Lake Macquarie History

Shared Stories: Coming Home

Coming Home - The Fairfax Acquisition

In 2013, more than two million Fairfax photographs were sold to a scanning organisation in Arkansas for digitisation. The digital images were to be returned to Australia, but not the original photographs.

A few months later the FBI raided the Arkansas company and charged it with an unrelated fraud. The company went into administration. The Fairfax photographs were seized as part of the company’s assets and repossessed by a small Arkansas bank. The collection was slated to be broken up for sale on auction platforms or thrown away.

Duncan Miller realised the national value of the collection. The photographs were a comprehensive survey of the 20th century history of Australia. Attempts were made to keep the collection together, but Miller was unable to find a single new home for the photographs. The resulting ‘Home To Australia’ project has allowed Australian libraries, museums and galleries to purchase groups of photographs.

Lake Macquarie Council was contacted by Duncan Miller Gallery in 2020 and purchased 128 photographs. The photographs displayed here are part of the Fairfax collection and this extraordinary coming home story.

Coming Home - Throwing a party

Dozens Day started as joke amongst friends in at the Mawson Hotel in Swansea in 1969. It gradually became a large scale beach party at Swansea which was shut down by Lake Macquarie City Council in 1985.

Twelve friends were present at the original gathering. They laughed about being the Dirty Dozen, borrowing from the 1967 film of the same name. The friends noticed that date was 12/12/69 and they agreed to get together at the same time every year.

The celebration grew and involved drinking 12 beers at 12pm on 12 December each year.

The annual party then outgrew the hotel and was held at a beach near Swansea Heads.

These photographs were taken for an article written by Maeve O’Meara for the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 December 1985 and show the last large scale Dozens Day. By this time, none of the original Dozens Day members were involved. Rod and Kelvin

Moore’s attempt to reorganise the party and stage it at a new location failed.

The original members regret the way the innocent fun of the 1969 gathering evolved into a large scale party. Dozens Day is still celebrated privately amongst the original members.

Many Lake Macquarie locals have shared happy memories of celebrating Dozens Day.

Marie Jeffrey and Michelle Sulling at the Dozens Day temporary toliets
Sergeant Jenkins from Belmont Station looking at Dozens Day partgoers
Dozens Day beach party near Swansea Heads
Enjoying a beer at the Dozens Day beach party near Swansea Heads
Unknown maker
Lake Macquarie City Council Local Studies Collection
Fairfax acquisition purchased 2020

Coming Home - Being protected

Morisset Police Station is the closest station to Michael and Lindy Chamberlains’ former home in Cooranbong, Lake Macquarie.

Michael Chamberlain was a Seventh Day Adventist pastor. He studied at the Seventh Day Adventist Avondale College at a private site in Cooranbong. Michael, Lindy and their surviving children returned to Avondale following the first inquest into Azaria’s death.

The local SDA community protected the Chamberlains during the events following the death of their daughter Azaria. The Chamberlains endured helicopters circling and photographing their home and the Avondale switchboard being jammed with calls from the media. The large congregation closed ranks and were able to give the Chamberlains support and security.

The community ensured that Michael was employed and could care for their children while Lindy was wrongfully imprisoned for Azaria’s murder.

Morriset Police Station where Lindy Chamberlain must report as a condition of bail
Unknown maker
Lake Macquarie City Council Local Studies Collection
Fairfax acquisition purchased 2020

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website and Council's cultural collections may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

This website may contain place names, opinions and terms that reflect authors' views or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded. These may not be considered appropriate today.

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