|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (November 2010)|
Balibo achieved notoriety as the site of the killing of five Australian-based journalists now known as the Balibo Five, by Indonesian forces on October 16, 1975 during an incursion by Indonesia into what was then Portuguese Timor.
The town is home to a 400-year old fort, which was the scene of several battles during the Indonesian invasion in 1975. The Balibo Five were also filming from the fort when Indonesian forces landed in Balibo on the day they died.
The Balibo Declaration, which criticised the declaration of independence and was later used by the Indonesian government as partial justification for its invasion, was said to have been signed here but was actually drafted by Indonesian intelligence and signed in Bali, Indonesia.
During the INTERFET mission after the Indonesian withdrawal, the fort was used as a base for approximately one thousand United Nations troops, as part of Operation Lavarack. Kylie Minogue performed an unplugged concert in Balibo to entertain United Nations troops in 1999, as part of the Tour of Duty series of concerts.
In 2003, the government of Victoria, Australia purchased the house where the five journalists had stayed, as it had fallen into disrepair, and renovated it to serve as a creche, library and vocational training centre. International aid organizations have also been involved in other reconstruction work in the town, such as the rebuilding of a dormitory for schoolchildren from remote communities that had been razed during the militia attacks.