Avondale student sings for Chamberlains

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An Avondale College student and award-winning songwriter is using music to commemorate the event leading to one of Australia’s most publicised legal cases.

“Paw-prints in the Sand” is Jackie Ward’s expression of the events surrounding the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain at the then Ayers Rock on August 17, 1980. The Bachelor of Arts music major has a personal connection to the story—her father, Phil, worked as a freelance journalist during the subsequent trial of Azaria’s parents, Michael and Lindy.

I’ve grown up with the story close to my heart, so it pains me that nearly two decades after Lindy Chamberlain’s exoneration, there still remains the unfounded opinion that she was guilty of killing her baby

“I’ve grown up with the story close to my heart,” says Jackie, “so it pains me that nearly two decades after Lindy Chamberlain’s exoneration, there still remains the unfounded opinion that she was guilty of killing her baby.”

Jackie wrote “Paw-prints in the Sand” to promote truth and justice. The lyrics make a strong statement: “The only hidden love is tucked in behind what you have seen/ Can the blind look past the lying headlines in the magazines?”

Jackie has written more than 400 songs and placed in the top 10 of the Australian Songwriting Contest for three consecutive years beginning in 2006. She won the contest in 2008, with nine of her songs, including “Paw-prints in the Sand,” shortlisted for the top 10 in different categories. The win led to a nomination in the open-age Australian Songwriter of the Year. Two more of Jackie’s songs are shortlisted for the award this year. “It’s the first time I’ve entered since 2008 and it’s encouraging because I’m now too old for the ‘Youth’ category.”

Jackie sings soprano with Avondale vocal ensemble The Promise. She is also negotiating a recording contract with Psalter Music, a new Adventist music ministry. She plans to release a solo album through the label that will include “Paw-prints in the Sand.”

Paw Prints in the Sand

Crying ends the camp-fire laughter

Pounding in the desert silence; hearts and frantic feet

No kiss good-bye for just a moment after

Stolen in the night; a nine week old heartbeat

If you look past the lies, somewhere in the distance is the truth

Such a dark surprise; devastation twisted without proof

The only hidden love is tucked in behind what you have seen

Can the blind look past the lying headlines in the magazines?

Paw-prints in the sand and tears in the eyes of all who understand

Running through the dark of unmerciful and wild land

Searching for anything, a sound of life; a beast, an infant’s sing

Silent is the night, gloating that they’d found nothing

Love will be restored and hearts sewn back together

When dawn and coming light reunite mother and child

Blessed by God, will be restored and hearts sewn back together

When dawn and coming light reunite father and child

Separated by the wild

Love will be restored and hearts sewn back together

When dawn and coming light reunite mother and child

Separated by the wild

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