Helen Hill’s ‘The Timor Story’ online

Helen Hill’s influential 1976 booklet, The Timor Story, is now available online.

The Timor Story was written during the last months of 1975 and finalised and printed in the desperately tragic weeks after the December 1975 Indonesian invasion. It rapidly became the principal backgrounder and educational tool for the first generation of Timor activists in Australia and overseas.

The initial print run of one or two thousand was soon exhausted, leading to a cheaper format reprint of 5,000 copies.

Distribution and sales of the booklet were handled by the nominal publisher, Timor Information Service (TIS), which also funded the large April 1976 reprint.

While priced at a little above cost, the modest profits from sales allowed TIS to circulate copies internationally and build stock of other distributable Timor literature. This stock of resources was later handed over to Melbourne’s Australia-East Timor Association which, through John Sinnott, developed a highly effective Timor literature sales and distribution regime which continues to this day.

From memory, I  don’t think Helen was ever paid much, if any, royalty for this work. In a much more important way, however, the early activist networks owed much to Helen for her effort in writing this valuable booklet.

Note on digital copy

Scanning The Timor Story is part of pilot work by CHART to digitise a broader selection of important materials for online access.

The item scanned is from the first print run of The Timor Story. To keep file size down, the scan was done as black & white – so eliminating the original coloured cover shown above and reducing the quality of half-tone images.

This scan also includes a rough, uncorrected conversion of the page images to readable text, making at least some of the text searchable and accessible to ‘cut & paste’.

Your feedback on scan type and quality will be much appreciated.


3 Responses to Helen Hill’s ‘The Timor Story’ online

  1. Margie Beck says:

    Dear John, I was so happy to see these publications this morning. I teach East Timor History at ICFP Baucau (Catholic Teachers College) and I am always looking out for new resources.

    You asked for feedback – the quality is fine and printed well. My only complaint is having to fight my way past Facebook and Scribd to get to the document itself – they are very aggressive advertisers.

    I am already using the Timor Archives to obtain material for teaching, so be assured that your work is appreciated!

    Best wishes
    Margie Beck
    Deputy Director
    ICFP Baucau

    • timorarchives says:

      Thanks Margie

      Beaut to know these digitised resources are of direct and immediate value & use to you.

      Please feel free to ask me directly if ever there’s something in particular you are seeking. I will see what I can find.

      I agree with your comment about Scribd. I have used it a bit in the past but the aggressive advertising you mention is relatively new. I was appalled to see it when viewing a couple of the items I have put up in the past day or two.

      Using Scribd is only a temporary measure. I am trying to set up a ‘digital library’ to host this digitised material, but it will take time. At least in the case of TIS and the Timor Story I, as original publisher, can make these things available for download. It won’t be the same for items in which I have no (or can’t get) copyright permissions.

      Facebook is not my primary communication method – but given the diverse Timor community using it, I do use it as a means to ‘advertise’ what I am doing.

  2. Dear John,

    I love this stuff very much….
    thanks a million John,


    Julio Gil da Silva Guterres
    Director of CJITL

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