News

Lindy to rely on Fraser dingoes

TRAGIC PAST: A photo, taken in August 1980, shows Lindy Chamberlain holding her daughter Azaria on Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory.
TRAGIC PAST: A photo, taken in August 1980, shows Lindy Chamberlain holding her daughter Azaria on Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory. NEWS LTD

MORE than three decades, three coronial inquiries and one royal commission after the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain, evidence of Fraser Island dingo attacks is now vital to a fresh attempt by the Chamberlains to definitively clear their names.

This has thrust the Fraser Coast and the Department of Resource and Environment's dingo management strategies on to the national stage as the Northern Territory coroner Elizabeth Morris ponders one of Australia's great outback mysteries.

It has been revealed that evidence about dingo attacks on Fraser Island played a key role in establishing the fresh inquest, launched in December 2011.

The coroner will review accounts of attacks by dingoes on children on Fraser, including a fatal attack on a nine-year-old Clinton Gage in 2001.

In 1981, the first inquest into the baby's disappearance found that a dingo had taken Azaria from Michael and Lindy Chamberlain's tent, near Uluru, in 1980.

That finding was quashed and the Chamberlains were committed to stand trail in 1981 after a second inquest.

Later that year, Mrs Chamberlain, now known as Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life.

Her husband was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact.

The couple were exonerated after a 1987 Royal Commission found that much of the scientific evidence relied upon by the prosecution was seriously flawed.

In 1995, a third inquest was held to again try to determine the cause of Azaria's death but returned an open finding.

The Chamberlains were outraged and their continued lobbying for a further investigation was rewarded last year.

Ms Morris said the inquest had been initiated "largely in relation to information about dingo attacks since the death of Azaria".

Topics:  dingoes, fraser coast, lindy chamberlain



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