Dingo Attack!…Friday Fictioneers.

Perched on top of the ridge, the dingo pack was salivating.

“Fi fy fo fum  I smell …” Papa Dingo paused for dramatic effect. ”Lamb chops infused with  rosemary and mustard.”

“Gourmet tonight!” Mama Dingo replied.

“All systems go.” The dingos howled. Right on cue, the humans were zipped inside the tent.

In a flash, the lamb chops were gone.

“Dingos??!!!!” Sally screamed.” When I agreed to go camping, you said NOTHING about dingoes! How are we going to see that “magical night sky” now?”

Suddenly, Jack remembered dinner.

“OMG, the dingoes got our lamb chops.“

“And my Nikon camera!…HOTEL NOW!”


This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields. PHOTO PROMPT© Jan Wayne Fields.

It’s very late here and I plan to come back and polish this tomorrow. Although the tent in the photo prompt this week is quite modern, I was reminded of the tragic case of baby Azaria Chamberlain who was taken from her family’s tent in 1980 while they were camping at Ayer’s Rock or Uluru. This was one of the most debated and controversial court cases in Australian history.

Azaria Chamberlain (11 June 1980 – 17 August 1980) was an Australian 2-month-old baby girl who was killed by a dingo on the night of 17 August 1980 on a family camping trip to Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory. Her body was never found. Her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, reported that she had been taken from their tent by a dingo. Lindy Chamberlain was, however, tried for murder and spent more than three years in prison. She was released when a piece of Azaria’s clothing was found near a dingo lair, and new inquests were opened. In 2012, some 32 years after Azaria’s death, the Chamberlains’ version of events was officially supported by a coroner.Wikipaedia

I was 11 when Azaria Chamberlain was taken. Everyone not only talked about the case, but debated and had a stance and Lindy Chamberlain was vilified. I also remember jokes going round school at the time. Racist jokes were equally popular back then so there wasn’t alot of consideration on many, many fronts.

Dingoes, which had seemingly passed under the radar, were also vivified and would’ve starred in “Australia’s Most Wanted”.

The difficulty is that humans and dingoes in Australia have been co-existing for thousands of years and dingoes are Australian natives.

Here’s a bit more about the dingoes:

“Dingoes know that humans are an easy way to get food, and you will often see a dingo watching fishermen, and waiting for free fish. Dingoes also occasionally tour through campsites and sit of the periphery of a camp, watching and waiting for an opportunity to be given some free food or to find some left over scraps. In most cases dingoes simply sit back beyond the light of the camp and watch. If a dingo chooses to sit near you feel very honoured and enjoy its company but do not try to approach the animal, and don’t try to lure it with food. Dingoes do not like to be patted so please never reach out you hand to pat them, especially over their head. This is seen by dingoes as predatorial behaviour and very threatening.

Dingoes are shameless thieves, and will take any opportunity to steal whatever they can from you. This is not because the item has your scent on it and they see it as a food item, it is because they love to play with whatever new and novel item they can find. Do not leave your thongs outside your tent, or leave anything out of your vehicle that you can’t afford to have stolen. This obviously includes food, but also includes sleeping mattresses, which they love to tear up into small pieces, and anything else you own including expensive camera equipment!”

Save Fraser Island Dingoes

Hope you’ve enjoyed something of a trip to Australia this week.

xx Rowena

34 thoughts on “Dingo Attack!…Friday Fictioneers.

  1. Tails Around the Ranch

    I vividly recall the press in the states. I couldn’t decide if the mom had a role in the disappearance of the baby or not, but thought, who takes a new baby camping and how is it possible for ‘dogs’ to be involved? Yes, I was a little naive back then about this international story and many other things. I cannot imagine the pain and suffering the parents experienced, first losing their child and then being vilified by the world. I hope their lives have made a turn for the better. Thanks for sharing this sliver of life in Australia. Fascinating stuff and a charming story penned before the ‘history lesson.’

  2. Dale

    Dingoes… don’t be fooled by their dog-like appearance; though I know a dog or two to have stolen food of our counters…
    I vaguely remember that story when it happened as well!

  3. Moon

    The lamb chop story was amusing , a contrast to the tragic Azaria story .
    Breaks my heart to think about a two month old missing , like that .
    Thanks for sharing the stories , Rowena .
    I would remember to beware of Dingoes
    , if I ever visit Australia.

  4. Jelli

    Sorry, I found that tale quite funny. 🙂 Enjoyed it to the extreme. Hereabouts, it would have been coyotes, but the concept is the same. giggles.

