‘East Timor Calling’ – Digitisation project

Volunteers are currently digitising up to 200 episodes of an Australian radio program about East Timor, broadcast in Melbourne during the early years of the Indonesian military occupation.

From 1977-1980 the Media Group of Melbourne’s venerable Australia East Timor Association produced East Timor Calling on community radio station 3CR. The weekly program combined resistance radio messages and other news from inside Timor, commentary on mainstream Australian media reports and exclusive interviews with key individuals like Jim Dunn, Jill Jolliffe, Helen Hill, Denis Freney, Bill Roberts and Chris Santos – all interspersed with Timorese and other music.

Rod Harris and Guat Kin Chew are painstakingly converting their audio-cassette recordings of the program to digital format for long-term preservation. Both were key members of the original East Timor Calling production team.

Digitisation of the tapes will ensure the survival of this record of Australian activist efforts to inform and keep the Timor issue alive during very difficult times. It’s not yet decided where the digital versions will be deposited, but options include offering them to interested East Timorese archival repositories.

Program samples

You can hear a few selections of segments from East Timor Calling on the player below (click ‘Play’ symbol).

The selections begin with a sample of the program’s signature beginning and ending (taken from the inaugural program in January 1977). Later segments include Denis Freney interview on Fretilin resistance (1977), a report on Fretilin’s arrest of Xavier do Amaral (1977),  Mari Alkatiri’s statement on negotiations (1978),  interviews with Brian Manning and Rob Wesley-Smith on Alarico Fernandes’ capture/surrender (1979).

Note: Hover mouse pointer over figures in blue band to locate individual segments. Original sound file is large so may take some time to load on slow connections. Once file is fully downloaded, you can click to play any segment rather than listening to whole file from start to finish.


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