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National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

Collections

  • Veronica O'Leary collection no. 1(183)

    Courtroom sketch 'Mr Ian Barker QC for the Crown...' by Veronica O'Leary, 1982.
    Letter to Veronica O'Leary regarding drawings she made at the 1982 trial of Michael and Lindy Chamberlain.
    Courtroom sketch 'Prof. Plueckhaln' by Veronica O'Leary dated 22 October 1982.
    Courtroom sketch 'The drama of the courtroom...' by Veronica O'Leary, dated September 1982.

    The Veronica O'Leary collection consists of drawings made during the criminal trial of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain in Darwin in 1982. Veronica O'Leary was an artist and teacher living in Darwin who applied for the position of courtroom artist for the Australian Broadcasting Commission (now the Australian Broadcasting Corporation). The ABC paid for the rights to broadcast the drawings as part of the television news coverage of the events in court.

    The disappearance of Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain (11 June - 17 August 1980) has become one of the most infamous events in contemporary Australian history. The explanation of her disappearance, that she was prey to a dingo at Ayers Rock (now Uluru), was soon treated with suspicion by the general public. After two coronial inquests, Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder and imprisoned for over three years, until mounting evidence forced a royal commission that ultimately resulted in the exoneration of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain by the Supreme Court of Darwin. The National Museum holds the largest public collection of material culture relating to the case.

  • Professor Robert Morrison collection(40)

    Plaster cast of a dingo's paw print, made for the Morling Royal Commission into Chamberlain Convictions
    Plaster cast of a domestic dog's paw print, made for the Morling Royal Commission into Chamberlain Convictions
    Plaster cast domestic dog paw print, made for the Morling Royal Commission into Chamberlain Convictions
    Plaster cast dingo paw print, made for the Morling Royal Commission into Chamberlain Convictions

    The Professor Robert Morrison collection consists of objects used in the 1986 Morling Royal Commision of Inquiry into the convictions of Michael and Lindy Chamberlain in the Northern Territory. Professor Morrison's evidence was central to overturning earlier forensic evidence. In particular, his evidence, as an expert on Australian fauna, was used to cast doubts on the earlier evidence of a London-based forensic odontologist with no knowledge of dingos.

    The trial of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain for the death of their daughter Azaria was one of the major issues of public debate in Australia in the 1980s. The case involved almost every level of the federal judicial system in Australia, from a local coronial inquest to an appeal to the High Court of Australia. Two significant questions regarding the administration of justice were raised by the case - the heavy reliance on forensic evidence by the prosecution, and possible political interference in the judicial process. The convictions of murder (Lindy Chamberlain) and accessory to murder (Michael Chamberlain) were obtained without the prosecution producing a body, a murder weapon, a witness, or a convincing motive. Circumstantial evidence was supported by forensic evidence that was later discredited.

  • Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton collection no. 1(3)

    Black dress worn by Lindy Chamberlain at the second inquest into the death of Azaria Chamberlain
    Dress worn by Lindy Chamberlain at Federal Court, 1983
    White dress worn by Lindy Chamberlain at the first inquest into the death of Azaria Chamberlain, 1980

    The Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton collection no. 1 contains items relating to events surrounding the death of Azaria Chamberlain. This includes items of clothing worn by Michael and Lindy Chamberlain, props from the film 'Evil Angels' and gifts sent to Lindy and other objects relating to her time in prison.

    The disappearance of Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain (11 June - 17 August 1980) has become one of the most infamous events in contemporary Australian history. The explanation of her disappearance, that she was prey to a dingo at Ayers Rock (now Uluru), was soon treated with suspicion by the general public. After two coronial inquests, Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder and imprisoned for over three years, until mounting evidence forced a royal commission that ultimately resulted in the exoneration of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain by the Supreme Court of Darwin. The National Museum holds the largest public collection of material culture relating to the case.

  • Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton collection no. 2(8)

    I [Love] Being Free from Smoking - Narcotics Education Inc., 1985
    Brown, grey and black patterned sleeveless dress with black belt, worn by Lindy Chamberlain
    Metal panel from area under the dashboard of the Chamberlains' car with a spray of sound deadener that was incorrectly identified as blood
    Cotton khaki bush hat that was in the tent the night Azaria Chamberlain was taken by a dingo and later found to be stained with Acacia sap

    This collection contains items relating to the events that surrounded the death of Azaria Chamberlain. The collection includes a number of items that the Chamberlain family took with them on their camping holiday in central Australia, pieces of clothing worn by Lindy Chamberlain, material sent to or made by her in prison and articles that related to the family's lives more broadly. A number of items were collected as evidence by the police and tendered in evidence at the inquests, criminal trial and royal commission into the convictions Michael and Lindy Chamberlain for accessory to murder and for murder.

    The disappearance of Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain (11 June - 17 August 1980) has become one of the most infamous events in contemporary Australian history. The explanation of her disappearance, that she was prey to a dingo at Ayers Rock (now Uluru), was soon treated with suspicion by the general public. After two coronial inquests, Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder and imprisoned for over three years, until mounting evidence forced a royal commission that ultimately resulted in the exoneration of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain by the Supreme Court of Darwin. The National Museum holds the largest public collection of material culture relating to the case.

  • Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton collection no. 3(1)

    Azaria Chamberlain's black dress, pilchers and booties set

    This collection contains items relating to the events that surrounded the death of Azaria Chamberlain. It includes a number of items that the Chamberlain family took with them on their camping holiday in central Australia, pieces of clothing worn by Lindy Chamberlain, items sent to or made by her in prison and articles that related to the family's lives more broadly. Several of Azaria's outfits, including the infamous black dress, are also part of this collection.

    The disappearance of Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain (11 June - 17 August 1980) has become one of the most infamous events in contemporary Australian history. The explanation of her disappearance, that she was prey to a dingo at Ayers Rock (now Uluru), was soon treated with suspicion by the general public. After two coronial inquests, Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder and imprisoned for over three years, until mounting evidence forced a royal commission that ultimately resulted in the exoneration of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain by the Supreme Court of Darwin. The National Museum holds the largest public collection of material culture relating to the case.

  • Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton collection no. 4(6)

    Short-sleeved lime green dress, worn in miniseries Through My Eyes: the Lindy Chamberlain Story
    Navy blue short-sleeved blouse with white pinstripe, worn in miniseries Through My Eyes: the Lindy Chamberlain Story
    Short-sleeved maternity dress with multicoloured pattern on white, worn in miniseries Through My Eyes: the Lindy Chamberlain Story
    Long-sleeved dress with floral pattern, worn in miniseries Through My Eyes: the Lindy Chamberlain Story

    The Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton Collection no. 4 comprises six items of clothing worn by actress Miranda Otto when she played the part of Lindy Chamberlain in the 2004 television miniseries 'Through My Eyes: the Lindy Chamberlain Story'. These outfits were worn at key narrative junctures in the production, which aimed to offer a fresh take on a story that has had an extraordinary impact on the late 20th century Australian psyche.

    The story of Azaria Chamberlain and the events surrounding her disappearance are well known, and the case continues to polarise public opinion to the present day. After 27 years, an official pardon, a film, a docudrama and an opera, the fictionalised account of real events offered in 'Through My Eyes' aims to take another look at this well-known story. Told from Lindy Chamberlain's point of view, the miniseries places particular emphasis on the extraordinary level of media scrutiny she was subjected to. Along with her religion, record as a mother, and general demeanour, Lindy was the target of harsh criticism for her dress sense. The apparent pride she took in her appearance was viewed by the media as a further failure to adhere to acceptable notions of how a grieving mother should behave.