Lindy and Michael Chamberlain with photo of Azaria

AZARIA. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

It’s probably difficult for some younger Australians to understand just how much Lindy Chamberlain was vilified and ridiculed by her countrymen and women 32 years ago when a dingo killed her baby, Azaria.

But I know, because I was one of them.

I was working as a stand-up comedian in the early 1980s and performed a routine I had written which posed the question: “What if they made Lindy Chamberlain The Musical?”

The centrepiece of this rave was the 1967 tune by The Association called: “Everyone Knows It’s Windy” which I had cleverly re-written as “Everyone Knows It’s Lindy.”  (I know. Genius.)

I’ll spare you ...

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142 Comments

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    kid

    Well said. Sadly, I won’t hold my breath waiting for the legions of “journalists” who were instrumental in shaping public opinion and getting her convicted to follow your lead. It would be the decent thing to do, but I don’t expect any of them will.

    • Reply June 12, 2012

      cassie wenning

      Oh PLUEASEEEEE…..!!!!! For goodnes sake Wendy if your going to apologise for these jokes….apologise for every minority joke we were allowed to do in the 80′s…for Petes sake (& believe me, I want to swear VERY loud !!!) we are a nation of joke tellers & every disaster created a laugh….whether it be the Challengher Space Disaster/a woman taken by a crocodile /or a serial killer in a forest…many a cheap laugh was had at the horror of it all…but reallly,….I have lost a little respect for you for bowing to a simplistic veiw that someone can pass judgement, way beyond the use buy date….get over yourself & bone up….really, your way way better than that…where are we going to find any sort humour now….

      • Reply June 12, 2012

        Wendy Harmer

        I have made heaps of crass jokes over the years (still do) but I have to ask myself, afer 32 years, why I still regret this routine and not others.It’s because I hunted with the hounds. I’d rather run with the hares. It’s always good to have a moral compass. This time,my direction and timing was off. I regret that.

      • Reply June 13, 2012

        Julz

        How interesting that you think everyone in Australia tells and laughs at jokes about terrible events like the Milat killings. But I guess it rather explains your message.

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Ned Manning

      You’re a great woman Wendy Harmer. You have articulated the guilt most of us deservedly feel for taking the piss without thinking.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Caroline Roessler

    I’m sorry to say I was one of those awful people who bought into every conspiracy theory going at the time. My only excuse I was 19 years old – and that’s a lame one at that. It’s shocking to me now to think I could have believed all that. Mea culpa. -Ed

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    mhoram

    Hey Kid, don’t pass the buck. Even though this whole sorry affair highlighted how badly our MSM handles fact-based reporting, it was the general public that lapped it up and screamed for more.

    Wendy is right to ask forgiveness for HER actions, she’s not asking for anyone else to, nor should she. I guess (I hope, from seeing your handle) that you were too young to be a part of this witch hunt, but it’s been a shameful episode in our generation’s history. We can’t wholly blame the media for giving us what we so shrilly keep asking for.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Vanessa

    I still have friends who don’t believe the dingo story which mystifies me.

    As for me, I once had an encounter, as a child, with a dingo on Fraser Island and I knew what they were capable of. I at least had something tangible to think back on to help me form an opinion. However, I’m sure, like everyone else, I was swayed at times by the media scrummage. How very, very sorry I am for what that family was made to live through. Congratulations on finally getting your day in court.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Erin

    I am the same age as Azaria would be now and I am a mother of a child the same age as Azaria when she died. When the Coroner apologized I cried along with her. I could not imagine losing my child let alone being accused of their murder, sent to jail and then fight for 30 years to have the truth recorded in history. Their lives were forever changed in such a tragic circumstance but then also to be the subject of ridicule and suspicion and still people question these events. Good on you for apologizing publicly but will anyone in the entertainment industry or media learn from this? There are many stories in the media at the moment that could turn out the same way, ending in innocence, yet these people have already been crucified and presumed guilty. Such a shame that peoples tragedy and sadness is turned into entertainment.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    TraceyA

    Well said Wendy. I was another who somehow “knew” that Lindy Chamberlain was guilty. Yes I was young (18 at the time Azaria disappeared) but I was also caught up in the unedifying group-think of the time and I am not proud of myself for that. Kudos to the Chamberlains for never giving up the fight.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Grahame Martin

    People who knew Lindy before the event in Innisfail, said she could not have murdered her daughter.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Lisa Lintern

    If only more of us were capable of such honest self-reflection. Bravo Wendy.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Mrs Woog

    Excellent stuff Wendy.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    MichelleP

    I am in tears reading your article above… And I thank you for writing it. I was only a teen when Azaria disappered but I remember it clearly and the frenzied witch hunt that followed.
    I always try to see the best in people (which sometimes gets me in trouble) but I never thought she did it and watched on horrified as she was judged for her response to the tragedy. Every facial expression, action, tears (or lack of) were dissected and judged. Even when she was pregnant with her last child during one of the trials she was criticised.
    I’d like to think we have learnt from it but I see it happening all the time…

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Andrew Gillman

    I have always admired your insight, character and sense of perspective but this takes you up yet another notch in my estimation. Thank you for forgoing your pride and speaking your heart. Inspiring stuff.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Jenny

    I do admit to having been pulled in all directions by the appalling “revelations” from the media at the time, but I don’t think I was ever able to believe that Lindy was in any way responsible for her own baby’s death. As a young mother myself at the time I found that to be quite incomprehensible. And looking at photographs of Lindy and Azaria together, the loving bond was plain to see.
    The loss of an infant child would have been devastating to her parents and siblings. How much worse for them to be blamed for it, tried for murder, and the mother imprisoned for “life”. And subsequently for this poor mother to give birth to another daughter, to have her taken away by the authorities while still a baby. Nothing could possibly compensate this tragic family for these events.
    I was so relieved and happy when Lindy and Michael were exonerated, but the damage to the family unit had already been done by then. I’m glad they have all been able to recreate their lives in the years since, but still remain saddened by the fact that it all ever happened.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Kate S

    I had a friend who called her dog chihuaha ‘Dingo’ at the time – very bad joke. You’re right, everyone was disbelieving.
    I spent some time in the NT in 1986 and everyone there seemed to believe in Lindy’s guilt.

    I believed that the Chamberlains were innocent at first but then wavered with all the negative publicity.

    Remember also that the Northern Territory police reopened the investigation and Lindy was convicted partly on the basis of later discredited forensic evidence.

    You’re right, Lindy and Michael have always acted with dignity. I too am sorry for whatever doubts I had but my enduring memory of Lindy is of her consistent dignity and grace.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Kathleen

    Wow. I so admire your courage, Wendy, to say this. I wonder how many other journalists or performers who did similar will do the same? This episode shows that some things are beyond comedy, despite what many comedians claim. We are all guilty though. I wonder if they can forgive us as a nation as I cannot imagine the pain they have endured. RIP Azaria.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    moldor

    Given the astounding lack of evidence, body or cocked-up forensics, I still say she did it. Why, who know what religious nutjobs use for reasoning.

