CHART News April – September 2013
Australian donations to CHART are now tax deductible. See details here.
It has been a long wait but our August 2012 application to join the Register of Cultural Organisations has finally borne fruit. We will use this new status to apply for grants from relevant philanthropic bodies – but that will also take time.
We are grateful for any donation, no matter how small. We hope some CHART supporters will consider including us in their annual deductible gifts budget. Or drawing our work to the attention of others. See our Donate page.
Herb Feith Foundation Grant
Our first significant grant has come from the perfect source – the Herb Feith Foundation. Herb (1930-2001) was a legendary Indonesia expert, peace activist and all-round warm human being with strong links to East Timor activism during the occupation years.
The grant for $24,400 will be used over twelve months to begin digitising the internationally-important archival collection of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA – now ACFID) Human Rights Office. We hope to employ East Timorese students currently in Melbourne to do the scanning work. For more details see here.
Swinburne University undergraduate student Solly Marshall-Radcliffe commenced work at CHART in July.
His semester-long task is to locate surviving archival records of East Timor activism in Melbourne, 1974-1980. Solly has built a comprehensive list of sources in the collections of Timor Information Service and the Australia East Timor Association (AETA), as well as in papers held at the University of Melbourne Archives.
Solly’s work, which will include a narrative summary of his findings, will be of great use to CHART work, and to AETA which is on the brink of getting its comprehensive archive into order. His work will also feed into planned AETA/CHART seminars on the early activism years in Melbourne.
Outreach – Australia
We are pleased to report doing some initial work on the Timor materials of Jim Dunn in Canberra in May. We hope to report more fully on our work and Jim’s collection later in the year.
We continue to keep our ear to the ground to learn of Timor collections still in private hands. CHART has been invited by the owners of two other significant collections in Sydney and Darwin to assist in arranging and describing the material for longer-term preservation and access.
Outreach – Europe
CHART representatives John Waddingham and Cecily Gilbert visited Europe in August-September and met a range of people in England and Portugal with Timor Archival interests.
In London, we discussed the archival collections of Tapol UK, the former Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR – now Progressio) and the original British Campaign for Independent East Timor (BCIET). We made a CHART presentation to the London NGO Forum on Indonesia and East Timor and met key staff in the British Library’s Endangered Archives Program.
In Lisbon we visited CIDAC and the Mario Soares Foundation – both of which have completed major Timor archives digitisation and access projects. In Porto, north of Lisbon, we examined the the large archives of the recently retired and legendary academic, Prof. Barbedo Magalhaes.
More detail on these terrific encounters will appear on the CHART website in coming weeks.
National Film & Sound Archive
Andrew McNaughtan’s audiovisual collection has been languishing in the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) since its deposit there in 2006. Cecily Gilbert and John Waddingham spent two weeks in residence at NFSA in May documenting the content of the collection. We hope the collection will be available for public access sometime in 2013 through the NFSA catalogue. See here for details.
This work played an important role in consolidating links between CHART and NFSA, and is likely to lead to further collaboration.
University of Melbourne Archives
CHART has begun a pilot digitisation project with the University of Melbourne Archives. The focus is on the Timor papers of the late David Scott. The driving force of the project is to fulfill a CHART commitment to David Scott before his death, to make copies of his materials available in Timor-Leste.
A side benefit of this work to CHART is access to the expertise and advice of the University of Melbourne’s Digitisation Centre. This connection will greatly assist our own digitisation operations.
In addition to website articles already mentioned, new material on our website since March 2013 includes:
Timorese Resistance Archive: New online version. An introduction to a new search and digital file delivery system of this important archive; developed by the Mario Soares Foundation in Lisbon.
Australian diplomats: behind the scenes. Exploration of a few samples of 1970s documents now available through National Archives of Australia.
Bill Morrison Papers: Timor fragments. A first look at the National Library’s archival holdings of the former politician and Australian ambassador to Indonesia.
CIDAC: Timor documents online. An examination of an important new digital repository of historical documents in Portugal.
Parliamentary Inquiry: CHART submission. A summary and link to full text of CHART’s archives-focus submission to an Australian parliamentary inquiry on Timor.
CHART News July 2012 – March 2013
2013 – a big year
Personal circumstances required CHART work to be largely put on hold during the latter part of 2012 and early 2013. Work not done then and new possibilities arising means 2013 is likely to be our busiest year to date. In prospect are CHART projects in conjunction with major archival institutions, an intensification of our document digitisation program and possible Timor archives-related visits to Canberra, Sydney, Darwin, Timor-Leste and Portugal. Watch this space!
In the meantime, an update on recent work at CHART follows below.
CHART continues to seek out private collection-holders for dialogue about their Timor collections and historical knowledge. Well-known and long-time East Timor human rights advocate, Jim Dunn, was visited in February. CHART also visited former senator Gordon McIntosh in Perth in March to discuss his Timor archives and to conduct an interview on McIntosh’s participation in the landmark 1983 Australian parliamentary delegation to East Timor.
