On this day: the disappearance of Harold Holt

The Canberra Times Harold Holt dappearance 1960s

On the 17th of December, 1967, Australia’s Prime Minister went swimming in the sea and was never seen again.


In his days as Prime Minister. 1-7-1966.

Harold Holt, who had been in office for twenty-two months at the time, was a strong swimmer. However, he ignored warnings not to swim in the rough surf and dangerous currents of Cheviot Beach and went out anyway. When he disappeared from view his friends raised the alert.

Navy divers search for Holt at Cheviot Beach, near Portsea, in 1967.

Navy divers join the search

Despite the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force becoming involved in the search, Holt was not found.

An official announcement was made on the 19th, stating that the Prime Minister was thought to be dead.

The search for Harold Holt, 17 December 1967.

On the 22nd, a memorial service was held. It was attended by the Presidents of the United States, South Vietnam and South Korea, as well as Charles, Prince of Wales.

In the weeks after his disappearance many crazy theories were put forward, including allegations of abduction and of the involvement of Chinese spies.

3 thoughts on “On this day: the disappearance of Harold Holt

  1. Miriam says:

    A long time ago now. It would not have been a good Christmas for his family!

  2. […] Source: On this day: the disappearance of Harold Holt | In Times Gone By… […]

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