    • Reply June 12, 2012

      Thodey

      Moldor. I hope that you never have to face the nightmare that this dignified family have gone through. They are not, and never were religious nut jobs, but people of faith who believe in God. They are also entitled to the presumption of innocence. This was tragically, and illegally, lost due to the mob mentality in the Territory at the time. That they have held themselves in such a dignified manner, and are able to get on with their lives,is amazing

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Norma

      What evidence are you talking about, or are you just stirring.

    • Reply October 30, 2012

      Roff

      You seem to conveniently be forgetting the high Ph levels found in the soil on Azaria’s clothes. Much higher than found in the environment at Ayers Rock. Considering that the year-round Ayers Rock Rangers and employees had dirt with high Ph levels trucked in to be placed around their homes, so they could grow lawns, one can only surmised that baby Azaria was buried in the dirt of one of these lawns at some point before her clothes were found at the dingo den. Highly unlikely the Chamberlains or any other tourists would know where that dingo den was located, but surely the rangers did…and there is the evidence of human intervention that was determined at the first inquiry.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Robyne Young

    Wendy – you have great integrity.
    I’ve written a column for tomorrow’s Border Mail. I was a young journalist in Wollongong when Azaria was taken, and working in a newsroom in country Victoria when the trial began. I always believed Lindy and Michael’s version of events and recall how much Lindy was judged because she did not cry. I’ve posited in tomorrow’s piece what it would be like for the Chamberlains if this happend today, but come to the conclusion that perhaps not much would change because Lindy did not react as people wanted her to. She was never going to win public approval. I think their faith has always given them a peace of sorts, but now perhaps they will have real peace. Their grace has been amazing.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Ann

    Well said Wendy I don’t know about you but I never really understood lindys grief until I had my daughter and to think she had another baby taken away from her in prison.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Eme

    I feel the suspicion and hatred was media driven and people were sucked in by it all. I was one of many many people I know who believed her and I was abused by the Lindy haters. Terrible it was. I can t begin to imagine the pain and suffering and loss for all of these years, Lindy Michael and their beautiful children have had to cope with. I wish them love and peace.
    I was told by a contractor who was working on the grounds of the new tourist hotel at the time that…. The territory had had a huge amount of money poured into it for tourism and they were told a dingo could “not” do it. Would wipe the tourist industry out. Also the local indigenous people ALL accepted the fact that a dingo did it. I remember the mediaccriticizing her for dressing Azaria in dark colours which was a fashion then. I dressed my little girl in navy blue, maroon, even black and white? Love to Lindy xxx

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Jo-Anne

    My Son Daniel was born only days prior to this event! The memory is so vivid; as a young new mother totally in love with my child I kept thinking of the absolute grief & anxiety for her baby Lindy must have been experiencing! The Australian people seem to love to blame or have a scape goat! (like a lot of other nations I suppose) I always believed it to be the dingo… And to prove the point, in my mad way, l gave Daniel the nickname “Dingo” which is still in use on occasion. You never know what’s around the corner!

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Beryl Richardson

    I have never believed that the Chamberlains were guilty and they have waited so very long for this decision. I wonder how many of the Journalists and everyday people with have the courage of Wendy Harmer to apologise and retract their condemnation.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Claire

    Thanks for this Wendy. The mea culpa needs to be said over and over again, especially by media types, journalists, cops and comedians.

    I was a teenager at the time and I can honestly say, hand on heart, I always thought Lindy was innocent and that the dingo did it. I’d stayed at the Rock before the Chamberlains went there and it was certainly low-fi and chaotic enough for such a thing to happen. Also, we all know what dogs are capable of -they attack kids all the time. I’ve never seen why a dingo wouldn’t take a baby. Now we know they attack kids. Dingos are predators. That this seems so unthinkable shows how urban and out of touch most Australians are. And horribly sentimental about dogs…

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    KR

    I was 20 when Azaria died. I was overseas at the time. I have little memory of what was my first overseas trip, but what I can remember vividly, was returning home to the storm of hate directed at the Chamberlains. I could never understand it. Nor did I understand why the quite reasonable (but horrible) story of the dingo was considered by so many to be far fetched. What was far fetched was the concocted story of what Lindy supposedly did to Azaria.

    Like many others I’m sure, I cried with the coroner this morning. I wish the whole family a better future.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Heather

    Shades of the Craig Thomson affair… unfortunately too many are thrilled to jump into the ‘kangaroo court’ system of justice.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    kid

    Mhoram, I was 12 but remember it very well, and have studied the media’s treatment of the story in depth. Your comment that the whole affair showed “how badly our msm handled fact-based reporting” is a great piece of spin. They printed rumour and gossip with no fact checking, and they made stuff up. They crucified her to get viewers and sell papers, and further their own careers. What little fact based reporting there was in amongst it all was handled very well. The problem is there wasn’t enough of it.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Lady Penelope

    I remember themed dinner parties. What were we thinking? My mother being a country woman had no trouble believing a dingo took Azaria until the media got hysterical over the little black baby dress. Then the Catholic in her cast the Chamberlains as Satanists. The media have a lot to answer for.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Lori Bolden

    Thank you Wendy, for putting into words, something I think I‘ve wanted to say for a long time. Sorry to Lindy & Michael and all who are close to you …May you all find some peace now.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Sandymg

    It wasn’t EVERYONE who believed Lindy was a monster; it just seemed that way because those ‘expert judges and juries’ seemed able to scream guilty louder than anyone who dared suggest the dingo did it. Even today, after the Coroner’s ruling, I heard them and they’re still deriding those of us who believed she was innocent. Those people will never change. God help us if they actually get to be on a jury.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Helen

    Wendy, I was one of the people you took onto the stage to voice an opinion as to whether it was the dingo or not – you showed no evidence of remorse or even that you may be thinking you were doing the wrong thing.
    I think it is reasonable for you to now reflect and apologise but don’t say you were reflective way back then.

    • Reply June 12, 2012

      Wendy Harmer

      Well, my recollection is that I did not ever take people on stage to give judgement or otherwise. So we will have to disagree on that.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Carli

    Good for you Wendy. I still recall the heated dinner party discussions that went on with my parents and their friends. I think there will be many people feeling ashamed today.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    josie james

    I have mixed feelings about all these apologies now. It is certainly better late than never but really, is everyone just jumping on the next media bandwagon with the apologies?

    Those apologies should have come YEARS ago when she was acquitted. YEARS ago when it became obvious through various inquests. YEARS ago when the so-called expert evidence (particularly the blood evidence which was essentially a joke) was proven to be wrong. YEARS ago when the matinee jacket was found.

    There have been so many opportunities for people to think for themselves, look at the evidence and make up their own minds about this case. Finally the Chamberlains have a death certificate. Is that what everyone really needed is it to apologise?

    I certainly hope that if this ever happened to me or someone I know that it wouldn’t taken 32 years of vilification, imprisonment, inquests and various hearings for people to finally say yes, this poor woman lost her much loved baby to a wild dog attack. And no she didn’t murder the child. I see on some blogs and news sites some people are still arguing that she did it. May those people receive more grace and less judgment in their lives than they are prepared to offer this innocent woman.

    I believe that this will always be one of the most disgracefully mishandled cases in Australian judicial history. The media and the public played their own hideous roles. A very dark time in Australian history.

