Dare Memorial History


The 2/2nd Independent Company conducted guerilla operations in Timor from 1942. During that time their success and survival depended on the support of the Timorese people.

In acknowledgment to the people of Timor for their bravery and friendship in aiding the Company, a proposal was put forward to construct a living monument in the hills beyond Dili which were home to the Australian soldiers during their time on Timor.

Approval was granted to construct a memorial at Fatunaba in the form of a wading pool and resting place in the lee side of the mountain overlooking Dili.

A sum of $8000 was raised by the 2nd/2nd Commando Association to build the memorial with the Federal Government of Australia matching each dollar raised by the ex-Servicemen.

On 13th April 1969, the 2nd/2nd Association officially inaugurated the memorial. In the interim years the Memorial has remained a constant reminder to all who see it of the strong and lasting links between the Australian military who served in Timor during World War II and the indigenous population of Timor.

Media Background Brief – Australian National Command Element – East Timor

(April 2000):




The present day Dare Memorial Museum and Cafe is the result of the tireless and persistent efforts of independent Timor-Leste’s first First Lady, Australian-born Kirsty Sword Gusmão.

For seven years from March 2001, Ms Sword Gusmão, her husband (then President, Xanana Gusmão) and children lived in the town of Balibar, located a short distance south of the Fatunaba Memorial site. “As a mother and teacher, my first priority was to establish a decent school structure which could more adequately accommodate the little children of Fatunaba”, says Ms Sword Gusmão. “I would pass the Primary School each day on my way down to Dili, and it pained me to see some 200 children of the local area struggling to learn in grossly inadequate conditions and in such a confined space”. The teachers appealed to Ms Sword Gusmão to seek support for the establishment of more dignified premises for their school, and after years of consultation with the 2/2nd Commando Association, Government officials and community leaders, she finally succeeded in securing the support needed to establish the DARE MEMORIAL MUSEUM & CAFE and the Fatunaba Memorial Primary School.

Fatunaba Primary School – before reconstruction

Today, the roughly 300 children enrolled in the Fatunaba Memorial Primary School enjoy a vastly enhanced learning environment thanks to the efforts of Ms Sword Gusmão and to the funding support provided by donor partners, including:

The Harold Mitchell Foundation (Melbourne, Australia)

Radford College (Canberra, Australia)

We are grateful to the many other friends and supporters, including Tania Correia and João Ferro of IDA Timor-Leste, Mr Henry Yap of Darwin, the members of the 2/2nd Commando Association, Luigi Acquisto and Stella Zammattaro of Abracadabra Films, the Kenneally Family, who all contributed with funds, time, creativity and solidarity to the establishment of the Museum and Cafe.

To see the order of proceedings of the Dare Memorial Museum and Cafe Inauguration on 25 April, 2009, including the words of the National Anthems of Timor-Leste and Australia, please click on the link below:

Memorial Dedication Apr 2009


One Response to “Dare Memorial History”


  1. Postcard 5 from Timor Leste - Natarbora to Dili and home. By Tim Holt - October 28, 2017

    […] lunch, Jose takes us to Dare where the Timorese-Australian memorial is sited overlooking Dili, the harbour and to the western headland which is dominated the statue of Cristo […]

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