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National Museum of Australia

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Azaria Chamberlain's black dress, pilchers and booties set

2011.0021.0004

Azaria Chamberlain's black dress, pilchers and booties set

Object information

Description

This outfit was made by Lindy Chamberlain for her son Reagan and was also worn by her daughter Azaria. The dress achieved notoriety after Azaria was killed by a dingo on a family camping trip to Uluru in 1980. As it was unusual to see a baby dressed in black, the rumour that 'the baby was always dressed in black' was considered by some to be evidence that Azaria's parents must have been involved in her death.

Physical description

A set of baby's clothing composed of a black dress with red ribbon, a pair of black pilchers, and a pair of red booties. The baby's dress is handmade from black synthetic fabric, features short sleeves, and is detailed with black lace and five red bows around the collar, sleeves and hemline. There are two red fish-shaped plastic buttons on the front below the neckline, and three on the back opening of the dress. The pair of baby's pilchers are handmade from black synthetic fabric, and have an elasticised waist and leg openings. The pair of red knitted babies booties have rolled tops, and red ribbon ties at the ankles.

Statement of significance

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.

Object information

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