Friday, June 8, 2012


Some of the items issued in the battle to save the Chamberlains .
With the Chamberlain coronial inquiry finding imminent, Little Darwin continues its special series about the case which attracted worldwide attention. Throughout the saga, Chamberlain support groups sprang up in all states, the ACT, NT and NZ, and issued a range of publications - booklets, fact sheets , newsletters , audio and video cassettes , poems and eventually books .

One of the organisations that campaigned hard to clear the Chamberlains of any involvement in the disappearance and death of their daughter , Azaria, at Ayers Rock , on August 17, 1980, was the Chamberlain Information Service, based at Cooranbong, NSW. It produced the AZARIA NEWSLETTER, above , edited by Nonie Hodgson, like the Chamberlains of the Seventh Day Adventist faith, which offered an assortment of items for sale to defray the cost of production and campaigning.

An item sold through the newsletter was a 90 minute cassette, Trial Witnesses Speak Out , produced by the Queensland Plea for Justice, 1984, duplicated by Calvary Communications ,Geebung, Victoria. Side one- A DINGO GOT MY BABY- contained the voices of many eye witnesses at Ayers Rock and a statement by the president of the Dingo Foundation . Side two-MALICE IN BLUNDERLAND –presented a quote from Alice Coroner Barritt, said to have been unacceptable to NT police and some other experts involved in the case. There was even a poem written for " Lindy" by Josephine Stuart put to music and heard on the tape.

The October 8, 1988 issue of RECORD, official journal of the Seventh Day Adventist Church,South Pacific Division, carried the heading THE CHAMBERLAINS CLEARED : A time to rejoice and reflect. In a thoughtful, well-written article by the associate editor, Gary Krause, he reflected on the church's image in the nation and how some were prepared to think the worst of people. He mentioned the Azaria Newsletter ..."Solomon once said that there's a time to weep, and a time to laugh. Now's the time to laugh. It's a time of rejoicing for the Chamberlains and their supporters. 'It's a great relief,' says Nonie Hodgson, editor of Azaria Newsletter. And it has been a long battle for her and other Chamberlain supporters . Nonie has been involved in the fight since the second inquest. 'I'll probably need to do only one more issue of the newsletter. But I always told myself that I'd do the newsletter until Lindy was exonerated -so that I could actually print that in the newsletter ,'she says , laughing. The right thing has finally been done. '"

Darwin agronomist , Rob Wesley-Smith , who campaigned strongly for the Chamberlains and forthrightly discussed their plight with NT politician, Bob Collins , maintained a “ LINDY” file throughout the case and gave Little Darwin access to its interesting content. Some of the items come under the heading of ephemera, small printed paper,and included copies of the Azaria Newsletter. The National Library of Australia in Canberra has an extensive Chamberlain collection. NEXT : Did the Chamberlain case assist former NT Chief Minister , Paul Everingham, oust Labor MHR John Reeves ?