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National Museum of Australia

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Courtroom sketch 'Justice Muirhead.' by Veronica O'Leary, October 1982.

2011.0024.0081

Courtroom sketch 'Justice Muirhead.' by Veronica O'Leary, October 1982.

Object information

Description

The verdict in the Chamberlain case made front page news around the country. The intense colour focuses the gaze on Justice Muirhead's face and his grave expression. Although captioned 'Oct/30/31 Justice Muirhead delivers a guilty verdict for Lindy Chamberlain', the judgement was handed down on 29 October 1982.

Physical description

An ink and coloured pencil drawing on green coloured pastel paper. The drawing depicts a courtroom scene featuring a judge. Handwritten text reads 'Justice Muirhead.'. The drawing is signed 'V O'Leary.' and is mounted on black card.

Statement of significance

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.

Object information

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