Letters to Lindy @ The PlayhouseShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
Azaria Chamberlain’s disappearance on 17 August 1980 is still a polarising chapter in our history. How did the police investigators, legal brains and a toxic media get it so wrong. And as a community what will it take to right the wrong that has been for the Chamberlain family decades of heartbreak.
I still remember a moment that cemented my belief that there was not a scintilla of evidence to convict Lindy Chamberlain of being involved in the death of baby Azaria and it involved a discussion with a member of the NT Police Force. But also seeing the dainty black baby’s dress with red ribbon and button trim, matching pants and red bootees now in the collection of the National Museum of Australia that caused so much comment in the media and drew all the wrong conclusions. It was beautiful. Made for her big brother Aiden and indicative of Lindy’s sewing talent.
And now 36 years after the disappearance of Azaria, Letters to Lindy, a play written by Alana Valentine from a treasure trove of 20,000 letters held by the National Library of Australia, gives us an entirely different perspective of the vitriol, the witch hunt, flaws in the legal system and the heartache suffered by Lindy and her family.
Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton attended the Canberra opening night at The Playhouse and what a delight to get to talk to her. We talked kids, grandkids and false fingernails. Made mention of the old boys of the media who did try to get the story right and we told her how much we loved the play and she filled us in on some of the finer points. And with a best friend from her teenage days along to keep her company we talked of his singing career and how much pleasure he still gets from singing. She travels a lot. Enjoys talking to groups and has found a way to cope; her way.
You have to wonder how the disappearance of Azaria should have been handled. We got it so wrong in so many ways and now on the 36th anniversary of this tragedy, this well crafted play, beautifully written and finding the full gamut of emotions the disappearance of Azaria caused, presents just a small part of what we need to know to resolve the dilemmas that still cause disagreement.