    Your apology is beautiful Wendy and I hope that Lindy reads it. No doubt there will be plenty more apologies made in the coming months and years from others. That’s great but for goodness sakes, let’s not settle for the fact that it took 32 years of HELL for Lindy Chamberlain to hear them.

    • Reply June 12, 2012

      Wendy Harmer

      It’s true that I have felt remorseful for many years. As do many people who told the odd “dingo’s got my baby joke.” Sometimes events just offer up an opportunity to say “sorry”. Today is one of them. Saying sorry has no “use-by” date.

      • Reply June 13, 2012

        Ben

        Wendy, all I want to say is good onya mate. Thank you for writing and sharing this apology. It’s an example for all of us to really think about – with the way we judge others.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    kelley @ magnetoboldtoo

    I remember having a stand up fight with my Literature teacher in 1998 about this story.

    We were in the middle of a reading of MacBeth and all of a sudden the conversation turned to Lindy and Azaria. I am sad to say that that teacher was of the belief that the Chamberlains murdered their child and this woman continued to teach for many more years.

    I am sure it comes as no surprise she didn’t understand Shakespeare either.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Judy

    The arguments I have had since Azaria’s death have been emotive, heated and never ending. The jokes have been despicable. In all of this the big mouths forgot that there was a baby involved. What could ever be funny about a baby dying? My heart breaks for Lindy Chamberlain and her family. What they have had to needlessly go through is unthinkable. To lose a baby under any circumstances is unbearable, but to be accused of their murder when innocent is beyond comprehension. Your apology is great Wendy. There should be many more after yours.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Sally

    It is great that you have sad sorry Wendy but there is no way anyone in the media has learned anything from this. They will continue to print whatever they want to sell the story. they will make things up, they will twist the truth and then when they are proven wrong they will slink away without any sort of remorse or apology and start on the next story.
    The media in this country has no morals, I bet you are the only media personality to say sorry. The rest of them who wrote appalling headlines and made up stuff like Azaria meaning sacrifice in the wilderness etc will NEVER say they are sorry and that they made this stuff up. They will never be held accountable for the slander they published about this family for the past 30 plus years. No wonder Lindy moved across the other side of the world to get away from the media here.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Permanently 23

    Love it Wendy. takes balls to say sorry and admit you’re wrong, espo. so publically. xx Go you!

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Red

    Wendy – I give you a lot of credit for having the guts to publicly say sorry. I would hope that your brave and couragous example will be followed by the many other comedians and journalists who had a go at the Chamberlains and really held them up to public ridicule.
    I reckon you have been elevated in the estimation of many people for giving this public apology. You have definately gone up in mine.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Liz

    Thank u for taking the lead. I too want to apologise …… Mainly for the heated dinner party arguments…what on earth was I thinking…talk about mob mentality and a witch hunt. I hope that poor family can take some comfort in your word and mainly the words of the coroner. Bless the Chamberlains.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Amanda

    Wendy – well done. Such a grown up thing to do. I was 19 at the time and maybe because I too belonged to (a different) smaller religious group I felt the unfairness of the so called witchhunt.
    I argued and argued at so many parties. Even the matinee jacket episode could not persuade me of their guilt.

    I am so relieved for her to finally get justice.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Lynn

    It is a terrible shameful time in our history. But I doubt we learned anything from it. If I remember correctly, we did the same thing to Joanne Lees when her boyfriend went missing in the NT.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    nev

    i still dont believe a dingo took the child and neither do curtain aboriginal trackers ,how do you take clothes of a child and lay them carefully on the ground there is also other evidence that wasnt used or left out the second time around ,i think they just want it over and done with.

    • Reply June 12, 2012

      Sally

      Nev, the clothes were NOT layed out carefully. the person who found them later admitted to handling them and putting them back in a different position to how he found them. Stop looking for evidence that does not exist. As for your talk about the Aboriginal elders, you are very wrong. In fact the Chamberlain defence team was contacted by a number of elders and were offered their services. They were also involved in the original search to help track THE DINGO because they had seen the behaviour of the dingos at Uluru. Enough with the spreading of lies.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Colours

    It was a disgrace at the time that Mrs Chamberlain was found guilty and sentenced on what was the flimsiest of circumstantial and tainted evidence. It’s also a disgrace that this has played out over 30+ years for a resolution.
    I’m hopeful that you have conveyed your views to the Chamberlains in a private note rather than by (effective) media release.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Lizabelle

    Very well said, Wendy – thank you.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    MIchael

    It’s all too little, too late for anyone to genuinely apologise now, just because the legal verdict has been handed-down. I am one of those people who lost friends for believing that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. The truth of the Azaria Chamberlain case was always very clear to anyone with a decent amount of empathy and half a brain.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Ian

    Wendy don’t blame yourself, I too was one of the majority who believed that “Lindy did it” . I realized quite a few years ago how wrong I was.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Glenn

    Wendy, I have the utmost respect for you as I have done for many years. This afternoon when I heard you on the radio, I could hear the pain and sorrow you felt. Thank you so much for sharing and apologising in such a beautiful way, I certainly hope the Chamberlains see your apology and the mostly positive messages from others. You are he best.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Wendy

    I was in year 7 at school when Azaria was taken so tragically. I couldn’t believe the next day at school that everyone had already formed an opinion of Lindy being guilty.

    My parents were friends of Prof Barry Boettcher who was the forensic scientist (he is absolutely brilliant) for the Chamberlains. We went to many Pro-Chamberlain rallys over the following years because my family believed a miscarriage of justice was being done and this woman needed all the support she could get. I will never forget one rally in which a dingo expert showed an actual dingo jaw compared to a dog jaw. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12591-tasmanian-tigers-weaker-bite-gave-dingoes-the-edge.html

    I was bullied through high school because I wouldn’t back down from my belief that Lindy Chamberlain was innocent. It’s so nice to see that justice has prevailed!

    I wish others were as humble as you Wendy – it brings tears to my eyes reading your apology to Lindy!

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Alice Shaw

    Well done Wendy. I hope others follow your lead. I remember vividly hearing this on the news and being horrified at the thought of having your baby taken by a dingo. And then all the stories came flooding in, the media showing a brief moment of a smile on Lindy’s face, apparently proof she was a murderer. For a little while I believed the hype but I was 11 and I went with what my friends said. But then the conviction and the awful blood spatter evidence which wasn’t evidence at all.. I am sorry for what Lindy and Michael and their family went through, it is a shameful time in our history but I hope we have learned from it.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Tim Bean

    I was working as a stand up comedian at the time too. Didn’t know what to believe, but I didn’t do any gags on the subject. A BABY DIED! I know other club comics who felt the same.
    Have always felt
    Lindy suffered, at least partially, because she was an old fashioned, stay at home wife and mother who believed in God.
    Had she been an atheistic, feminist career woman, lone mother of three on an Arts Council Grant, I doubt the media would have gone after her.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Annie from Faulco

    Well said, Wendy. I cannot imagine the grief of losing a child, let alone being vilified in public. My heart goes out to Lindy.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Teresa French

    why did you say this today? Why not have the guts and say it before it was “approved”? This is a shameless bit of me-too-ing after the fact. I feel quite disgusted.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Bert Maverick

    Meh. You don’t owe those people anything. If you felt guilty and pulled the gag at the time, that was enough. As a comedian it is certainly no sin to make jokes about current events, regardless of whether you actually believe in what you’re saying or not. If you don’t like it, don’t write jokes about it. Or if you’re someone who doesn’t like jokes being made about touchy subjects like that, don’t go see comedy ever again.

