Paris Jackson didn't realise the tragic truth behind a joke she cracked about Australia.

It’s a saying as synonymous with Australia as “chuck another shrimp on the barbie” or “she’ll be right, mate”.

But when Paris Jackson – who was visiting a wildlife sanctuary on Hamilton Island after attending the Melbourne Cup earlier this week – captioned a snap on her Instagram story with “a dingo ate my baby”, she more than likely had no idea that the saying was linked to one of Australia’s most tragic stories.

Image via Instagram.

The line is from 1988 film Evil Angels, which starred Meryl Streep and was based on the chilling true story of nine-week-old Azaria Chamberlain, who disappeared from a campground near Uluru in August 1980.

Azaria's mother, Lindy, was tried for her daughter's murder and sentenced to life in prison, despite maintaining her infant daughter had been taken by a dingo.

Paris shared a number of images with dingoes on her Instagram story. Image via Instagram.

She spent more than three years behind bars before she she was finally released after a piece of Azaria's clothing was found near a dingo lair.

It wasn't until 32 years later, in 2012, that a coroner officially supported Lindy and her husband Michael's version of events. Azaria's body has never been found.

Lindy Chamberlain
Lindy Chamberlain was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her daughter, Azaria, before she was released when her clothes were found outside a dingo lair. Image via Getty.

But Paris isn't the only one to use the phrase "a dingo ate my baby" as a punchline of a joke. It's long been a source of humour in American pop culture and has been referenced in shows like Seinfeld and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In iconic Simpsons episode 'Bart vs. Australia', Bart tells an Australian father "I think I hear a dingo eating your baby" before hanging up a prank phone call.

In 2012, The Atlantic remarked that many Americans had heard the saying "before they even knew exactly what a dingo was".

Given the pop culture prevalence of the saying, it's doubtful 19-year-old Paris made the comment with malicious intent. After all, Paris was born a whole 18 years after little Azaria was killed.

Listen to the Mamamia Out Loud team talk about Paris Jackson's unusual Melbourne Cup appearance. Post continues after audio. 

Nevertheless, the story of the Chamberlains is one of the most notorious - and sensationalised - crime stories in Australian history, and jokes about the tragedy are not taken lightly.

Despite the 'outrage' behind Paris' latest snap, it's likely her trip to Australia will do more good than harm: the daughter of Michael Jackson said she is planning on assisting efforts to save our Great Barrier Reef, a region that is struggling under the effects global warming.