NFSA provides insight into Timor-Leste history

NFSA CEO Michael Loebenstein and Richard Rodgers, from DFAT's Indonesia Economic & East Timor Section

NFSACEO Michael Loebenstein and Richard Rodgers, from DFAT’s Indonesia Economic & East Timor Section

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA), partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), has presented the Timorese Government with a comprehensive profile of material on Timor-Leste held in Australia’s national audiovisual collection.

Titled The NFSA Timor-Leste Collection Profile, the document provides remarkable insight to the diversity of the NFSA’s holdings on the history and culture of that nation. The profile features catalogue entries and essays for a total of 795 NFSA-held moving image, recorded sound and documentation works that have captured the history and culture of Timor-Leste since the early 20th century.

“The NFSA is proud to have created The NFSA Timor-Leste Collection Profile, and to have worked in such close and unique partnership with DFAT to produce this significant cultural gift,” said NFSA CEO Michael Loebenstein.

“The profile preserves a record of Timor-Leste’s past and present, and its information will remain accessible long into the future,” he added.

A special hardback copy of The NFSA Timor-Leste Collection Profile was presented by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Bob Carr, to Vice-Prime Minister Fernando ‘Lasama’ de Araujo at the conclusion of their bilateral meeting in Dili on December 13.

One of the world’s youngest nations, Timor-Leste’s independence was formalised on 20 May 2002, when Xanana Gusmão was sworn in as the country’s first President. On 27 September 2002, Timor-Leste became a member of the United Nations.

“The NFSA is Australia’s living archive. As such, we believe that a nation’s history, as recorded by audiovisual technologies, provides vivid and vital evidence of that nation’s experiences,” explained Mr Loebenstein. “These recordings speak of Timor-Leste’s cultural heritage, history and national identity. That is why the NFSA considered that a document that listed and described the existing holdings about that country would be highly valued by the people of Timor-Leste.“

The NFSA undertook to assemble a collection profile that detailed the works of cultural significance relating to Timor-Leste held in Australia’s national audiovisual collection. The profile was to include information on Timor-Leste-related titles, their content and context, their significance and provenance as well as their original and access formats.

In addition to documentation, these titles include documentaries and newsreels, feature films and mini-series, radio and television current affairs and news, published music, and oral histories. While the earliest Timorese-related material covered by profile appears in a 1917 documentary, the most recent is television news coverage of the April 2012 election in which Taur Matan Ruak was elected the president of Timor-Leste.


NFSA CEO Michael Loebenstein is available for interviews. Please contact Miguel Gonzalez on 02 8202 0114, 0404 281 632 or