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Budding bakers visit famous bakery

East Timorese bakers Herminia Freitas and Abelina da Silva Manus have been learning the tricks to baking from Beechworth Bakery owner Tom O’Toole.

RUTH CLAYTON October 1, 2012 4:59am

East Timorese bakers Herminia Freitas (left) and Abelina da Silva Manus with Beechworth Bakery owner Tom O’Toole.


Two hopeful, young East Timorese bakers have had their careers and lives marked by a trip to Australia.

Herminia Freitas, 21 and Abelina da Silva Manus, 23, of Dili, East Timor were invited and sponsored by Beechworth Bakery owner Tom O’Toole.

The two worked at Mr O’Toole’s bakery in Beechworth for close to three weeks and learnt tricks of the trade.

Mr O’Toole helped establish a bakery school in Dili three years ago, which is run by a group of nuns known as the Silesian Sisters.

The girls are two of the hardest workers at the bakery school, which was why they were chosen for the trip, according to Mr O’Toole.

The girls, who are staying with Mr O’Toole and his wife in Beechworth, travelled to visit and work at the Echuca Beechworth Bakery on Friday.

Mr O’Toole said having the girls work at his business was a great experience.

‘‘(They’re) such good workersincredibleyou show them once and they’ll pick it up,’’ he said.

Mr O’Toole said the girls had learnt a lot while working with him, but his staff had also learnt a lot from them.

‘‘The staff have loved them,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ll drop a pie and throw it in the bin, (which is) just so foreign (to them).

‘‘It’s just been a real joy to have them with us.’’

It was not all work in Echuca on Friday, with the girls taking a trip on a paddlesteamer in the afternoon.

They had never seen a river as big as the Murray.

Miss da Silva Manus said she had learnt a lot of things about baking since she had been in Australia.

She said Australia was ‘‘very different’’.

‘‘But in our country we don’t have as much technology,’’ she said.

Miss Freitas said Australia was ‘‘very good’’ but she was looking forward to going home because she missed her family.

The girls will leave Beechworth tomorrow, staying one night in Darwin before flying back to Dili.

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