About Harold Holt
- Born: 5 August 1908
- Died: 19 December 1967
- Partner: Zara Kate Holt
- Political party:
- United Australia Party
- Liberal Party of Australia (as PM)
- Image: NAA: A1200, L52058
Australia's 17th Prime Minister, Harold Holt was in office from 26 January 1966 to 19 December 1967, when he was officially pronounced dead after drowning at sea.
Holt became member for Fawkner in 1935. He became Australia's youngest minister in 1939 when Prime Minister Robert Menzies allocated him a junior role. For three-quarters of his 32 years in parliament, he was on the government benches. His only period in Opposition was from 1941 to 1949. Holt held the senior portfolios of Immigration and of Labour and National Service in the 1950s, and became Treasurer in 1958.
One of the most hard-working of Australia's Cabinet ministers, after 32 years as a parliamentarian, Harold Holt reached the prime ministerial office in 1966. The third Prime Minister to die in office, Harold Holt is widely remembered for the unusual circumstances of his death while swimming off the Victorian coast in December 1967.
Did you know?
- was in parliament for 30 years before he became prime minister – second only to John McEwen’s 33 years in parliament before he succeeded Holt in 1967
- married Zara Holt, who was fashion adviser for uniforms for the Australian officials of Expo 67 in Montreal
- was a federal parliamentarian for 32 years, the same as Robert Menzies
- along with senior public servant HC (Nugget) Coombs, was instrumental in the formation of the Australian Ballet in 1962
- was the first prime minister to employ a speech writer