The dingo didn’t get this Torana

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Ayers Rock sign (large)

CANBERRA’S National Museum of Australia has acquired the 1977 model yellow hatchback V8 Torana, which was central to the conviction and ultimate exoneration of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, over the 1980 disappearance of their daughter, Azaria.

Wikipedia has a lengthy piece on the case for those who have come in late.

The story inspired a 1988 hollywood blockbuster starring Meryl Streep.

“Because I love this car, it is with some sorrow that I am releasing it to the National Museum but I also take comfort from the decision, because I know the Museum will take better care of the vehicle than I can. It will survive not just as an example of a total forensics failure, but ultimately as a symbol of the triumph of Australian justice,” said Michael Chamberlain.

National Museum senior curator Sophie Jensen said that, “the Torana is an important addition to the Museum’s National Historical Collection which will help future generations understand this important and tragic episode in Australian legal history”.

The dismantled car was held by Northern Territory authorities until 1990 when it was returned to Michael Chamberlain, who restored it. The National Museum acquisition also includes Dr Chamberlain’s Bible, his running shoes worn at Ayer’s Rock , clothing and photographs.

[Photo: Lindy Chamberlain holding Azaria Chamberlain, with Aidan and Reagan Chamberlain, standing on Stuart Highway with sign to ‘Ayers Rock’, alongside their Torana, 16 August, 1980. Photo by Dr Michael Chamberlain]

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1 COMMENT

  1. Trial by media took on a whole new meaning with the disgraceful spreading of unsubstantiated rumours by the press in those days. Like the claim that the name “Azaria” means sacrifice. Did any journalist bother to actually look up what the name actually meant? Probably not, and any that did, didn’t bother to correct it because the rumour was more sensational. It was an early sign of things to come in future journalism and media. That 7th Day Adventists were a cult? Adventists aren’t supposed to even drink coffee. They certainly don’t drink alcohol. They are more pious than your average anglican or catholic and are nowhere near as fanatical as jehovah’s witnesses which engage in cult like practices such as shunning.

    What was important to the press was drama, a good story, who cares about facts when fake news sells more papers and gets more ad dollars.

    The Chamberlain case is a blight on the Australian justice system and the media of the time and the more items in museums that serve as a reminder the better.

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