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National Museum of Australia

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4

Courtroom sketch 'Prof. Nairn.' by Veronica O'Leary, 1982.

2011.0024.0083

Object information

What

Type

Collection

Dimensions

W 340mm x H 242mm

Material

Physical Description

An ink and coloured pencil drawing on khaki coloured pastel paper. The drawing depicts a courtroom scene featuring a man seated in the witness box with a microphone facing towards him, a figure in legal attire standing on the left and a further figure stitting on the right. A seated man and woman are portrayed in the lower left hand corner of the drawing. Handwritten text reads 'Prof. Nairn.'. The drawing is signed 'VM 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.

Who

People / Organisations

  • Journalist

  • Mr Tony Eastley
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  • Eastley was a journalist reporting on the Chamberlain case for ABC television. His report and the drawings of the day's proceedings in court were broadcast from Darwin 3.30 pm in order to make the evening news nationally.

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