Timeline of Events

June 11, 1980 Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain born.
August 17, 1980 9 weeks, 4 days, approx. 10lb. (4.5kg) Azaria was taken from the tent at Ayers Rock by a dingo
August 24, 1980 Wally Goodwin finds jumpsuit, booties, nappy & singlet, matinee jacket still missing.
October 1&2, 1980 Police statements (ROI’s) given by all four Chamberlains at Mt. Isa, and car searched
February 20, 1981 Alice Springs Coroner Denis Barritt finds that a wild dog or dingo took Azaria; that no member of the Chamberlain family was responsible for her death, but there was interference with the clothing by ‘person or persons unknown’. Ken Brown requests permission to do further tests on the jumpsuit.
September 20, 1981 Operation Ochre – Chamberlain’s home raided simultaneously with the homes of all other key and some eye-witnesses.
November 20, 1981 Northern Territory Supreme Court (Darwin) quashes first inquest and orders a new one.
February 2, 1982 Second Inquest Coroner Gerry Galvin commits Lindy Chamberlain to trial on the charge of murdering Azaria. Michael Chamberlain is charged as an accessory after the fact. (dubbed “Inquest by Ambush” in the media) $5,000 bail and $5,000 surety.
September 13, 1982 Trial begins in Darwin, NT Judge Justice James Muirhead of the Supreme Court presiding. Called the “Trial of the Century”.
October 29, 1982 Lindy, heavily pregnant, is found guilty of 1st Degree Murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Michael, as accessory after the fact, receives an eighteen month suspended sentence.
November 17, 1982 Kahlia born in custody.
November 18 & 19 Federal Court bail application upheld pending 1982 appeal. Decision held overnight. $300 bail.
April 29, 1983 Federal Court unanimously rejects appeal. Lindy is held at Mulawa Women’s Prison, then transferred to Darwin after application for bail pending High Court appeal fails. Kahlia goes to live with foster parents Wayne & Jenny Miller.
July 19 & 27, 1983 Solicitor Stuart Tipple applies for Lindy’s temporary release due to Reagan’s eye accident. Request not granted.
February 22, 1984 High Court Appeal fails in a split judgement of 2 to 3.
May 3, 1984 A Petition of 131,000 signatures (later 150,000) presented to Sir Ninian Stevens, the Governor-General.
November 17, 1984 Applied for release on licence because of transfer of Kahlia’s foster parents. Application denied. Kahlia goes to new foster parents, Dr Owen and Jan Hughes.
June 4, 1985 Recently formed “Innocence Committee” submits new evidence to the NT government, and makes an application for an inquiry.
February 3, 1986 Stuart Tipple is tipped off that the missing matinee jacket of Azaria has been found during a search for missing body parts belonging to a fallen climber at Ayers Rock. The matinee jacket had been held at the Alice Springs Court House since January 31.
February 5, 1986 Lindy finally sees the matinee jacket and positively identifies it. The matinee jacket was very significant because Lindy had said that Azaria had been wearing it the night she was taken by the dingo. The Crown had dismissed that claim as “a fanciful lie”. When the matinee jacket turned up after five years, it was proof Lindy had not lied.
February 7, 1986 Senator Bob Collins forces local reporter Frank Alcorta to check his sources. He does, and is so infuriated he writes an article for the local paper and shows it to the NT Government, threatening to print it if Lindy is not released from jail by 12 noon, or an Inquiry is called. They do both.
June 2, 1987 After a fourteen month Royal Commission Justice Trevor Morling hands down his finding and clears the Chamberlain’s of all guilt or responsibility. If he had been asked he finds support for the view that Azaria was taken by a dingo. In response the NT offers them a Pardon. (This still indicates guilt in Australia.)
October 21, 1987 A new act of Parliament is forced through to allow the Chamberlain’s to return to court to clear their convictions.
November 4, 1988 Release of the film Evil Angels (A Cry in the Dark). It polarises the nation.
September 15, 1988 The Supreme Court of Darwin quashes all convictions and declares the Chamberlain’s totally innocent. The court also adopts Morling’s view that Azaria was taken by a dingo if they had been asked.
Jan/Feb 1990 Lindy tells Michael she wants a divorce.
June 27, 1991 The Chamberlain’s divorce becomes final. Kahlia chooses to live with Michael and visit Lindy, Reagan stays with Lindy and visits Michael. Aidan divides his time between the two homes.
February 1992 Lindy meets Rick Creighton during a speaking tour of the USA.
May 19, 1992 Rick proposes marriage; Lindy accepts.
May 25, 1992 Compensation paid to the Chamberlains by the Northern Territory government.
June 8, 1992 Lindy’s engagement to Rick is announced.
July 1992 Kahlia asks to return to live with Lindy and custody proceedings are started.
December 20, 1992 Rick and Lindy are married, and choose to live in Washington State, USA.
April 28, 1993 Lindy is given custody of Kahlia and Reagan (at the request of both children).
December 13, 1995 Findings of the Third Inquest are announced. NT Coroner John Lowndes reiterates that neither Lindy nor Michael were in any way involved with the disappearance of their daughter. He leaves the cause of Azaria’s death ‘open’ however.
August 1998 Lindy & Rick, wishing to be closer to Lindy’s ageing parents, and to Aidan, return with Reagan and Kahlia to live in Australia.
October 2002 Debut of the opera Lindy with Opera Australia.
October 2004 Lindy releases her completely up-to-date autobiography Through My Eyes
November 2004 Mini series titled after Lindy’s book Through My Eyes is broadcast on Australia’s Channel 7 network.
August 10, 2010 Lindy releases to the media her “Letter to Open Minded Australians”. This letter was brought to the attention of the NT Attorney-General
17 August 2010 Lindy receives a letter from the NT Attorney-General advising that she has requested the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages to conduct an enquiry to determine whether the particulars concerning the death of Azaria were accurate.
October 2010 The Northern Territory Attorney-General confirmed she does not have the power to require the Coroner to re-open the Inquest and requested any application from the Chamberlains should be directed to the Coroner’s Office.
December 16, 2011 Coroner Elizabeth Morris announces that she has determined to re-open the Inquest into the death of Azaria.
February 24, 2012 Coroner Morris holds the fourth Inquest into the death of Azaria.
June 12, 2012 Coroner Morris announces her finding that the cause of Azaria’s death was by being taken by a dingo. It is what the Chamberlains and the eyewitnesses had known all along, and the only alternative to murder posited by the Crown prosecutors.
Though others have suggested lawsuits against the NT and that an apology should come from the Northern Territory Lindy spoke only of forgiveness and moving on. She knows that learning to forgive is the only way she has travelled this journey without bitterness and without incurring the damage to her life that hurt and anger inflict. She also knows that an apology given unwillingly is no apology at all. In the end, she has never given up the only true form of freedom; the freedom of her mind.

Further Reading :

  • The Story

    June 11, 1980 Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain born. August 17, 1980 9 weeks, 4 days, approx. 10lb. (4.5kg) Azaria was taken from the tent at Ayers Rock by a dingo August 24, 1980 Wally Goodwin finds jumpsuit, booties, nappy & singlet, matinee jacket still missing. October 1&2, 1980 Police statements (ROI’s) given by all four […]

  • Why did this happen?

    Millions of words have been written to try to come to grips with what has been called Australia’s biggest scandal. Depending on the survey, some 70% of Australia’s public believe Lindy is innocent of murder, and that a dingo was responsible. The remaining 30% most commonly respond that they know she is guilty, on the […]

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