Men of Timor

Hit and run [AWM F01615]

From Men of Timor filmed by Damien Parer.

In late 1942, Army Public Relations arranged to send the famed cameraman Damien Parer and a war correspondent, Bill Marien to Timor, to record the efforts of the Australian commandos. Parer's earlier films included the famous Kokoda Front Line as well as others shot during the desert campaigns. His film Men of Timor would also be greeted just as enthusiastically.

Damien Parer and Bill Marien undertook the hazardous voyage to Timor in November 1942. They sailed from Darwin in a Royal Australian Navy vessel, which made good speed.

Parer and Marien headed inland to the commando base. Together, on film and on paper, they recorded the efforts and achievements of the 2/2nd and 2/4th Independent Companies and other troops fighting the guerrilla war. Parer described the terrain over which he lugged his equipment, with the assistance of commandos and porters:

It is mountainous and extremely steep except for a narrow coastal belt, but it is not thickly covered with vegetation as, for instance, are the rain forests of New Guinea. Gum trees grow in profusion but the main growth is of bamboo ...

The commandos relished news of their exploits reaching the outside world. When Parer expressed a wish to film them in action, they readily obliged. Their headquarters signalled to a patrol:

Newsreel cameraman leaving ... in search of action pictures. If possible hold off burning of Z [Japanese base], and any offensive moves towards Moabisse until his arrival.

The patrol replied:

... in action positions. No detail of contact yet. Will delay burning of Z if possible. Now bring on your cameraman.

[Quotes from Bill Marien, article submitted to censors, NAA SP112/1 Item M42]

Last updated: 1 February 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Men of Timor, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 29 May 2023,
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