    What’s next, apologies to every person ever vilified in jest? What a lot of hollow garbage.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Maree

    Good on you Wendy, I heard part of your interview on 702 this arvo and found it very moving.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Eddy

    Wendy, I believe that publically apologising the way you did is not only courageous, but the right thing to do.
    The Sun Herald featured “Wendy Harmer has issued a “groveling apology” to Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton”
    I’ve challenged them to follow your example – needless to say my comments didn’t get published.
    However, I’d arrived in Australia in the early 80s and couldn’t believe the hysteria around this case.
    No matter which paper or magazine you opened or which programme you tuned into, virtually all were feasting on that family’s misery, happy to make a buck.
    I strongly believe the media owes that family a huge debt, for orchestrating a witch hunt on the Chaimberlains and not hide behind the ‘freedom of speech’ mantra. It is time to put their money where their big mouths were…

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Mal Arkey

    I don’t know whether or not the Chamberlains were involved in Azaria’s death.
    I do not believe the baby was taken by a dingo.
    I believe there was some kind of human intervention by person or persons unknown.
    The clothing found much later could not have been placed by a dingo.
    Now that the Chamberlains have their piece of paper, let us forget them, and resolve to always care for our children, and not leave them in harm’s way.
    Finally, an inquest verdict is a considered opinion, not proof of anything beyond a reasonable doubt.

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Emily

      Mal,
      I suspect the Coroner may have more knowledge, evidence and understanding of the case than you.
      “I do not believe the baby was taken by a dingo. I believe there was some kind of human intervention by person or persons unknown. The clothing found much later could not have been placed by a dingo.”
      Based on what Mal? A gut feeling? Something you read somewhere? The coroner has made a very clear ruling and I think it’s time people stopped speculating and left these people to get on with what is left of their lives.

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Susie

      Mal, unless you have a forensic degree and you were in court for EVERY one of the trials and royal commissions and you have had full access to ALL the evidence I think you are talking out of your arse. You are obviously one of those people who can’t admit you are wrong and can’t accept the truth even when it smacks you up the side of the head.
      Now go and look for Elvis and see if you can find the soundstage they faked the moon landing on. NUT JOB

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Mal Arkey

    Sally, I must have missed the bit where nev referred to “Aboriginal Elders”. Enough with the distortion of peoples’ comments.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Jon Lesjak

    It was one of the first of many media beat-ups thrown upon a gullible Australian audience. How many of us actually checked on such things as “Sacrifice in the Wilderness”

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Robin C

    Wendy this article is just one of the reasons that you are one of the few people in public life that I consider a true role model for humanity and journalism. You use your public profile for good whether it is by sharing your personal story to inspire others or by writing such an honest and overdue piece on the Azaria tragedy. You have held a mirror up to us all and it is not an edifying reflection. Thank you.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Susie

    Wendy, on ABC 702 this morning Lindy was interviewed and she mentioned that someone in the media had made an apology. She did not mention you by name but she said good on you and you are only the 2nd person in the media EVER to say sorry.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Heather

    Reading through the comments above two things stand out: 1) people can’t resist the opportunity to judge others. Now it’s whether Wendy is right or wrong to apologise for God’s sake! And 2) noone seems to have thought of Azaria, the unfortunate baby who must have had a terrifying and painful end to her short life.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Anne

    Lindy was also interviewed on RN breakfast this morning. She spoke graciously about the media apology, obviously appreciating it. What it shows about Wendy is her kind-heartedness, sense of justice and courage regardless of criticism, all qualities which are extremely admirable!

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Wendy

    Good on you Wendy, saying sorry is always a good thing. The media do have a lot to answer for.As many people on this blog today are saying. The “haters” will always hate,they are entitled to their opinion,but ask yourselves is your opinion based on fact or emotion ?? I hope that we can learn from this, but will we? The media still alters the facts for sensastion, example, Delta Goodrem , Craig Thompson, just recently have been crucified before an “Expert “audience .We are all guilty of believing the media, armchair critics are the worst. How many times has Kate Middleton been having a baby this year, Jennifer Anniston is pregnant again apparently, Are Brad and Angelina married or not?? The thing that touched me with recent interviews with Lindy , was that she rejected any issue on suing the NT, because she didntwant to put anymore stress on taxpayers, That is what being and Aussie is about.RIP Azaria.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Tess

    Why the apology now Wendy, you’ve had years to contact the Chamberlains in private, this is their day and yet you have your face plastered all over the news, talk about riding on the coat tails of others. Your apology is more about seeking attention than it is your concern over something that you said years ago. How pathetic that you would use the death of a child to get your face in the news, I wouldn’t be surprised it you have a book or show coming up.

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Emily

      What a horrid comment. I don’t think anyone could accuse Wendy of being anything less that genuine in her apology. It’s a shame people can’t just graciously accept that Wendy wanted to publicly apologise now on her own website. She didn’t ask to have her face plastered anywhere.
      If Wendy is getting media coverage over her apology it’s probably because the press have exhausted every other possible aspect of this story over the years.
      Now, someone eloquently apologises and essentially puts into words what a lot of us feel. That IS a story.
      I thought the apology was beautiful yesterday but today I understand that it was brave as well. Stick your head out of the trenches to say sorry and you get your head blown off. Nice.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    brian

    Good on you Wendy. As a PR ‘flak’, nothing shits me more than when high profile people who screw up hedge their so-called apologies with the words “if I have offended”. Not that I think that this is what motivated it, but your very genuine, very unreserved and very public expression of remorse will do more for your reputation than you can possibly know.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Steve Melville

    This just confirms my long held opinion of you Wendy.
    You are a quality woman.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Wendy

    What a shame Tess that you missed what Wendy was saying, she is and was a public front person when she made the jokes etc, she is Sorry !! how better to say you are sorry than with hundreds of supporters also regretting supporting the fox hunt that surrounded the Chamberlains,Let Australians show the family we are sorry publically, show the Chamberlains that the public and media can do the right thing. Give them back the kindness that they should have had 32 yrs ago. Start a I am sorry page, shout it if you want, just mean it everyone.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    ERp

    Thanks Wendy. Well said. I supposed its now ‘case closed’. But to my mind, may the people who were instrumental in fueling the story to cover their own backs feel the guilt for the rest of their days.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Bruce B

    Wendy, it’s great that you have apologised publicy. you are a public figure who made public comments and therefore have apologised similarly. I’m not sure though why so many people comment that it takes’guts’ to apologise. I think if we were more readily prepared to apologise for all manner of things we would find much less hostility and agro around us. It seems that many of us still see it as a sign of weakness to admit when we are wrong.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Lady Jewels Diva

    Just because one coroner believes a dingo did it, doesn’t mean a dingo actually did it. You will not change the minds of those who believe she is guilty, and those who believe she is innocent will rejoice.

    This is something that rocked the country at the time, just like many murders, serial killers, bombings, earthquakes and God knows how many other things in the 32 years since have rocked the country and planet.