In the latter months of 2012, Kelly Butler from Melbourne University spent many hours combing through boxes for her honours thesis research. Thanks to Kelly for donating a copy of her final thesis to CHART’s library. VU University Amsterdam’s Annette Jansen managed to squeeze in two days at CHART during a short October 2012 visit to Australia seeking materials for her doctorate studies on the Timor solidarity movement.
CHART continues to receive a steady flow of requests for help from Australian and overseas researchers seeking guidance on Timor archival resources. CHART is keen to facilitate researcher access to archives in its custody. Access is by prior arrangement; standard archival protocols apply.
CHART Inc held its first official Annual General Meeting of members on 13 August 2012. The CHART Board met immediately after the members meeting, creating a special ‘public fund’ to receive donations and applying for accession to the Register of Cultural Organisations. Both these actions form part of the formal process to gain tax deductible gift recipient status.
The CHART website continues to attract steady traffic, including a notable increase in online visitors from Indonesia. Three articles have been added to the website during 2013.
Revisiting 1983 – an introduction to CHART’s website intentions for 2013 and a preliminary look at the historic 1983 ceasefire breakdown and subsequent Kraras massacres.
Indonesian killings 1965/66 – an account of a key Canberra seminar on the infamous mass killings in Indonesia in the mid-1960s and CHART’s contribution to the seminar.
Hawke Labor Government – a summary, with detailed documentary evidence, of Labor party Timor policy and its demise before and after the election of the new Labor government in march 1983.
National Film and Sound Archive
Chart archivist John Waddingham spoke with senior staff at the National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA) in February 2012 as part of an ongoing dialogue. CHART was directly responsible for the deposit at NFSA of two important occupation-era collections – Andrew McNaughtan’s audio-visual footage of Timor in the 1990s and recordings of Radio Maubere broadcasts from Timor, 1976-1978.
Prospective joint projects between NFSA and CHART include documenting in detail the content of these two collections and a longer-term aim to make copies of the material directly accessible in Timor-Leste. NFSA has significantly increased its Timor archives interest in recent years – most recently constructing and gifting to the Timor-Leste government a published guide to its holdings.
National Archives of Australia – Timor survey
CHART has initiated a comprehensive survey of Timor holdings of the National Archives of Australia (NAA). NAA holds national government official records from 1901 – including a large collection of Timor materials for the 1974-1999 period. The ultimate aim of the survey is to ensure that as much as possible is available for public access.
CHART News May-June 2012
1. New donations to CHART
We are delighted to receive some marvellous donations to assist in our work. Two communities of the Sisters of Mercy in Ballarat have agreed to cover our workspace rental costs at Essendon for a year, and an anonymous donor has very generously given us $20,000. The bulk of the donation will be used over the coming months to accelerate our digitisation program. A small part of the donation will assist in paying an honorarium to our long-time voluntary archivist/manager, John Waddingham.
More information on support for CHART can be found here.
2. David Scott AO (1925-2012)
We note with sadness the passing of David Scott AO, in late April. David was a founding member of the Australia-East Timor Association, a long-time public advocate for East Timorese self-determination and an enthusiatic supporter of the CHART project.
CHART was responsible for documenting the content of David’s Timor papers in 2004 and recommended to David the collection be housed at University of Melbourne Archives (UMA). In 2011 CHART updated the collection content list for UMA (see our list here). We are now negotiating with UMA to digitise selections from David Scott’s collection for online access and eventual easy access in Timor-Leste.
3. East Timorese in Melbourne
CHART presented an outline of its work to the Melbourne East Timorese Activity Centre (METAC) in Richmond on 13 April. The presentation was especially designed to introduce our work to various segments of the Timorese community in Melbourne – especially the older generations who may be holding important letters or other documents from the occupation period.
After the talk, we were also pleased to receive offers of voluntary assistance for CHART from audience members. We look forward to consolidating our links to the community in Melbourne over the coming months.
4. Activity in the Stacks
CHART has hosted a number of visitors at Essendon recently.
* Two University of Melbourne researchers spent extensive time consulting files relating to their Ph.D. and honours history thesis topics.
* Karen Myers, advisor to the Timor-Leste government on its proposed National Library project, visited in April for an exchange of information on archival developments in Timor and Australia (image shows Karen with CHART’s Cecily Gilbert).
* Adelaide colleagues Andy Alcock and Cathy Heptinstall toured CHART’s premises, and discussed plans to manages the archives of Adelaide’s Campaign for Indepenedent East Timor (CIET) and its successor organisation, the Australia-East Timor Friendship Association.
5. New collections in CHART custody
CHART took custody of three small collections of Timor papers in April-May.
