1930 to 1939
17 Aug 1935: 1st elected to federal Parliament
Holt was elected as Member of Parliament for the seat of Fawkner (Vic.), in a by-election.
1940 to 1949
10 Dec 1949: 19th federal election
Holt was elected as the member for the seat of Higgins (Vic.), a new electorate that had been created from his old electorate of Fawkner after the size of Parliament was increased.
19 Dec 1949: Joined Cabinet
Holt was appointed as Minister for Immigration and Minister for Labour and National Service in the new Coalition government under Prime Minister Robert Menzies.
1950 to 1959
10 Dec 1958: Treasurer
Holt was appointed as Treasurer by Menzies.
1960 to 1969
26 Jan 1966: 17th Prime Minister
After a record 16-year term, Sir Robert Menzies resigned. Holt was elected as Liberal Party leader and subsequently sworn in as Prime Minister.
14 Feb 1966: Dollars and cents
Australia changed to a decimal currency. Pounds, shillings and pence were replaced with the new currency.
8 Mar 1966: Task force for Vietnam
The government announced an increase in Australia’s troop commitment to Vietnam from 1500 to 4500. The new Australian Task Force included 1500 national servicemen. The commitment was increased again in late 1967.
9 Mar 1966: Changes to the White Australia Policy
The government announced the most substantial changes to the White Australia Policy to date. The new policy removed racial distinctions in migrant selection and the waiting period for citizenship. Other immigration changes in 1966 simplified alien registration and naturalisation.
21 April 1966: Asian tour
Holt visited Australian troops in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Holt’s early trip to Asia reflected his focus on the region. In 1967, he visited Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
21 June 1966: Calwell shooting
Opposition Leader Arthur Calwell was injured in an assassination attempt outside an anti-conscription rally at Mosman Town Hall.
27 June 1966: US alliance
Holt arrived in the United States of America where he developed a friendship with President Lyndon Johnson. Holt emphasised Australia’s support for the war in Vietnam and the closeness of the US-Australian alliance.
27 Aug 1966: Gurindji strike
At Wave Hill in the Northern Territory, 200 Gurindji workers for the Vestey pastoral company went on strike. They were campaigning for recognition of rights to an area at Wattie Creek, on their traditional lands.
20 Oct 1966: US presidential visit
President Johnson arrived in Australia for the first visit of a sitting United States president to Australia. He would return to Australia in 1967 for Holt’s memorial service.
26 Nov 1966: 26th federal election
The Liberal-Country Party won in a landslide, retaining government with a majority of 40 seats in the House of Representatives.
7 Feb 1967: Black Tuesday
The Black Tuesday fires in Tasmania killed 62 people and destroyed around 1400 buildings.
17 Mar 1967: Honeysuckle Creek
The Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station opened outside Canberra. The station was built for the United States’ Apollo Program and was instrumental in tracking and broadcasting the moon landing in 1969.
27 May 1967: Historic referendum
In the largest majority of any Australian referendum, voters overwhelmingly supported a proposal to count Indigenous peoples in the national census and to give the Federal Parliament power to legislate for Indigenous peoples. A 2nd proposal to increase numbers in the House of Representative was not carried.
8 Aug 1967: ASEAN
The ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) was signed in Bangkok, creating the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
16 Sep 1967: North West Cape
The government approved the establishment of a United States Navy communications base in Western Australia that opened on 16 September 1967. A top security joint space facility was established at Pine Gap, near Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
19 Nov 1967: WRE-SAT
Australia’s first satellite was launched from the Woomera rocket range, carrying research instruments from the Weapons Research Establishment.
26 Nov 1967: Senate election
The Coalition government lost 2 seats and control of the Senate in a half-Senate election.
17 Dec 1967: Disappearance
During a weekend visit to his beach home in Portsea, Victoria, Holt went swimming off Cheviot Beach in rough seas. His companions saw him disappear into the ocean and raised the alarm. A massive search effort was launched, but his body was never found. On the evening of 18 December, Governor-General Lord Casey ended Holt’s commission as Prime Minister. A memorial service on 22 December was attended by 2000 official guests with thousands of people listening outside.