    What happened happened, whether she did it or not only she knows and we will all have our opinions and they have all been stirred up once again, but regardless of the death certificate and the coroner’s report, there will ALWAYS be people who believe she is guilty.

    I am one of them.

    And a death certificate and coroner’s report (which is only ONE person’s opinion) will not change that.

    As for the person who mentioned the Fraser Island dingos, different time, different place, the dingos are not going to be or act the same so you cannot use that as any proof of the way all dingos act.

    And for the people commenting who are having a go at others for maintaining their stance that she is guilty, stop it. We are all entitled to an opinion but slagging someone off for it is not the place, time or post for it.

    Wendy, I don’t agree with apologising to them, and as one poster said, unfortunately your face is all over the media for it, but you clearly believed this was the time and that’s your business, no one else’s.

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Emily

      The comments on this post are making me feel sick. The fact is, the Chamberlains have their legal documentation that their baby was killed by a dingo. Can we just leave them alone now? Awful, baseless, offensive comments.

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Susie

      UMMM Lady Diva, No you are not entitled to an opinion when that opinion has been proven to be INCORRECT in a court of law. It changes from being an opinion to being SLANDER and DEFAMATION.

      So many people ignorant of the law.

      • Reply June 13, 2012

        Emily

        “The evidence is sufficiently adequate, clear, cogent, and exact” to “exclude all other reasonable probabilities” than that a dingo entered the tent where Lindy and Michael Chamberlain’s young child lay resting on that August night thirty-two years earlier.”
        Territory Coroner Elizabeth Morris
        June 12th 2012
        The end

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Ginny Lowndes

    A dingo took my sheep, Timothy No.6 (Dad ate the previous ones. See Corrugated Roads). It snapped its jaws over Timothy’s head, crushed it, swung him to break his neck, then threw him over his shoulder & took off. Azaria Chamberlain suffered the same fate. Both Mr Nipper Winmatti, a high respected blacktracker, & Mrs Chamberlain told us so. I believed them. Dingoes/wild dogs had attacked before. Murdoch press dismissed Nipper as a drunken boong, blacktracking as voodoo, & Mrs Chamberlain as a lyin’ bitch. What astounds me is how easily some in Australia are willing to believe Murdoch & his ilk. Lyin’ bitch remains a perennial favourite among the conservative classes to dismiss a truth. Ask Ms Gillard.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Val

    I guess Australia has freedom of speech and everyone is entitled to their opinion but hopefully no-one else will have to go through what this family has and I don’t blame them for their media deals, imagine how much those legal fees will have cost and imagine trying to find work when your surname is Chamberlain. It is easy enough not to turn the TV on anyway.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    john

    Good on you Wendy, you have a good heart as everyone knows.
    I was only in my early teens when Azaria died and my father used to go around saying that the chamberlain parents were covering up for their children! What a horrible thing to say! Even at the time the alternative theories to the dingo were what seemed preposterous. After all a 9 week old baby is no larger than a dingoes usual prey. And all that ‘forensic’ science about blood in the car turned out to be science fiction. It was sickening to see the way the Chamberlains were vilified by society, and Lindy I apologise to you on behalf of my late father and his comments. So sorry for your tragic loss. RIP Azaria

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    WENDY GREEN

    I have always defended Lindy and Michael Chamberlain as innocent victims of a media in hyper-drive! When will someone bring decency back into journalism??? I hope to see it in my lifetime!

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Emily

      It won’t happen while people continue to lap up the crap the newspapers and tabloid tv serve up. They are in the business of selling newspapers and advertising space. I don’t think we can really blame journos. A lot of them know they either deliver the trashy stories that everyone seems to want to read or they are out of a job.
      Let’s not get lost in the fact that the media frenzy was borne out of a general public hungry to read anything salacious about the Chamberlains.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    bigwords

    Wendy, this is such a wonderful and imagine difficult apology to write. I hope others follow suit. Bianca xx

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    gogirl

    It’s never too late to apologise and the reasons for both the timing and content of an apology are, and will always remain, very personal to the person . That’s not to say it undoes the “wrong”.

    I personally would have liked to see this apology with the comments disabled. That, to me, would have been much more powerful.

    And, FWIW, Lindy’s ability to forgive is inspiring.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Nikki @ Styling You

    I too am sorry for thinking Lindy had done it. As a 12-year-old my mind was innocently and incorrectly swayed by the media’s reporting of the case. Wendy, I applaud you for saying sorry.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Alex

    We’re still doing the same thing with Craig Thomson. We did it with Gordon Wood and, I believe, Kelli Lane (and, like your husband, I’m howled down when I suggest any of those people could be innocent). We seem to have a strange human compulsion to believe the very worst of people. Is it because it makes us feel better about ourselves? Is it because journos naturally want the worst to be true because ‘worst’ always makes the more interesting story? Whatever it is, it is one of the ugliest sides of human nature.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Barb. Moreland

    The journalist who wrote “The name Azaria means Sacrifice in the Wilderness” should hang his/her head in shame…this sentence inspired a mad media frenzy of hatred, and inflamed the same in a section of the populace too. Years and years ago I read a story in a popular magazine which was telling about an incident recalled by an old settler, of dingoes taking babies or children from the Aboriginal shelters called ‘Mia Mias’. I also knew that a dog could take in its mouth a large leg of mutton, having seen this happen on the farm where I was reared. Dogs are animals with animal instincts, and dingoes are the same. I have no doubt that the dingo in question smelled food or milk on the baby’s clothes (Azaria had just been fed and laid down for sleep) from metres away and just followed its nose to that smell.
    To all those who are still convinced that the dingo was innocent…grow up,… come into the Real World,… go to the Zoo and watch the animals being fed. Some of you are just being controversial anyway, for the sake of drawing attention to yourselves!

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Barry Rutherford

    Well said Wendy ! Id like to see many voluntary apologies. Is like to see the national press associations stump up with a fund to reinburse the millions it has cost Lindy Micheal and her family…

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Fran

    I am another person who does not believe a dingo took Azaria. I was in the NT shortly after the event and met with people involved in the original search as well as others in the legal system.

    The fact is that whatever the truth, Lindy Chamberlain was persecuted by the media and others and now deserves to be left in peace. I think Wendy’s apology is wonderfully refreshing as people suffer in all sorts of ways that they don’t need to because of the media. Whatever happened that day was a tragedy and should never have attracted the media circus it did.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    K

    Wendy, I can’t help feeling you could have contacted them privately and made your apologies – I don’t see why you needed to do it here – if a discussion was what you were after you could have just posed a question – it all seems like a bit of attention seeking behaviour to make you feel better – and judging by all the pats on the back you have had for your gesture it will have worked – bit tacky really….

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Peter

      I understand what you are saying about the apology being public, but I guess the comedy routine was also public, so a public apology is fitting. I don’t think Wendy is the type to want to get pats on the back from this.

      It’s never too late to apologise.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Backslider

    To all the “moldors” of this World. You know nothing.

    I was a stockman in the NT in the late 90′s and witnessed first hand what dingos could do to our heifers – these are 200Kg beasts people, yet dingoes were able to pull them down, savagely maul them and even kill. To drag off a tiny baby would be like nothing to them. They killed a nine year old boy on Fraser Island in 2001.