*Sue Gordon passed on her collection of Timor advocacy publications from the 1970s-1980s.
*The Timor papers of Mary Considine, who worked for Action for World Development and was active on the Timor issue in the 1970s, includes some rare original materials from that time.
*Former chair of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid (ACFOA, now ACFID), Richard Alston’s papers from the early 1980s include some unique records concerning the controversial Traill Commission of Enquiry. Richard’s materials will eventually be housed with other ACFOA records on Timor.
6. Timor Archives website
Calamity unfolding: 1978 In this article we reproduce Australian media reports on the disastrous famine which was emerging in occupied East Timor in 1978, and question how much more information was available to the Australian government about the deteriorating situation at the time.
This article is the first in a planned series of items on the topic. Others will explore what related information can be found in official Australian government records at the National Archives of Australia and what was known by other governments at the time.
7. Digitising program continues
Despite focus in recent weeks on organisational matters, we have managed to digitise some interesting fragments from collections in our custody. These include:
*A sample of East Timor materials collected from East Timorese and Indonesian sources in Jakarta in 1982 on behalf of ACFOA and the English-language digest and compilation of the materials (“East Timor Dossier”) circulated internationally later that year.
* A small collection on the controversial 1976-77 submissions to Australian Catholic bishops by (the late) Rev. John Eddy SJ on the then Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace statements about East Timor.
These and other items will feature in forthcoming articles on this website.
8. Board Meeting May 2012
The CHART Board held its second meeting for the year on May 28. Major topics discussed were largely organisational matters – notably our eligibility for tax concessions as a not-for-profit charitable entity, and likely difficulties and delays in gaining eligibility to receive tax deductible gifts for our work program.
The Board is very grateful for the pro bono advice from legal and philanthropic colleagues on potential tax deductibility and grant application processes – including Genevieve Timmons, Christine Perkins, Natalie Savin and Daniel Rechtman.
CHART News March/April 2012
1. New CHART Patron: Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao
CHART is delighted to report that Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao agreed on February 22 to become a Patron of CHART. He joins our other two distinguished patrons, Dr Mari Alkatiri and President Jose Ramos-Horta.
CHART is extremely grateful to these three historically important leaders for lending their support to our work on the archives of East Timor.
2. Seeking funding for CHART
The Chart Board met on 23 February 2012 to consider options for funding our 2012 work program. Funding is necessary to cover the costs of the office facility, equipment, travel and modest wages for coordination and digitisation of documents.
How you can help
We are seeking more information and ideas on potential funding sources. If you have ideas, please contact us.
We are happy to receive donations from you or your organisation – details on our Donations page. We are not yet able to offer tax deductibility for donations (but coming soon).
3. CHART settles in at Essendon
After a decade of working from personal living rooms and dusty storage facilities, CHART is pleased to now have dedicated office space to do our work.
The St Columban’s Mission Society offered us three rooms at very modest rent in their administration building in Essendon, Victoria. We have been working there since November 2011 and enjoying immensely the clean workspace with everything in one easily accessible place.
An account of the official opening by Timor-Leste Ambassador Abel Guterres can be found here.
4. Timor Archives Wesite: New items
We examine an important historical document and invite comments and discussion to determine its accuracy and completeness (authenticity).
March 1982: Whitlam & Hastings in Timor
We revisit Gough’s controversial visit to East Timor thirty years ago and provide access to a wealth of primary source documentation on the event.
CHART co-founder honoured for Timor work
Background on CHART Board member Pat Walsh’s official Australian recognition of decades of work on human rights for the East Timorese. We also include a link to a listing of the archival record of his work.
5. Timor archival records in Indonesia
Only a tiny fragment of documentary records about Timor held in Indonesia have become public. CHART believes there is an opportunity for interested Indonesians to begin CHART-like work in Indonesia to locate, preserve and promote eventual long-term access to such materials.
The visit to CHART’s Essendon office by an Indonesian human rights specialist, Galuh Wandita, offered an opportunity to explore this question further. Galuh is especially knowledgeable about East Timor from an Indonesian perspective. She worked at Timor-Leste’s truth & reconciliation commission (CAVR) and is currently based in Bali as a senior staffperson for the International Center for Transitional Justice.
6. CHART lobbies Timor-Leste Parliament on Memory Institute legislation
CHART archivist & manager John Waddingham recently wrote to the President of Timor-Leste’s parliament to encourage action on draft legislation arising from the 2005 CAVR report Chega!. The legislation, which has been languishing in the Parliament since 2010, will institute a reparations program for victims and create a Memory Institute to promote the recommendations of two truth commissions.
Waddingham believes the new Memory Institute is essential to protect the precious archives of the truth commissions and is a likely recipient of Australian archivals materials being digitised by CHART. Waddingham’s letter can be read here. Up-to-date information on the legislation can be found at La’o Hamutuk.