Lindy Chamberlain is a New Zealand woman who was wrongfully convicted in one of Australia’s most publicized murder trials, accusing killing of her nine-week-old daughter, Azaria, while camping at Uluru in 1980. She spent three years in prison before her original story, that a dingo had taken her baby, was supported by physical evidence, resulting in her release.
Lindy and her husband Michael Chamberlain (co-accused), were officially pardoned in 1987 and their convictions were quashed by the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal in the following year.
What is Lindy Chamberlain famous for?
- Being wrongfully convicted in one of Australia’s most publicized murder trials, accusing killing of her nine-week-old daughter, Azaria.
Where is Lindy Chamberlain from?
Lindy Chamberlain was born Alice Lynne Murchison on 4th March 1948 in Whakatane, on the North Island of New Zealand. She moved to Victoria, Australia along with her family when she was twenty months old. She was born to her mother, Avis Murchison, and her father, Cliff Murchison. Her father was a pastor, so, they moved to new churches often, usually once a year. Lindy and her family were members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She is a New Zealander by nationality and Christian by religion. Her zodiac sign is Pisces.
About her education, Lindy matriculated at Benalla in 1965. She then worked vacation jobs as a waitress, shop assistant, clerk, receptionist, and bookkeeper. In 1974, she received her dressmaking, tailoring, and drafting certificate at Launceston Technical College and she specialized in making wedding dresses.
Lindy Chamberlain’s Story
- On 17 August 1980, while the family went on a camping trip, nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain was taken by a dingo from a camping ground at Uluru then a massive search was organized. A week later, searchers found a jumpsuit that she had been wearing was discovered about the neck, indicating the probable death of the missing child but Azaria was never found. The press, distressed by the mother’s seeming lack of emotion and suspicious of her religious beliefs, accused her of murdering the baby.
- The sentiment against Lindy grew, and she was charged with murder. Prosecutors claimed that the dingo story was a fanciful lie, rumors circulated that the Chamberlains were cult members who slit their baby’s throat.
- Dubbed as Australia’s trial of the century, the case drew enormous public attention. Despite the lack of evidence that the child was murdered, Lindy Chamberlain was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Her husband Michael was also charged with accessory to Azaria’s murder and served one year.
- On 2nd February 1986, Azaria’s missing matinee jacket was found partially buried adjacent to a dingo lair in an isolated location near Uluru, providing new evidence that an animal had attacked the baby.
- On 7 February 1986, The court remitted Lindy’s life sentence and Lindy was released from prison.
- In 1987, A Royal Commission began investigating the matter further and the commission found her innocent given the new evidence, and her criminal conviction was overturned.
- In September 1988, after forcing a new law through Parliament, Lindy Chamberlain returned to court and this time the criminal convictions were finally quashed by the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal.
- In May 1992, the Chamberlains received $1.3 million in compensation from the Northern Territory for wrongful conviction.
- In December 1995, Lindy’s conviction was officially cleared.
- On June 12, 2012, an Australian coroner ruled that the cause of Azaria’s death was the result of being attacked and taken by a dingo.
Lindy Chamberlain’s Husband and Children
Lindy Chamberlain married twice in her life. Firstly, she married an Adventist pastor, Michael Leigh Chamberlain on November 18, 1969. Her husband was also born in New Zealand. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Tasmania where they lived for five years while Michael pastored churches there. The couple welcomed their first child, a son named Aidan Leigh Chamberlain on October 2, 1973. Their second child, a son named Reagan Michael Chamberlain was born on April 16, 1976. On the 11th June 1980, the couple blessed with a baby girl named Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain but she was taken by a dingo from a camping ground near Ayers Rock on August 17, 1980. The couple’s fourth child, a daughter named Kahlia Shonell Nikari Chamberlain was born on November 17, 1982, in Darwin Hospital while Lindy was in the custody of Darwin Prison. They divorced in June 1991. At the age of 72, Michael died having succumbed to complications from acute leukemia in 2017.
Later on, Lindy met Rick Creighton in February 1992, while she was on a speaking tour in the United States. They got married on 20th December 1992. Now, the couple is living happily in Australia’s Hunter Valley.