    I also had the pleasure of meeting Lindy in the late 80′s. A beautiful, kind and very strong Christian lady. Amazing person. Are Seventh Day Adventists weird? Not in the slightest, the only thing that sets them apart is they take the Bible as their rule of faith rather than tradition. KJV is the most popular translation among them, although many use the NIV. They are regular Christians.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Laura

    Wendy, I applaud you for your apology. I always believed in Lindy’s innocence because to me, it wasn’t far-fetched to think a dingo would drag a baby away. A dingo does not differentiate between a baby and a sheep…. and those of us from the country know that. I felt embarassed and ashamed… the aboriginal people called Lindy a nickname meaning “the innocent one”. It is a lesson to all what selfish politicians with agendas can do, with a media circus riding the flank.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Halit

    How convenient for you just apologise and everything well & good, no harm done?
    If there was a capital punishment you would have major influence on that sins you were helping form an public opinion to find her guilty & make money out of it.
    No wonder your guilty conscience force you to apologised.
    How low you gone & how bad is this?

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Siobhan

    Sorry but I think this is all a bit ridiculous as on a day like this the focus should remain on The Chamberlains and not on you Wendy. Subject matter in jokes is often controversial. Its great you want to apologise but I think your public timing is poor and possibly self serving. I still like you though!

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      Wendy Harmer

      For the record, Siobhan.

      I wrote this yesterday, imagining I would be one of many who would apologise and certainly not for self-aggrandisement. I was prompted by the heartfelt emotion from the NT deputy Coroner, Elizabeth Thomas.
      I was surprised and somewhat embarrassed to find that I was not one of dozens to write similar… and that Lindy had heard of my effort.
      To be accused of trying to somehow “outdo” Lindy and her family on the day they have been waiting for, for 32 years?
      Whoa! That’s a doozy.
      I have since turned down dozens of “media opportunities” to say more.
      The fact that Lindy has been kind enough to accept my apology is enough.
      I never asked for the focus to be on me.
      This has all been a further lesson in what happens when things go “viral”.
      But I am glad I did write .
      To all those who have written such low, hateful things about me… the kids are coming home from school soon, my husband loves me, watching the footy tonight.
      Your impact on my world has been no bigger than a pesky mozzie bite.
      Seems to me that Lindy gets it.I am going to read her new book on “forgiveness”.That thing called Australian Women’s Wisdom? She has it.

      PS: I still like you too.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    George

    Ms Harmer, imagine the Chamberlain case today, and given all the new media around (and lots more of the old media), what kind of public mood would have confronted the Chamberlains. Its been a couple of years since I have stopped reading tabloids, watching “current today tonight affairs”, no longer watch TV News programs and have even closed down my FB account recently – just to disconnect from the noise of tainted opinion being passed over as “reporting” and “facts”. I’d much rather trawl the internet and form my own opinions than adopt the opinions of others. Is your apology an opportunity to lead the charge for a better chance for society by making sure reporting and news is just that – reporting and news and not op ed? Can we do better than just rely on Media Watch and the toothless industry bodies to expose b#@###t opinions dressed up as news? We all know that the best way to rid ourselves of this is to stop demanding it, but that’s not going to happen on its own without a revolution and revolutions need a leader. It has to be made part of our culture to question what is being shoveled down our throats, and to think Aussies claim to have pretty good b*****t radars. You just have to observe the reporting of today’s politics (and their shallow and sound bite driven excuse for deep intellectual thinking about matters of national importance) to get a sense of what the Chamberlains would have faced today. Well done on exposing yourself, I doubt many would remember your views of the time and calling it what it is and and publicly saying so. Make sure you apologise to your husband as well, it may be the only time in the history of hetrosexual relationships that a husband gets to claim he was right and his wife was wrong, albeit after a 32 year wait.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Wendy Harmer

    Thanks George… rest assured, ( been married almost 20 years) every day is “sorry”… whether we like it or not Wx

    • Reply June 13, 2012

      George Velt

      Having been a huge Wendy fan I never quite got the Lindy saga but always thought the truth will out and Wendy would in time do what she always does and that is correct a wrong openly. Great lady, fantastic comedian and best of all a great Auusie chick who has given most of us brilliant entertainment and shit loads of laughs.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Alice

    I was one who had doubts about the verdict and did not believe she or any member of her family were guilty – however there were many who did. I always felt heart sorry for Lindy, not only did she lose Azaria – but the other baby who was born whilst she was in prison was taken away from her (or so I recall). What a very sad side of society that so many wanted to blame with hate – when they knew so little. The media is not always acccurate. Good Luck Lindy and your family.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Siobhan

    I don’t recall saying anything hateful so I assume you are not referring to me. I applaud our democracy and my opportunity to speak on this forum. I equally applaud your response although I don’t necessarily agree with you on all points, especially the bit about ‘the pesky mozzie bite’. I too am off to the footy with kids and hubby. Enjoy!

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    M.

    Your words brought tears to my eyes, as did the Coroner’s summation. I wonder what this poor family would have had to deal with if the final report was still “unknown cause of death”. More pain, more jibes, more criticism, undoubtedly.

    I too was overseas when it all occurred and was sent newspaper clippings. I could not believe the cruelty and armchair analysis that went on. Scary stuff.

    Unfortunately the masses can be fools, and the lynch-mob mentality is still around, only now words are used to assassinate people’s characters. What this family has gone through, what the cruel media reports & public condemnation have done to the siblings, grandparents, aunts & uncles, and of course the parents, can only be shuddered at. Wendy you are right to take responsibility and so should every journalist, commentator, law enforcement official and individual who denigrated this long-suffering family, thereby contributing to their anguish.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    dramaqueen75

    My mother would have been so glad to see this day come. She always defended Lindy and was appalled at the way the case was handled by the tabloid media and the NT police at the time. I remember my mum getting into many heated arguments with people at barbecues and dinner parties. I was a bit too young to understand it all at the time but I remember being so proud of my own mother’s integrity and insistence that the so called “evidence” against the Chamberlains just didn’t add up.

    Wendy I applaud you on your piece. Not many people can say they were wrong – especially in a pubic forum like your own blog.

    As for the rude comments and trolls- well, it seems to me that whenever someone has something to say online it is only a matter of time before the negative trolls come out to try and stir the pot behind their virtual “identity”. They don’t deserve the time of day. There is a big difference between someone who disagrees and can sensibly explain their stance and those who chose just to be nasty and cause distress. Forget the argument of “free speech” – just delete them I say.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Norma

    I never doubted Lindy for one minute. I had read the book A Fortunete Life, a true story. Albert Facey told of dingos coming into the tents, reaching up and pulling the meat safes down, then lifting the heavy lids off to get to the meat. Taking a small baby from a tent would have been far easier.
    Lindy, and Michael, I am so happy that you have finally received justice.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Benison O'Reilly

    I never joined the chorus of condemnation against the Chamberlains but then again I don’t remember being particularly interested either way – I was a self-involved 20-something after all.
    It’s only now that the horror really strikes me. The thought of being jailed, wrongfully, for the death of your own child, while having to dealing with the loss of that child, is almost too awful to contemplate.
    Lindy was judged because of her calm demeanour; she didn’t behave the way grieving mothers were ‘supposed’ to behave. Oh, and she was that weird religion , too. Those two factors condemned her in way too many eyes.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Jennifer fisher

