The Archival Turn in Law: The papers of Lindy Chamberlain in the National Library of Australia

Sydney Law School
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The Sydney Law Review, 2017, 39 (3), pp. 277 - 301
Issue Date:
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Lindy Chamberlain is the victim of Australia’s most notorious miscarriage of justice; in 1982 she was wrongly convicted of the murder of her baby daughter, Azaria. In the decades following her exoneration, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, as she is now known, came to an arrangement with the National Library of Australia to care for the papers she had accumulated as a result of her daughter’s death and the legal processes that followed. This article examines the ‘Chamberlain Papers’ through the lens of materiality and scholarship associated with the ‘archival turn’ in the humanities, social sciences and information sciences. This approach affords an understanding of documents as objects, artefacts and technologies. Working materially with documents provides new opportunities for legal scholars to understand files, papers, recordkeeping and bureaucracy, and gives legal significance to papers created outside the law.
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