MEETING Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge and attending ex-servicemen’s events were among the highlights for veterans of Timor’s war of liberation, visiting South East Queensland for Anzac Day commemorations.
Led by former clandestine intelligence operative Jorge Alves, the nine veterans from Timor Leste, attended the Anzac Day Mass in St Stephen’s Cathedral.
Earlier that day, the Timor veterans participated in the dawn service at the Brisbane cenotaph led by Deacon Gary Stone, and marched in the annual Anzac Day parade alongside Australian veterans who had participated in Veterans Care’s Timor Awakening program.
Former Marist College Ashgrove student Major Michael Stone organised a week-long program of activities for the Timor veterans, visiting various ex-service organisations and memorials to inform them of the wide range of veteran support available in Australia.
The visit concluded with a large community gathering and barbecue at the Roma Street Parklands where the honorary consul for Timor-Leste Dr Ian Marshall thanked all involved for their collaborative support.
Delegation leader Jorge Alves expressed his gratitude to all the Australians who they met, and announced the setting up of a joint Timorese and Australian Veterans Association to further consolidate links between neighbouring countries.
The Veterans Care Association – set up to promote the wellbeing of Australian ex-service people – has rehabilitation programs planned to visit Timor in June and September of this year.
The programs are called Timor Awakening.
Speaking during the parklands gathering, Deacon Stone assured the Timorese veterans that “we would never forget them”, and that “God has blessed the relationship from humble beginnings to the now extensive range of activities”.
More information on the work of Veterans Care can be found on www.veteranscare.com.au