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National Museum of Australia

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Courtroom sketch of Michael Chamberlain giving evidence by Veronica O'Leary, 1982

2011.0024.0020

Courtroom sketch of Michael Chamberlain giving evidence by Veronica O'Leary, 1982

Object information

Physical description

An ink and coloured pencil drawing on cream coloured pastel paper. The drawing depicts a courtroom scene featuring a man in the witness box with two microphones facing towards him. On the left there is a woman wearing a pink polka-dot outfit with two figures in legal attire seated beside her. 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.

Object information

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