    I have a daughter born in 1980… I remember the anguish I felt when I heard that a dingo had taken this little babe.. Such a painful almost unbearable thing to happen to this new born. I remember holding my baby tightly and empathizing in a small way with what lindy and michael were going thru. I remember reading the sensational reporting and for a moment was swayed by the blood in the car ( which has been forensically disproved, ) but after reading the evidence became confinced beyond a shadow of a doubt of their innocence and remember being distressed and arguing till I was blue in the face with plp who did not want to hear the evidence just wanted to accept that they just knew …Dear Lindy and Michael and your children and your extended family, please accept my deepest sympathy on the loss of your baby girl all those years ago. Thank you Wendy also for your words.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Joan Woolley

    Lindy can I stand in the queque along with thousands of Aussies to say how sorry we judged you wrongly.I feel for you and your family so badly treated, I hope that your life now holds lovely times for all involved.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    kranky

    Wendy, i was 13 at the time. I remember the judgement and the jokes … even then. I was not one of those who jumped to to judge.. although many did. As an intelligent woman, you stood to gain then and now by your statements. Really i cannot forgive or forget.. Wendy, if you have become a mother this is something you should bare with a damn big lump in your throat for the duration. sorry kranky

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Gayle

    I was 7 when Azaria died and I remember the mass media hysteria and being completely baffled as to why people could not understand that a dingo had killed her. I cried when Lindy was sent to gaol. It was like people suddenly forgot that wild dogs were dangerous and not cute fluffy teddy bears that wouldn’t hurt a fly – the general public had suddenly developed the IQ of a nat.

    Sadly there are still people out there that think she did it. I was in a local shop the other day and the owner and his wife announced that the verdict was out and a dingo killed Azaria. They both stood there saying she only did it to get a massive payout from the government. It took me everything not to tell them what revolting people they are. Some people have no empathy or compassion for others and certainly no understanding of the legal system.

    Wendy, I think all that matters is you saw the truth and you are remorseful, that’s something to be proud of..

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Nelle

    My daughter is the same age as Azaria would have been. I asked me priest 30 years ago people were so awful about Lindy and is reply was “They wanted her to be guilty!” Well, there are still those bigots out there. I hope they never become parents who lose a baby. We should learn from our shame and accept Wendy’s apology with grace. thank you.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Bubbles

    Well said Wendy. I heard Lindy speak this morning on the radio and she did say that an apology has come from yourself and only one other journalist. Hopefully, you have started something ….

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Narelle Friar

    Why did it take you THIS long Wendy!!!!!!

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Dean

    You are a class act Wendy Harmer. Great piece and well done on taking the high ground against the usual online “haters”.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Joanna

    Well said Wendy. I was pregnant with my first child when the first (accurate) coroner’s report came out and I remember crying with relief. Then it all went bad.
    Because I have relatives who are devout evangelical protestants I could understand the cultural space of the Chamberlain family, and in particular the way a minister’s family has to put a positive face on all life’s adversities.
    I think the way the media hounded this family (and made up stories about them) and the way many comedians (not only you) turned them into objects of ridicule, was because the way they lived their faith was by the 1980s very much a minority way of life. It probably took them some time to realise how much of a minority they had become as they were attacked by a secular, media driven, tabloid frenzy.
    Curiously, the artist Guy Boyd (whose parents were Christian Scientists) was one of the early campaigners for justice for the Chamberlains as he knew how easy it is to misunderstand the culture of others.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Louisa

    Wendy, your apology makes me feel proud and happy in my heart to know that there are people like you who speak from the heart. What a shame the publicity has attracted so many trolls and haters.

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    milly parker

    Wendy, awesome piece, congrats to you, feel very proud knowing you. lets hope others fall in behind you. xx

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    Mal Arkey

    I just love the way the endless apologies and the “I always believed she was innocent” pious disclaimers keep coming. Where were all you good folk in the 1980′s? I repeat, I did not KNOW at the time whether Lindy was guilty or innocent, and I still do not KNOW either way, as we have a Coroner’s opinion, not a “proved beyond a reasonable doubt” situation. The likes of SUSIE, who rudely attacked me for my opinion, and later on, ludicrously stated that any opinion other than the Coroner’s was SLANDER and DEFAMATION, are typical bandwagon-jumpers who want to be seen as model citizens, meanwhile unwisely exposing their woeful ignorance of legal terms and meanings. As far as I am concerned, let the protagonists go on with their lives, and be forgotten. And may people take note that it is unsafe and ILLEGAL to leave young children unattended, whether it be in a car, house, tent or otherwise.

  • [...] This has been huge in the Australian news this week. Another worthwhile article to read is Wendy Harmer’s apology to Lindsy Chamberlain, for using her tradgey as comedy [...]

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    Geoffrey

    Wendy, I’ve never been much of a fan of your comedy (no big deal, just personal preference – you probably wouldn’t laugh at my jokes either). But I have a lot of respect for what you did here.

    I don’t think it’s always wrong to tell jokes about suffering – humour is one of the ways we cope with horrible things – but what happened to the Chamberlains was more than one tragedy.

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    Annie Also

    I was a mother of two children and about to become pregnant with my third when all this happened ( in my 20′s). The lady across the road was a 7th Day Adventist and we had had a few chats about nothing in particular then I decided to bite the bullet and ask her about what she and her church thought. I knew nothing about ‘native dogs’ then.
    I took her lead.
    Even though an atheist I listened and learnt about the vilification some in her church faced on a weekly basis.
    I THEN watched and sort information from the media. They were awful, nasty, thoughtless, misguided pieces.
    I imagined what it would have been like.
    I decided I would keep my own counsel and not believe the sensationalist hating side.
    From then on I learned never ever to believe the media….on personal attacks and things that need lawful and/or scientific knowledge on (more recently eg Craig Thomson and even the hated vitriol of those who worked with/for Kevin Rudd).
    Thank you Wendy for showing us all how it is possible to be an emotionally intelligent and caring public profile person and how it is possible to behave with graciousness.
    You have restored my hope that all is not lost in our narcissistic Australian whinging persona that has developed over the past 30 years.

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    Dion

    Ms Harmer, my respect for you has been amended arising from this courageous mea culpa. These events have long highlighted one of the darker aspects of the Australian psyche. Like your husband I was/am a ‘contrarian’ in this matter, confirmed in my instinct on the dingo’s guilt by my reading of John Bryson’s seminal work on the topic. I am touched and pleased the Chamberlains have finally received the formal acknowledgement and documentation they needed to put at least a part of their trauma to rest.

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    MidnightBlue

    Court decision or no court decision, I was raised around wild Dingoes and I will never believe that it was a Dingo. Although I was still very young, I also saw the initial interviews with the woman and her husband, and I found her to present as anything but a genuinely distressed mother, as did tens of thousands of other Australians who were the primary cause of the police investigation. Remember the thousands of phone calls demanding an investigation? There is also the recent claim by one of the police officers involved that there was definitely human intervention.

    The court decision has done nothing to change my mind.

