20 years of friendship with Aileu, Timor-Leste: Looking Back/Looking Forward

This is the first in a series of postings looking back to some of the .

Celebrating 20 years of friendship

This is a series of postings looking back to some of the significant events of the friendship relationship between Moreland, Hume and Aileu, and to some of the many people who have contributed to its success, and looking forward to its continuation into the future.

If you have any photographs of recollections you would like to share please contact Friends of Aileu Project Officer.

See Friends of Aileu's Facebook Page for additional photographs.

The Early Years

1. The late Cr Andy Ingham, an early and continuing inspiration for the friendship relationship.


Cr Andy Ingham served as Mayor of the former Brunswick City Council prior to it being disbanded by the Kennet Government, and subsequently as a Councillor (1999-2001) in the second Council of the newly formed Moreland City Council.

Cr Andy Ingham in Aileu April 2000

Andy had a passion for Timor-Leste and a desire to support the people of this new nation in establishing peace, independence and happiness.  He was the inaugural Chair of the Friends of Aileu Community Committee. Council and as a Councillor with Moreland City Council.  His involvement in local government spanned over twenty years until his death in July 2001.

In April 2000, Andy visited the Aileu District.  This trip instilled in him a desire to improve training and education facilities and to provide opportunities for capacity-building for the people of Timor-Leste.

In recognition of Andy's tireless work and to honour his memory, the Friends of Aileu Community Committee developed a project that would produce tangible and sustainable outcomes for the people of East Timor, the Cr Andy Ingham - Aileu University Scholarship Program. This program has to date supported 110 young people from Aileu in undertaking tertiary studies in Timor-Leste and Indonesia.

2. Establishment of the friendship relationship in May 2000


The friendship relationship with Aileu was formally established on 4 May Cr Kariofyllidis Cr Gary Jungwirth Xanana Gusmao sign MOU May 20002000 when Xanana Gusmao, President of the Timorese National Council for Resistance (CNRT), signed an MOU with Moreland Mayor Cr Stella Kariofyllidis and Hume Mayor Cr Gary Jungwirth.

The signing took place at Coburg Town Hall when Xanana Gusmao delivered the 13th Maurice Blackburn Oration on The Importance of Community Alliances in the Rebuilding of East Timor.

On the same day Xanana, the Victorian Minister for Local Government and the Presidents of the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Victorian Local Governance Association signed the Statement of Principles for Victorian Local Governments Working in East Timor.

3. Some early visitors from Timor-Leste


An early visit by Mrs Kirsty Sword Gusmao and child, seen here with the Friends of AileuLee Noris kirsty Sword and child Stell Kariofylidis Rae Perry Project Officer  Mrs Rae Kingsbury (Right), Cr Stella Kariofylidis and community member Mrs Lee Norris (Left).




December 2001: A visit to Moreland and Hume by the Aileu District Maria Paixao, Bill Armstrong, and MCC HCC councillors and staffAdministrator Senhora Maria Paixao, which included the signing of an MOU between the two Councils and Australian Volunteers International, represented by then CEO Bill Armstrong, and AVI East Timor Project Officer Christine Perkins, and a performance by members of the Timorese Association in Victoria including Jose Pires.

March 2002: A visit to Moreland and Hume by the Deputy Minister for Fernando La Sama with Friends of AileuForeign Affairs Senhor Fernando La Sama. 





May 2002: Raising of the flag of the new nation of Timor-Leste by Mayor raising Timor-leste flag at Coburg Town HallMoreland Mayor Joe Caputo.