A dingo took the baby

It's unusual to see office workers in Sydney gawking at TVs during their morning coffee break. There's no sport on then. But on Tuesday morning, it wasn't sport Australians were interested in. It was the words of a coroner, in Darwin. Her words were - in theory - the last words the <a href

by

    It's unusual to see office workers in Sydney gawking at TVs during their morning coffee break. There's no sport on then. But on Tuesday morning, it wasn't sport Australians were interested in. It was the words of a coroner, in Darwin.

    Her words were - in theory - the last words the definitive conclusion to a saga that transfixed a nation for more than 30 years. A dingo DID kill Michael and Lindy Chamberlain's baby.

    What was it about the case that made it as iconic for Australians as their Sydney’s Harbour Bridge?

    Partly, it was the setting - in the shadow of Uluru, the rugged Outback heart of the nation. It was a mystery set in a place most Australians revere but rarely visit.

    Then the cast of characters: a pretty young mother with a strange religion, who didn't seem to care enough nor cry in front of the TV cameras. And the elusive dingo – an iconic Australian animal, but not one thought, in 1980, to attack unprovoked.

    Most countries gather a few "did they/didn't they?" stories that become part of the national narrative, that lodge in the collective consciousness. At home, they become conversation-starters with strangers to people abroad, they are a little of what people know about your country.

    Perhaps America’s most famous was the saga of OJ Simpson. Britain’s include the disappearances of Lord Lucan and, more recently, Madeleine McCann. The "dingo baby" was Australia’s. This coronal inquiry was almost certainly its final chapter. Those office workers gawking at their TV sets were watching a little bit of their national history conclude.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR



    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?