A life interrupted: Michael Chamberlain dies after decades fighting injustice
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A life interrupted: Michael Chamberlain dies after decades fighting injustice

MICHAEL Chamberlain, father of baby Azaria who was taken by a dingo at Uluru in 1980, died at Gosford Hospital on Jan 9, aged 72, from complications due to leukemia.

While Chamberlain was also a pastor, academic and author in his many faceted career, and therefore a lot more than just the father of Azaria, it is probably for this he will remain most remembered.

Australia’s most sensational case was also one of the worst miscarriages of justice. For the horrific truth of this man’s interrupted life was that the case into Azaria’s death was only closed by a coroner in 2012… three decades after her disappearance.

While the story of dingo taking a baby from a family tent made headlines around the world, it would take 32 years for Chamberlain and his ex-wife Lindy to be completely exonerated of their daughter’s death.

During that time there were four inquests, a trial in which they were convicted (Lindy with murder and Michael for being an accessory after the fact), jail time, a pardon and finally exoneration when the case was closed and the coroner finally ruled a dingo had taken and killed Azaria.

SEE ALSO: Aussie coroner agrees dingo took baby in 1980 case

The suffering and heartache took an enormous toll on the Chamberlains who divorced in 1991.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Chamberlain as saying later: “I could not see it but there was a lot of unhappiness. We can theorise whether things would have been different had all this not occurred. We would not have had the same pressures.”

In July last year according to News.com.au, he disagreed with his wife’s perspectives on their marriage, which he said had once been “wonderful”, and her comments she could not forgive him or those that had convicted her of Azaria’s murder.

“It’s two different perspectives. I’ve moved on,” he said.

“I don’t agree with her. I never have. If she wants to she can talk to me personally or privately but she’s never done that.

“I’ve got nothing against her and welcome a chat. I wish her well in any path she chooses to follow.”

He said of her book, Through My Eyes, “She was focused on a few things that were not appropriate.”

While Chamberlain told News.com.au last year, “My life – I don’t wish it on anyone”, he made numerous contributions in the aftermath of Azaria’s death. Chamberlain wrote three books, completed a PhD, became a teacher and worked three years in an indigenous high school, ran as Liberal party candidate for the New South Wales Parliament in 2003, and was appointed a conjoint professor at the School of Education at the University of Newcastle. He also remarried, however his second wife Ingrid had a stroke in 2011 and Chamberlain became her full time carer and advocated for others in his position.

(File) Chamberlain (right) and Lindy launched their book on Azaria’s disappearance in 1980. Source: AP.

News.com.au offered some of the comments family and associates have made since Chamberlain’s death:

Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton:

“I am on my way today to support and be with our children. Given Michael’s death was unexpected, I would ask that the media please consider that Michael’s wife and all of his children are deeply grieving and need some space.”

Pastor Justin Lawman of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in northern NSW:

“I had the pleasure of working with him in connection with a number of projects and appreciated his insight and passion. Michael was a real advocate for the rights of the local people. He will be deeply missed.”

Actor Sam Neill, who played Michael Chamberlain in the 1988 movie Evil Angels: