After a decade of working informally out of back sheds, attics and personal living rooms, we are delighted to announce the establishment of a formal CHART office in Melbourne.
Timor-Leste’s Ambassador to Australia, Abel Guterres, formally opened the new Clearing House for Archival Records on Timor office on 01 December 2011. Located in the Melbourne suburb of Essendon, the office will be the base for a significant expansion of the CHART project.
The three-room facility has been made available to CHART, on very generous terms, by the St Columban’s Mission Society, a Catholic religious congregation.
A good crowd of people with long-term connections to Timor watched an audio-visual display on the work and content of the CHART project – including rarely-heard recordings of Fretilin communications from East Timor in the early post-invasion period.
A highlight of the presentation was the announcement of a program to digitise extensive selections of Australian-held archival materials for access in Timor-Leste.
This will be done by CHART with its own scanning equipment and in partnership with interested East Timorese and Australian archival and academic institutions.
Ambassador Guterres congratulated CHART for its work and expressed a hope that when institutional, economic and social conditions in Timor-Leste allowed, some of the Timor archival materials held in other countries like Australia will eventually be housed in Timor.
Fr Gary Walker, Director of the Columbans, emphasised the importance of documentary evidence to a nation’s development and said that although his organisation does not work in Timor-Leste, the Columbans were honoured and proud to host the project.
Introducing the CHART Board
The evening’s proceedings were conducted by Bill Armstrong AO, inaugural chairman of the CHART Board of Management. Bill took this opportunity to announce T-L President Jose Ramos-Horta and former first Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri as Patrons of the project and to introduce the other members of the CHART Board – Pat Walsh OT-L, Assoc. Prof. Michael Leach, Susana Barnes and Cecily Gilbert. John Waddingham is the project’s archivist/manager.
The Board met prior to the launch to discuss CHART’s formal work program and prospects for raising funds to finance work in 2012 and beyond. More information soon on this website.
Thanks to Pat Walsh for his notes and photographs on the opening
A big ‘thank you’ to those who helped set up and run the event, especially Cecily Gilbert, Claire Woods, Michael Noone, Julia Waddingham, Ken Koutsoumally, Rod Harris, Sue Gordon and Ian Thomas.