Sometimes, you hear a story and you’re puzzled about how it possibly could have happened. This is true with the mysterious disappearance of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt, who went missing on December 17, 1967. He reportedly went missing while swimming in the sea near Portsea, Victoria. People searched for him, but his body was never found. So what exactly happened?

Who are we talking about?

Holt isn’t exactly a well-known historical figure. That could be because of his mysterious disappearance, but what should we know about him?


Holt became Australia’s Prime Minister in January 1966. Beforehand, he was a career politician, entering parliament at the surprisingly young age of 27. He refused security support upon taking office, considering it unnecessary, even though he survived two assassination attempts. Hopefully, he didn’t regret this decision later when he went missing.

A love for the ocean

There are some people who are born to explore the ocean, and that’s true for Holt. He owned beach houses at Portsea, Victoria, and Bingil Bay, Queensland. He loved spearfishing, skin diving, and snorkeling whenever he wasn’t working.


According to his friends, Holt had “incredible powers of endurance underwater.” He was meant to be a fisherman. But despite his love for the ocean, he wasn’t the strongest surface swimmer and had a near-drowning experience on May 20, 1967.

If only he listened to his friends’ warnings to be careful, he wouldn’t have gone missing just seven months later.

So, he drowned?

On the morning of December 17, 1967, Holt was ready for an adventurous day on the water at Portsea, Victoria. He made plans to return home in the afternoon to attend a barbecue and an afternoon spearfishing trip. But he convinced his group of friends to stop at Cheviot Beach for a swim.


Holt wasn’t afraid of the water, despite the strong currents. He swam into the deeper water and it’s believed he was dragged out to sea. His friends called out to him, but Holt slipped under the waves and out of sight. His body was never found.

Did he drown? Most likely, but like most mysteries, we’ll never know the answer.