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  • Published: 19 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781760891060
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House Australia Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 10 hr 48 min
  • Narrator: Natasha Beaumont
  • RRP: $36.99

The Schoolgirl, Her Teacher and his Wife




'Long before The Teachers Pet, Rebecca Hazel was enquiring into the unexplained disappearance of Lynette Dawson. '
MALCOLM KNOX

The Teacher's Pet podcast was a phenomenon with more than 80 million downloads across the world.

Teacher and former rugby league player Chris Dawson appeared to have it all – a loving family and a beautiful home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. But in the summer of 1982 his wife Lynette disappeared and not long afterwards Dawson married a much younger woman a former student.
Less than a decade later this young woman escaped the marriage and went to the police to record her suspicions that Dawson had been involved in Lynette’s disappearance. A homicide investigation followed but got nowhere until 1998, when Detective Sergeant Damian Loone was handed Lynette’s file. For nearly two decades he made it his business to honour Lynette and to find out what had happened to her. His work led to two coronial investigations, but no charges.
Around this time Rebecca Hazel was working in a women’s refuge on the Northern Beaches when a colleague shared her story of enduring coercive control at the hands of Dawson, when she was his student, and then wife and she shared her suspicions about the fate of his first wife Lynette. These revelations affected Rebecca, and eventually she decided to investigate.
Over years, coroners, police and journalists all shared with Rebecca their knowledge of the case, and disappointments that it remained unsolved. Until, in May 2018, Hedley Thomas launched the Teacher’s Pet podcast, and in December 2018, Chris Dawson was charged with murder. He was convicted in August 2022.
Rebecca Hazel has spent ten years working to ensure that the stories of two women who were misused by Chris Dawson are heard, that their perpetrator is brought to justice and that Lynette’s family can properly honour their much-loved sister, aunt, cousin and mother.

  • Published: 19 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781760891060
  • Imprint: Penguin Random House Australia Audio
  • Format: Audio Download
  • Length: 10 hr 48 min
  • Narrator: Natasha Beaumont
  • RRP: $36.99

About the author

Rebecca Hazel

Rebecca Hazel has worked in family law; in a women and children’s refuge; helped establish and worked in the Women’s Family Law Support Service at the Family Court in Sydney; and briefly in domestic violence policy at Legal Aid. She lives in Sydney's northern beaches.

Praise for The Schoolgirl, Her Teacher and his Wife

My friend Rebecca Hazel shared compelling insights into a tragic and violent story when we would talk for my podcast series, The Teacher's Pet, about JC - and the suspected murder in January 1982 by her school teacher Chris Dawson, of his adoring wife, Lyn. It is poignant and beautifully framed by Rebecca - her book is imbued with great sensitivity and deep respect for JC - and for Lyn, the woman we never knew.

Hedley Thomas, The Australian

Long before The Teacher’s Pet, Rebecca Hazel was enquiring into the unexplained disappearance of Lynette Dawson. With equal parts determination and empathy, Hazel reveals the complicated world and damaged individuals that are left behind one missing person. This is a vivid portrait of that world, and I dare anyone to read it without feeling anger on behalf of Lynette, one woman who can be any woman.

Malcolm Knox

Compelling, moving and profoundly disturbing. This book is an act of justice. With extraordinary empathy Hazel lays bare the unease of all women: are our lives really worth less? This is a sophisticated, understated work of life-giving for one woman who died, and another who survived, though her life was ruined. It is an act of justice when the legal system failed. And an act of justice as painstaking and monumental as this is an act of love.

Anna Funder