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17 December - Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears.

Australian Events for the month of December
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17 December - Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears.

Unread postby Max ADU » Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:53 pm

Today in Australian History
Sunday, December 17, 1967.

Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt goes missing whilst swimming at Portsea, Victoria.
Harold Edward Holt was born in Stanmore, Sydney on 5 August 1908.

Early life in Parliment
After studying law at the University of Melbourne, he practised as a solicitor. Holt was drawn to politics in the early 1930s and joined thePrahran branch of the United Australia Party (UAP) in 1933 but failed to enter parliament.

August 1935, Harold ran for the by-election for the marginally conservative seat of Fawkner, this time successfully. At age 27, he was one of Australia's youngest-ever MPs.

The PM of Australia
After a thirty-year career in
politics, he became Prime Minister following the retirement of Sir Robert Menzies in January 1966.

During Holt's term in office, the Vietnam War was the dominant foreign policy issue and forged a close relationship with U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, whom he had first met in Melbourne in 1942 and became well know for the phrase “All the way with LBJ

The Fatal Swim
On 17 December 1967, Holt
went swimming at Cheviot Beach on Point Nepean near Portsea, on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne. After plunging into the notoriously rough surf, Holt disappeared.

He was never seen again, and theories as to his fate have abounded since then. These theories include that he committed suicide, faked his own death in order to run away with his mistress,

The mystery became the subject of numerous urban myths in Australia, including persistent claims that he was kidnapped (or rescued) by a Chinese submarine, or that he had been abducted by a UFO.

Despite an extensive search, neither his body nor any trace of his clothes was ever found.

He was officially presumed dead on 19 December 1967.

A remembrance plaque
In 1969 a plaque commemorating Holt was bolted to the seafloor off Cheviot Beach after a memorial ceremony. It bears the inscription:
In memory of Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia, who loved the sea and disappeared hereabouts on 17 December 1967.

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