Finally, we can all put to rest the horrific events that occurred at Eyre’s Rock (Uluru) in the central heart of the Australia in 1980. Parents, family, friends and the Australian community offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers for a destroyed family, who lost a baby to a dingo.
The finding, of what turned out to be over 3 decades of inquests, court cases and a royal commission, which had more twists and turns than any in Australian history or folklore, took on a surreal atmosphere when heard on radio when travelling from Roma to the Carnarnvon Gorge in the Central Highlands of Queensland, Australia, recently.
Roma is the beef heartland of Australia. Carnarvon Gorge is one of the most spectacular set of natural gorges in the world. To hear this radio announcement while between a major commercial meat processing centre and one where nature seems to stand still in time, causes a most surreal feeling - a tearing of the sensors between death and life.
Tears filled the car, as an enormous amount of empathy and grief was felt for the divorced parents, and their surviving children, of Australia’s first recorded baby dingo death.
Australians were so quick three decades ago to find Lindy Chamberlain both mother and murderer of her only daughter at that stage. Evidence, in hindsight, appears to have been offered to various courts more from the point of view of Lindy’s guilt, rather than her presumed innocence until proven otherwise.
The media vehemently supported this view. We, the community, inconceivably fell in-line to cast total guilt on to this now proven innocent mother.
Lindy’s family never recovered. Her marriage to Michael ended in divorce. Lindy was forced to leave her country, Australia, to try and live a normal life free from the abuse and guilt thrown at her by so many.
Lindy, Michael and their children had to endure the feeling of the convicted. Not once, but over and over, for more than three decades.
According to the coronial findings, the fact that a number of children have been found to have been killed by dingos over the past decade all over Australia, has contributed to today’s innocent announcement. Why, we must ask, were the initial prosecutors, and so many witnesses and others, not able to see that this was a real possibility for the death of Azaria?
As a nation we must feel shame for the failure of our legal system, for the ranging torrents of media hype for Lindy’s guilt and for our own inability to give another Australian a fair go. Something we hold so dear to our hearts – the right to a fair go for all. To help the down and out to be given a chance. To fight for the rights of the oppressed, the disadvantaged and others suffering social injustices. The right to presumed innocent! A fair go - mate!
The 'Azaria Chamberlain killed by dingo! Fair go mate!' blog post written by Bryan Foster, author of Church Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (2nd ed)
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