The heartbreaking letter that freed Lindy Chamberlain
Lindy Chamberlain has revealed the heartbreaking letter she had smuggled out of jail, after being thrown behind bars for four years following the death of her baby daughter, Azaria.
During a family camping trip in Uluru on August 17, 1980, Chamberlain’s world fell apart after a dingo took her baby Azaria from the family tent.
The nine-week old was never seen again.
The disappearance led to a number of court cases and inquests and saw a now 72-year-old Chamberlain jailed for life in 1982 - before she was eventually cleared in 1986.
Now, Sam Neil takes a critical look into the investigation in a two-part series, titled Lindy Chamberlain: The True Story.
While the documentary is a retelling of the entire case, it also goes in depth about Chamberlain’s personal life.
In May 1984, four years after Azaria’s death - the governor-General was given a petition signed by 131,000 people, demanding a judicial inquiry into the Chamberlain case.
The National Freedom Council was adamant the campaign would not end until Lindy was free.
Looking at spending her third Christmas in jail with no release date set, Chamberlain had a heartbreaking letter smuggled out of her cell detailing how unjust her treatment had been.
“I’ve tried to co-operate, but still this farce continues,” she wrote.
“For nearly three years, I have worked as an inmate of this prison for 30 cents a day, trying to do whatever I was asked pleasantly.
“I have sought an inquiry whereby the NT Government had a chance to redeem their own name. In return, they have ignored decency and justice and still scoff at it.
“As from 1 pm Darwin time today, I’m refusing to work in any way whatsoever for this prison.
“I did not kill my lovely daughter and refuse to be treated as a criminal any longer.”
Chamberlain was exonerated in 1986, after a piece of Azaria’s clothing was found near a dingo den.
Before her release, Michael Chamberlain and their three children Aiden, Reagan and Kahlia – who was born while Lindy was behind bars – could only visit Lindy three times a year, with media “desperate” to catch a glimpse of Australia’s most infamous family entering the prison.
Ita Buttrose, who went to the Mulawa Women’s Prison to interview Chamberlain, said her time behind bars was “very, very isolating” and these visits – including her interview visit- were deemed a “treat”.
“Everyone in Australia judged this woman before she ever got a trial,” Buttrose said
“Even when she was in jail, she was still being judged.”
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