AAP, The West Australian February 19, 2012, 1:34 pm
"It was a defining time in the relationship between the Timorese and Australians, but also a time in which nationality was transcended, and as human beings our people not only suffered deep pain, they also demonstrated acts of great altruism," Mr Gusmao said.
"It has resulted in bonds of friendship and honour that have left an enduring legacy."Mr Gusmao said the Australian troops had shown great courage and spirit."Many Timorese volunteered to help the soldiers and, at great risk, they carried packs and ammunition, cooked for the troops, and fought alongside them," he said.
Mr Gusmao said more than 50,000 Timorese lost their lives during World War II.
"This was a large part of our population and resulted in great hurt to our people," he said."We must not forget this loss." Mr Gusmao also opened an exhibition telling the stories of the battle at the Anzac War Memorial in Hyde Park.
"It showcases exhibits from the Second World War, and tells the stories of men and women in times of darkness, and highlights acts of courage and compassion," Mr Gusmao said."In this way, it also acts as a reminder of the great costs of war and of conflict and, therefore, encourages us to strive for peace."
Earlier today, Mr Gusmao and other dignitaries laid wreaths in Sydney's Martin Place.