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    Gillian

    I’m glad I never bought the line that Lindy killed Azaria. I never bought it. I remember reading early on that local Aborigines accepted it was likely, and a guy in Victoria who kept dingos demonstrated that their jaws were wide enough. That early information about the views of people who actually knew dingos first hand made me sceptical about the ‘evidence’ of all those experts who knew little about the actual animals.

    So what if Lindy was unforthcoming to the TV cameras? I would be too.

    It turned out to be an ugly witch hunt of a family, who, horror of horrors! were vegetarian. The media behaved badly and the thousands who whipped themselves up in a frenzy of discrimination behaved appallingly.

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    shelley

    What a great culture Australia had back then! I agree with so many of these writers, Wendy, how this action shows a great deal of integrity and kindness and humility. We need more of this and you have set a great example. Anyone too young to remember, watch the Fred Schepisi film “A Cry in the Wilderness’ (Oz title is?) which portrays the dinner parties etc. and opinions gone wild. It was all so ignorant and naive. So thanks Wendy and a Big Hooray for Lindy and Michael and their perserverence. x

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    Louise

    Back to NOW
    Lindy has finally had her day in court
    Irrevocably exonerated
    She is a strong lady
    She doesn’t need our apologies… the thought just makes US feel good.
    And I bet you don’t know this… she loves a good dingo joke….

    • Reply June 16, 2012

      Mal Arkey

      Right, you’re a close friend of Lindy, I bet. And after her loss, problems and suffering, she “enjoys a good dingo joke”? You are asking people to believe that? If it were true (which I doubt) she would be very strange indeed.

  • Reply June 14, 2012

    VNP

    Thank you Wendy for your courage. I am glad that the truth has finally prevailed. I always thought people expected Lindy to behave like someone in a soap opera, who has to cry outwardly so we know they are sad. Her behaviour always seemed to me to be consistent with that of someone living through their worst nightmare.. At least some people may have learned to be slow to judge others.

  • Reply June 15, 2012

    Tess

    So Wendy, when can we expect to see letters of apology to all the other people you have ridiculed over the years before you developed a conscience, or aren’t they newsworthy enough for you yet, as I stated before this all could have been done years ago and in private, this is about the Chamberlains not you and your ego.

  • Reply June 16, 2012

    Shona

    Thank God the bulls#it is over for this family, Lindy must be one STRONG woman to undergo all she has and survive it. I was a kid when all this went down, the oldest of 4 I remember looking at my brother as a baby and thinking’Theres no way a mother could kill her child’ I knew in my heart it was wrong and have shed a tear for the years of misery that family went through. I LEARNT EARLY DO NOT JUDGE, I hope I am passing that on to my kids as they now step out into the big wide world, another thing I hope my children get is saying SORRY only means something if you are never going to do the thing you are sorry for ever again, words mean nothing actions are the real deal…… I hope the Chamberlains can somehow live a life where theres some happiness and joy because what pathetically passes for law here in Australia and what the media and the majority of the population at the time put her through is WRONG, I would say compensate them, but how? How can you compensate a family who lost one of their own, their dignity, their time and their god given right to be the family they were ment to be… FOR SHAME I DO HOPE WE HAVE LEARNT FROM THIS, BUT THEN I HIGHLY DOUBT IT.

  • Reply June 16, 2012

    Sere

    I have felt deeply for the injustice, and the immense pain that resulted from this TERRIBLE INJUSTICE experienced by the WHOLE Chamberlain family. The ripple effect of pain such as this is so intricate, incomprehensible and impossible to describe.
    I do believe that ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’. This was very likely a cover up to protect the tourist industry. In other words to deny that the dingo did it in order for the Northern Territory tourist industry to continue making as much money as possible. The people concerned with losing money didn’t care who suffered or how much they suffered. They used anyone who would help with their concocted ‘murder’ story. They had a lot of the media doing their job for them, and also anyone in the Australian public who would fight against or speak against the dingo story.
    They got what they wanted because after all the rubbish that was published in the media and all the comments passing around, a lot of people were unsure about what happened, and I don’t think it would have effected the tourist industry very much at all.
    They can afford to declare Lindy innocent now because with the lie being thrown around for so long the truth will not have the same effect on the tourist industry today and it is a different generation now.
    Also people need to check their facts, especially people in the media who can create such prejudices with the things that they write.For example, even one small part of the reporting which was about the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I have been to some services and they are a Christian based faith church who have services on a Saturday and promote healthy living, for example eating wholefoods and a lot more fruit and vegetables, which is a REALLY good thing. HELLO!
    I am SO happy that the Chamberlains have been acknowledged. Whenever TRUTH is said it is a GOOD THING. SUCH DIGNITY THEY HAVE SHOWN!
    MAY GOD BLESS THEM.

  • Reply June 17, 2012

    Lulu

    Thank you Wendy. You have put in public an apology many of us would want to say loud and clear for Lindy and the rest of Oz to hear.

  • [...] AZARIA. WHAT WAS I THINKING? [...]

  • Reply June 24, 2012

    Tulie

    The enormity of the Chamberlain experience is such that it is difficult to even raise the reality that the issues behind the unforgivable cruelty and injustices of this family’s experiences are now able to be forgotten by us, the public. It was not simply about protecting the NT tourist industry, it was about the readiness of our Australian culture to villify motherhood and to demean the value of one beautiful baby girl in the name of an unhealthy fascination for, and an unholy protection of, Australia’s first feral animal – the dingo. Despite many millions of dollars being spent on ‘objective’ dingo research it remains unclear just what this vicious animal really is. But it is protected anyway, and there are now more of them than ever before , tearing wildlife, domestic stock and occasionally human beings to pieces. Hundreds of farming families have lost homes and livlihoods across Australia to this uncontrolled monster and with such an irony, authorities responsible for their management restrict evidence of this destruction to ‘objective’ material only – how many dead sheep/calves? How many maimed? How many dollars lost to the wool industry, the beef industry? Lindy was condemned because she somehow had the courage to put on a brave face, then and now, while other Australians impacted in different ways by the dingo, are condemned if they are emotional about their losses. Thanks to Lindy’s bravery, people like me keep up the long and thankless battle to see justice for other Australians who have and continue to suffer from this reckless and unbelievable Australian obsession about this dog which at best is only a hybrid something, somewhere between part wolf and part domesticated mut.

    • Reply June 28, 2012

      Mal Arkey

      What a brainless rant from Tulie. A dingo is not a “feral” animal – go find out what the word means, you idiot. Calling it an “uncontrolled monster” is an indication of your lack of knowledge about this animal, and total inexperience. Didn’t you just state it is protected? Furthermore, ALL dogs are descended from wolves, no matter what they look like now. As for your statement about “hundreds of farming families have lost homes and livelihoods”, quote your figures, please. You are just full of hate, and I bet it’s not only towards dingoes…

  • Reply June 24, 2012

    Tulie

    Oh and one more thing – its easy to blame the journos or someone else but the truth is their stories would have dried up pretty quickly if so many Australians didn’t really believe in a “fair go” for all. Lets put responsibility for this unbelievable 32 year injustice precisely where it belongs – with the Australian public who villified, were fascinated by the story or simply did not do everything in their power to fight this inhumane saga. Good for Wendy whose honesty may be belated but at least it is public and honest. And God bless Lindy for her extraordinary faith and resilience.

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