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WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO HAROLD HOLT ?
excerpts from Great Australian Mysteries by John Pinkney

On Sunday, December 17, 1967, Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt donned his snorkel gear and walked into the water at Portsea's Cheviot Beach. He was never seen again.

The official explanation - that 59-year-old Holt drowned accidentally in a wild sea - did not satisfy British author Anthony Grey, who in 1983 published a book The Prime Minister Was a Spy .

In it, he made the bizarre claim that Holt had been an undercover agent for Communist China. According to Grey, Chinese frogmen had placed the co-operative Prime Minister in a plastic air bubble and propelled him from the waters off Cheviot Beach to a submarine waiting a kilometre offshore. Holt, said the writer, was alive and enjoying asylum in the People's Republic.

Another theory - which gained considerably more credence - was that Holt had suicided. According to The Harold Holt Mystery , a television documentary aired in 1985, the Prime Minister had been in a depressed state, but Holt's widow and his press secretary scorned talk of suicide. He had been cheerful, with absolutely no sign of depression.

The drama may not yet be over. A retired Labor politician, who in his time was a very senior minister, has told more than one journalist that he has, in a hidden file, the stunning truth about Harold Holt's disappearance. So disturbing is the revelation that file contains, says the ex-minister, that he has specified in his will that it must not be published until after his death.


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