debt of honour’ to people of Timor-Leste

When Timor-Leste (formerly known as East Timor) finally gained independence and peace in 2002 it had paid a heavy price of huge casualties and destruction, and they needed help.

Read the ETAN article here

Tribute to Gail Clifford

Ride to Dare

In 2017, East Timor lost a great supporter and volunteer. – Gail Clifford from the Blue Mountains.  Always deeply passionate about Timor-Leste, Gail spent many years working there as an Australian Volunteer International (AVI) as well as a self funded volunteer and an activist and organiser here in Australia.

Read the tribute here

Chris Hollonds is a long term supporter of Timor and has lived there for many years himself. As a builder, Chris has worked on affordable housing in Timor and is the primary supporter and mentor for the Nazareth Foundation, a social enterprise for people with disabilities who make various different products including clay stoves, water filters and bike racks for sale to an international market. We are indebted to Chris for overseeing the rebuild of the Taureme School. And Chris is a ‘deep biker’ … read on about his weekly bike rides to Dare.