Anne Barker – It was Timor-Leste's biggest party since independence itself.
Thousands turned out last night at Tasi Tolu ("Three Lakes") just outside Dili, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1999 independence vote that led to Timor-Leste's freedom from Indonesian occupation.
There were fireworks and music and plenty of speeches. The crowd sang the national anthem, Patria – or Fatherland – which was originally adopted as the national song in 1975, when Timor-Leste enjoyed independence for just nine days, before Indonesia invaded.
The man who wrote the song's lyrics, Francisco Borja da Costa, was killed the next day. But his words still resonated with last night's crowd.
"Fatherland, fatherland, East Timor our Nation," they sang. "Glory to the people and to the heroes of our liberation."
The crowd included the very old and the very young: those who lived through the Indonesian occupation and who cast a vote in 1999. And those who have no knowledge of the referendum, or who weren't even born.
Occupation leaves lasting impact
Matteus Denesa, a student, was only six in 1999. He does not remember much about the events surrounding the vote, much less the quarter century of Indonesian rule. But the occupation had a devastating impact on his family.
"Under the occupation, for my family until 1999, maybe 20 or 25 [were killed]," he says. "My parents tell me that in 1999 we had many military from Indonesia who killed the Timorese."
Timor-Leste has one of the world's youngest populations – more than half are aged under 20 – meaning it won't be long before most Timorese have no experience or memory of living under occupation.
However, last night's crowd showed that independence was important to Timorese of all ages. The country's former president, Jose Ramos Horta, compared it with the Anzac Day sentiment in Australia.
"People who today are young, [many] have lost their father or their mother or they lost a sister, they lost a brother in the war. It is still fresh in the minds of people," he said.
He said it was crucial that future generations were taught about Timor-Leste's recent history.
"It's very important that our young generation is educated, like in any country, about the immense sacrifices of so many," he said. "Timorese who died, who lost their lives."
But last night's party was about more than just the anniversary of the independence referendum.
What made this year's celebrations more special was yesterday's ratification of the maritime treaty with Australia. The treaty – which has taken almost two decades to negotiate – gives Timor-Leste the lion's share of revenues from oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea.
The tiny nation is hopeful it will bring a new source of income, once the lucrative Greater Sunrise field is developed, and generate desperately needed jobs.
Australia and Timor-Leste chose yesterday's historic anniversary to formally ratify the treaty, by exchanging "diplomatic notes" to bring it into force.
'Today you are a proud nation'
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison travelled to Dili with Foreign Minister Marise Payne.
At a formal ratification ceremony at Timor's Government Palace, Mr Morrison paid credit to Timor-Leste for its progress since independence in building a vibrant democracy.
Lateline reveals new details about how Australia spied on one of its poorest neighbours in negotiations over an oil and gas field in the Timor Sea worth an estimated $40 billion.
"His Excellency Xanana Gusmao once said the sun rises every day over a free Timor-Leste," he told a large crowd.
"Today you are a proud nation, a young nation, risen from the ashes. One that's shown the world how to overcome violence with peace and rebuild what was torn down.
"In just 20 years you have built a vibrant democracy. You've created the institutions that support it, and held the free and peaceful elections that sustain it.
"You've built hospitals and schools and roads. You've brought down infant mortality and poverty, and eradicated polio.
"You've travelled a long road, and I believe even more progress and prosperity lie ahead. I'm very proud that Australia is part of your journey."
The Prime Minister also spoke of a new chapter in relations, which have been strained over Australia's bugging of Timor-Leste's government offices in Dili during treaty negotiations 15 years ago.
Both countries will be hoping Mr Morrison's visit can put the relationship on a new footing, although anger over the espionage scandal remains high in Dili.
Deal could 'unravel' borders
A landmark agreement over the Australian and East Timor maritime border will settle one long dispute, but it could open another legal wrangle with Indonesia, writes Anne Barker.
Protesters this week staged several rallies, calling on Australia to drop its prosecution of the former spy who exposed the bugging, known as Witness K, and his lawyer.
Mr Morrison refused to answer media questions about the Witness K affair during his visit to Dili, dismissing it as a domestic matter for Australia.
Timor-Leste Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak supported his stance at a press conference before local and foreign journalists.
But, just as the Timorese have shown a surprising forgiveness towards Indonesia since 1999, the fledgling nation's leaders – if not the protesters – appear equally keen to put tensions with Australia behind them.