  5. Lynn Love

    Yes, lots of people out there hate camping! I remember the case clearly – I was the same age as you at the time Rowena. The news coverage was definitely anti Lindy – I think the press had made their minds up before the real details came out. The story seems extraordinary, but a few years ago here in the UK a red fox went into a family home and dragged a small baby from its cot. Fortunately the mother saved the child, but only after a fight and only after both she and the baby sustained some nasty injuries. These events are rare but can happen where man lives so closely with wild animals.

  6. Rowena Post author

    I’m only just starting to get through the list. Our daughter had two days and nights of performances this week and so I’ve either been flatout driving and watching or asleep catching up. The performances were excellent and I joked to my husband that this was “date night”.
    Hope you’ve had a great week.
    xx Rowena

  7. Rowena Post author

    You were quite within your rights to laugh at that. No apology required. I think I would’ve been hiding in the tent if I’d heard dingos. They could take the food. Just leave me alone!

  8. Miles Rost

    Australia: Where everything there either wants to kill you, eat you, or eat your things. Well done on reminding me about why I wanna go back to Australia.

  9. gahlearner

    I loved the story, it was hilarious. I was in New Zealand for some time in the late eighties and heard about that tragical case, I didn’t read anything about it in the german papers earlier. It’s the same everywhere I suppose. When wildlife gets attracted to people places by being fed, or finding edibles or people getting too close–tragical events happen. I was sorry for that family, I hope they have a better life now.

  10. Mrs. Completely

    I always marvel at the false security of a tent. I grew up in Bear country and a tent is little defense. They should be glad the dingos were satisfied with only the lamb. :o) Great story.

  11. Christine Goodnough

    Thanks for the mini-Aussie-wildlife education. It would be much the same hereabouts. You’re probably same, but never can be sure.
    I saw a mule deer with her fawn out in our front lawn a week ago when I went out for a walk. Our Siamese was out, too, and the doe saw him skulking in the shrubs.
    Never mind his small size, she chased him and he ran up on the step where I was standing. The doe stood about 5m away and we eyed each other curiously, but I wouldn’t want to get close to her baby and feel those sharp hooves pounding me!
    Great take on the prompt. Seems we don’t have a lot of avid campers in FF.😃

  12. Rowena Post author

    Apparently, dingos love to play with anything new. Leave a mattress outside and they’ll rip it to shreds like many young dogs. They apparently also run off with camera bags and equipment. I learned quite a lot researching this story. Thanks for reading and popping by xx Rowena

  13. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much for sharing your touching and funny story and the doe and your cat. Sounds like your cat will be keeping a low profile with his cat mates after that act of cowardice, which to us humans is more than justified.
    I haven’t been camping often enough to really know how I feel about it. My kids have done quite a lot of camping with scouts and I’d feel more comfortable going with them and my husband who know what they’re doing. While the kids are hooked on their electronics, they are used to going camping without them. I do remember going camping out on the Nullarbour Plain between Adelaide and Perth and needing to exit the tent to go to the toilet during the night. I can still feel the cold. Even though it was Spring, I had this idea that the desert was hot, when it can also be very cold…a place of extremes.

  14. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much. Yes, I’d imagine that a tent wouldn’t be much of a defence against a bear. The bears look so sweet on TV and growing up with teddy bears etc it’s easy to forget from this distance and no experience of living with bears, just how dangerous they can be.

  15. Rowena Post author

    It certainly had a huge impact on the Chamberlain family. The parent split up and remarried. Michael Chamberlain has passed away and I hope the rest of the children have been left in peace. I just did a quick Google search and it turned out that Michael Chamberlain’s second wife suffered a massive stroke and he was her full-time carer for 5 years before he died. Said he wouldn’t wish his life upon anybody.

  16. Sascha Darlington

    I’m very impressed that the dingo would steal a Nikon. Those shutterbugs!
    Good story, Rowena.
    And, thanks for the background on dingoes. I’m not surprised about the patting. Primates are the only species that pats or pets. Domesticated dogs put up with it, but only because they seem to have to.

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  18. Rowena Post author

    Hi Sascha,
    The dingo facts were put together on the run but I am amazed at how much I learn through blogging both in terms of writing my own posts and reading others’.
    Thinking about my own dog, she is very food focused and keeps to herself unless there’s food around or a trip in the car. She’s also very friendly when you arrive home. Wags her tail like crazy.
    Hope you have a great week.
    xx Rowena

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