I met Julie Shiels shortly after I came to St Kilda to live and became involved with East Timor and I attended a local Community Arts Conference. At that conference Julie and Michael Buckley were presenting a new CD ROM they had made called ‘Dreams of Return’. ‘Dreams of Return’ presents stories of people striving to stay connected to their culture and their identity while living in exile through drama and dance. Also included is a 1998 interview with Harry Levi a WW2 veteran and prolific writer of letters to the editor in protest at Australia’s role in East Timor’s occupation by Indonesia. Julie has kindly agreed to including this on Suai Media Space together with the interview conducted by Peter Mares with Bishop Belo recorded about the same time.
Bishop Belo talks about the role his grandfather and father played in WW2 in helping the Australian soldiers and what happened to them as a result. Commenting on a question about the moral debt Australia owes to East Timor he leaves it to Australians to decide what their moral duty is.
Julie began her work with the Timorese people in Melbourne in 1991 as a community artist. Now she is practicing as an artist with less emphasis on ‘community’. Julie has suggested we include some of the content from the CD ROM on sms – after Michael has given the go ahead we will bring you some that. A cooking project Julie undertook with the Timorese community led to monthly dinners at the Melbourne East Timor Activities Centre in Richmond that many of us have benefited from. You can see some of Julie’s recent work on her website www.ilovestkilda.julieshiels.com.au which is in our links page.