You’ve probably heard the phrase “maybe a dingo ate your baby” uttered in a television show or movie. The most well-known example is an episode of Seinfeld called “The Stranded.” In it, Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is stuck at a party speaking with a woman who is overusing the word fiancé. At one point, the woman says, “I seem to have lost my fiancé, the poor baby,” to which Elaine replies in an exaggerated Australian accent, “Maybe the dingo ate your baby.”
There are countless other examples of this that you probably haven’t even clocked. Anyone remember Oz (Seth Green) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s band Dingoes Ate My Baby? What you might not know is this phrase was born from a deeply sad story about a woman in Australia who stood trial for the murder of her 9-week-old baby. What happened to Lindy Chamberlain’s baby?
In August 1980, the Chamberlains went on a camping trip to Uluru in Australia. At this time, the family consisted of Lindy and her husband, Michael, who was an Adventist pastor, and their children, Aiden (age 7), Reagan (age 4), and Azaria (9 weeks). In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Michael said Lindy wanted to go because “she had been to Uluru before … and wanted to go again.” He went on to say, “We arrived on the Saturday, Aug. 16, and Azaria was taken the following night.”
When Lindy reported Azaria’s disappearance from their tent to the police, she stated that a dingo took her. At this point, a huge search was organized, but the only thing they found was Azaria’s jumpsuit. Lindy reported Azaria was also wearing a matinee jacket, aka a cardigan, but it was never found. About a week later, the jumpsuit she had been wearing at the time she went missing was found two and a half miles away, with bloodstains around the neck. This was consistent with Lindy’s story about the dingo.
While dingo attacks on humans are rare, they certainly aren’t impossible. In an interview withPerthNow, Zoology Professor Mark Elgar said, “Dingoes could prey on relatively large animals, like wallabies, not just small creatures like rats.” He referenced an event on Fraser Island in Australia in 2001 when a 9-year-old boy was fatally mauled by a dingo.
“If they feel threatened or trapped they can become belligerent and… Brinkwire short summary.