| Former PM Holt remembered 50 years on

December 16, 2017


2017-12-16 16:31:16

Former Australia PM Harold Holt (file) will be remembered 50 years after his disappearance.
Former Australia PM Harold Holt (file) will be remembered 50 years after his disappearance.

No one knows what happened to former Australian prime minister Harold Holt but modern day politicians will gather at the beach where he disappeared to pay their respects to him 50 years on.

A memorial service will be held at the former barracks near Point Nepean on Sunday, close to the Cheviot Beach where the political heir to Robert Menzies went for his last swim.

Tributes are expected from Flinders member Greg Hunt and federal Speaker Tony Smith, who will honour the life of the 59-year-old who went missing on December 17, 1967.

Malcolm Turnbull earlier this month led tributes in Canberra’s lower house, calling Holt’s disappearance one of the most “confounding” events in the country’s history.

“He ushered in many of the reforms that we now consider so crucial, such watersheds in our evolution to the modern nation that we are today,” Mr Turnbull said.

During his short term in office Holt oversaw the dismantling of the White Australia policy, drove the historic referendum to ensure Aboriginal people were included in the census, and introduced dollar currency.

However, he also ramped up Australia’s commitment to the Vietnam War, including through conscription.

Some conspiracy theories about Holt’s disappearance have been linked to his war leadership.

One story famously proposed that the Liberal leader was picked up by a Chinese submarine and another suggested suicide.

However, historians and members of the former prime minister’s family have said there is no evidence to support the claims.

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