He disappeared in December, 1967, while swimming, starting a wave of urban myths as to his fate, as his body has never been found.
He was born on the 5th of August 1908, and was the eldest of 2 boys. Between 1913 and 1919 he attended three different schools in Sydney and Adelaide, before being enrolled at Wesley College in Melbourne in 1921. Three years later his mother died, instilling some would later say "a sense of loneliness" that prevailed throughout the rest of his life.
In 1927 he began a law degree and attended the University of Melbourne, excelling at sports as well as debating and essay writing. After graduating in 1930, he found that he could not find work as a Barrister due to the Great Depression and was drawn to politics around the same time.
In his short term as PM, he faced controversy regarding Australia's commitment to the Vietnam War, after significantly increasing military involvement and defending the US and its President Lyndon B. Johnson. He also faced allegations of allegedly misusing VIP aircraft and his leadership style and public image were questioned by his own party colleagues.
Missing in the Water
Soon after entering the water, he was seen being dragged under a wave and was never seen again.
A search soon afterwards by Police, the Army, Navy divers, Air Force helicopters and volunteers still could not find any trace of his body. No formal inquest or investigation was ever conducted due to it being "a waste of time and money", however Victorian Police compiled a 108-page report and in 2005 a coroner ruled that Holt had drowned in accidental circumstances.
What is known is that at the time of Holt going missing, he was suspected of being in poor health after collapsing in Parliament some months earlier, blaming a "vitamin deficiency", however many senior Liberals suspected a heart condition. He also had a shoulder injury at the time and was said to be on Morphine, his doctor telling him not to swim or play tennis.
Urban Legends and Conspiracy Theories
British Journalist Anthony Grey published in 1983 a controversial book claiming that Holt had been a spy for the People's Republic of China and may have been picked up by a Chinese submarine and spent the rest of his life in China.
An even more far-fetched claim is that he was taken by an underwater UFO.
It has also been theorised that he was eaten by a shark or giant squid. However, it is now speculated that he may have taken his own life, as numerous people have come forward saying he was horribly depressed at the time of his disappearance. These claims have been dismissed by Holt's son, a biographer and former colleagues.
Was there something more sinister, perhaps paranormal, behind him going missing?
Did he fake his own death and if so,why?
Or was one of Australia's PM's an Asian spy?
Put together by Ashley Hall 2013