Bunbury author Tammy Pemper releases latest book, Scorched Earth

In the spotlight: Bunbury's Tammy Pemper's latest book, Scorched Earth, explores Timor-Leste's Independence Referendum. Photo: Supplied.
In the spotlight: Bunbury's Tammy Pemper's latest book, Scorched Earth, explores Timor-Leste's Independence Referendum. Photo: Supplied.

Bunbury author Tammy Pemper's latest book delves into the historic 1999 independence referendum of Timor-Leste.

Through international publisher Big Sky Publishing, Scorched Earth was released in time for National Police Remembrance Day on September 29.

The biography chronicles the experiences of Australian peacekeeper/former Police Senior Sergeant Peter Watt during his time in the country.

"When the Popular Consultation was agreed upon in 1999, there were many people in Timor-Leste who were having a hard time," he said.

"In the months preceding the vote, there was a lot of intimidation. They were put under a lot of pressure.

"I was very keen to get over there and to help the Timorese people in deciding their future.

"The people were very resilient, and determined to participate in the vote. Their determination overshadowed their fear and intimidation."

Working on behalf of the United Nations, Snr. Sgt. Watt served in Timor-Leste, Africa, the Middle East, and Cyprus.

Throughout her career, Ms Pemper has worked with several key agencies including the UN, the Australian Federal Police, and the US Peace Corps.

Ms Pemper completed the book following five years of interviews and first-hand experiences in Timor-Leste.

"Peter and I went over there together in 2000. He was evacuated out previously, but felt the need to go back," she said.

"I wanted to go over there and become part of the re-building team.

"It was a pretty crazy time. It was incredible seeing the ways in which the Timorese people dealt with trauma, anger, and loss.

"They were some of the most heroic people I have ever met."

August 30, 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of the referendum.

Over the past two decades, Australia's police and military peacekeepers have maintained a significant relationship with Timor-Leste.

Australian forces/peacekeepers continue to support local projects in the region.

Mr Pemper and Big Sky Publishing will donate proceeds from the book to orphanages and scholarships in Timor-Leste.