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I have made a few blunders in this blog, but I never thought I would have reason to update a forty year-old obituary. I made reference to it in the post I wrote about my 100 km ride in the “Around the Bay in a Day” cycling event.

Prime Minister Harold Holt went for a dip in the turbulent waters down at the very end of the Mornington Peninsula the morning of December 17, 1967.  He swam out a few hundred yards, then disappeared.  He is presumed drowned, although his body has never been recovered.   Given the nature of the waters, which have taken down half a hundred ships, the absence of a body is not altogether surprising.

What is surprising is that the matter surfaced in our local paper yesterday.  This was apparently triggered by the release of four, highly confidential pages that were in Holt’s briefcase in his car at Cheviot Beach.

Doug Anthony, one of the prime minister’s former colleagues decided to reveal to the press that Holt was deeply depressed just two days prior to his disappearance.  He was distressed about intrigue and treachery in his own government’s ranks, particularly by his friend and treasurer, Billy McMahon.

In addition, the husband of Mr. Holt’s last mistress, a Portsea neighbour, was rumored to be going to divorce his wife and name the prime minister.

This morning, a rebuttal in the “Age” cites Mr. Holt’s press secretary claiming the PM never intended to commit suicide.  That he was, in fact, looking forward to the summer holidays.  ‘He was a resilient personality and, at the time of his death, he was in good spirits….’

Stay tuned.

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