Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Dingo Support Mail Mysteriously Disappears

What was afoot following the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain? Was someone trying to prevent Berenice’s campaign to prove the innocence of the Dingo?

This article is not intended to resurrect arguments about the disappearance of a baby girl at Ayers Rock (Uluru) in 1980 but it seems there was certainly an effort to quieten those supporting the Dingo.

On the 11 February 1981 Berenice posted a lengthy report questioning claims made about a Dingo being responsible for the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain.

It was sent by Registered Mail from Picton Post Office to Mr Ashley Macknay, Crown Law Officer, at the court house, Alice Springs.

No receipt was received, and nor any mention of it, or any of the material it contained.

Berenice believed a great injustice had been done to the Dingo, and many claims against it, and accepted as evidence, were, at best, highly questionable.

She was horrified when the verdict was handed down.  Was it the end? She told a reporter this was only the beginning.

Many people were sickened at the lack of support for the Dingo.  It appeared only evidence supporting claims a Dingo was guilty were accepted as evidence. 

A copy of the submission was sent to Mr Paul Everingham, Chief Administrator of the Northern Territory, advising no acknowledgment or receipt of the report sent to the Coroner had been received. While Berenice did not think anything she said would change the course of justice, she believed the Dingo had been unnecessarily persecuted.

Mr Everingham acknowledged receipt of her letter and copy of the report but there was still no indication if her report had been considered. In a follow up letter to Mr Everingham she requested permission to release the contents of her report.

It was October when he advised her letter was “under detailed examination” and he would write to her as soon as possible.

It was a further two weeks when he advised there was NO RECORD of his office receiving the report forwarded in March and he had NO KNOWLEDGE of its contents whatever. He added, “the transcript of the Azaria Chamberlain Inquest held at Alice Springs does not contain or even mention the report.  I can only conclude the Coroner has not made official use of your paper.” He added he could not comment on her request to release the document and suggested she contact the Coroner to take the matter further.

The months of anguish Berenice had suffered preparing the document in defence of the Dingo, and all to no apparent avail, made her feel sick particularly when she thought of the garbage accepted as evidence against the Dingo.

To prove to herself the packet had been received by the court she completed a Statutory Declaration with Australia Post, stating it was sent by Registered Post but apparently not received.

On the 16th November 1981 she received advice from Picton Post office the package had arrived in Alice Springs on the 13th February 1981. It had been delivered on the 16th February 1981 and signed for by a member of the Law Court Staff authorised to collect mail.

This was not the only parcel with strange outcomes.  During this time, the society had car stickers printed with the words ACQUIT THE DINGO.

An order containing t-shirts, souvenirs and a quantity of the stickers was mailed to a Perth Pet Shop. It arrived at its destination minus the stickers.  Initially Berenice thought she omitted putting them in the parcel and included a supply with the following order.  Again, the parcel arrived, minus the stickers.  She later discovered both parcels had been opened in transit.

Through the Society’s Patron, Senator Tony Mulvihill, she notified then Minister for Telecommunications, Ian Sinclair, of the losses. Within four days all stickers were accounted for and sent on to the Pet Shop.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The Truth About Dingoes 14: Culling Dingoes

So we cull kangaroos, rabbits and other animals because some say there are too many of them.

But we also cull their natural predators, dingoes.

It makes no sense!

What happens with 1080* poison baiting is there is an impact of social organisation of the dingoes. When you disrupt pack structure you create a dispersal sink. You have young dispersing dingoes from usually pups from the previous year coming into that area and they don't have the pack size or the hunting experience to be able to handle larger prey, and so they are then left with the problem of how to feed themselves.

In other words, if you kill the older more experienced dingoes by poisoning them, a few weeks later when the poisons gone, young inexperienced dingoes can flood into the territory.

It's basically getting a whole bunch of young teenagers together and they just get up to all sorts of strife, and that's when they start chasing calves and sheep and tearing the ears and they get stuck into them.

Protecting dingoes is a powerful panacea for Australia's biodiversity crisis. Dingo sociality is an important factor contributing to top-down regulation potential, it's the pack-not the individual-that's functionally the apex predator.

Relaxation of 1080 control allows dingo populations to recover, leading to population control of mesopredators and generalist herbivores and an increase in small mammals. Sites that have been freed from predator control over an extended period of time continues to improve in the absence of human intervention.

* 1080 is recommended by state governments as the most effective and humane bait for dingoes and wild dogs....Humane? Seriously! Clearly a bullet to the brain is more humane than dying a slow horrible death!!

Information reproduced with permission from

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Can You Beat This?

From Berenice’s Desk July 1980

Some weeks ago, a grazier from the Southern Tablelands rang requesting the services of one of our dogs for his sheepdog bitch which was ready for mating.

Totally forgetting about the Dingoes for the moment, I asked him why he would want to mate a sheep dog to a cattle dog.

I don't want one of those bloody things said. “I want the service of one of the other dogs. I had a part dingo sheepdog years ago and she was best worker I've ever had.”

Even after being informed our Dingoes are not used for outside services, and under no circumstances for cross-breeding, he persisted, even suggesting he bring the bitch down and leave so there would be no witness to such a mating.


Even at that time, when keeping a dingo was illegal and many domestic cross bred dogs suspected (without proof) of being part dingo were destroyed, no questions asked, Berenice was disconcerted by the number of people wanting to “infuse dingo” into their registered breeds. She commented if they were to think of the off-spring as cross-breeds they would not be so keen to make a mockery of breeding pure stock.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Dingo and the Log

 What's that?
 I'll take a closer look
Doesn't look or smell like a Dingo
Take that!

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A Fair Go for Our Dingo by Berenice Walters

Berenice Walters wrote this about the Dingo over 30 years ago.
The Dingo:
a) was the domestic animal of the Aboriginal Australians that arrived in Australia at least 8000 years ago, possibly much longer.
b) is highly intelligent, strongly individualistic, territorial, affectionate, but cautious and sensitive.
c) makes delightful companion in the family environment, but dedication to its welfare and training is essential, and a lifetime commitment.
d) is always a ‘free spirit’, the Dingo is never slavishly obedient. It is cat-like in its aloofness.
e) has been culled by nature to survive in the wild, shy and easily panicked, the Dingo is not a suitable breed for the average dog owner.
f)  is a medium built, elegant and active dog. What it lacks in strength and aggressiveness, it makes up for in skilfulness, and strong reasoning powers.
g) responds well to kindness, patience and gentle but firm handling.
h) seldom barks but has a wide range of vocal sounds varying from the pleasurable high-pitched yodel to the low crow, the ‘talk', yap, affectionate purr, and expressive howls. Senses of sight; scent and hearing are highly developed
i)  is an interesting and integral part of our wildlife, and priceless part of our National Heritage; its diet overwhelmingly favours available native game - a natural control agent in the wilderness areas.