Shirley Shackleton, a resident of Pt Phillip, was deeply affected by events taking place in East Timor when she received the news that her husband Greg and four other journalists were missing, last seen in Balibo, on the 16th October 1975.
In Shirley’s own words:
“While I continued to accept every opportunity to demand a full judicial investigation into the murders that took place in Balibo, on October 16th 1975, I was forced to change direction after December 7th 1975. Indonesia invaded East Timor and the TNI (Indonesian military) began to inflict a policy of genocide on the civilian polulation. One could hardly put the killings of five white men ahead of an entire nation. Besides I knew the three Channel 7 men very well and I knew they would approve.”
These events were to shape the rest of Shirley’s life. Selling her home to fund her activism many years ago, she continues to work to draw to the attention of the world, to the injustices and cover-ups surrounding East Timor’s history. Shirley’s story of the Balibo Five.
For sms Shirley has chosen to tell a personal story from her history of activism. A story that demonstrates how the efforts of one person can influence the affairs of nations, but perhaps not in the way we expect. Titled ” Miracles and Massacres, it’s a story about tenacity, dedication and the will to achieve change for a more equitable world. It’s also a story which shows the role serendipity and chance play, in life changing events, that challenge the conventional wisdom that frequently attributes individual authorship to heroic acts, and life changing events.
Were the Balibo Five nearly saved? Jill Joliffe reports in the Age in 2001.
UK Government response to Inquest about the Balibo Five in Australia: February 2008.
ABC Online reporting the Inquest and evidence given by ex Foreign Affairs personnel.
Shirley, Greg and their son Evan with their bikes. Wedding Photo and Shirley 2005 in her garden.