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Harold Holt

A friend of mine gave me Bill Bryson's Australia travelogue In a Sunburned Country, and from the moment I started reading it, I knew it was a special book about a special place. I know I'm going to have to fight the urge to blog something from it every day while I'm reading it. For now, here's an amazing anecdote from the opening:

On my first visit, some years ago, I passed the time on the long flight reading a history of Australian politics in the twentieth century, wherein I encountered the startling fact that in 1967 the prime minister, Harold Holt, was strolling along a beach in Victoria when he plunged into the surf and vanished. No trace of the poor man was ever seen again. This seemed doubly astounding to me -- first that Australia could just lose a prime minister (I mean, come on) and second that news of this had never reached me.
A prime minister lost off a beach and never seen again? And I didn't know this?

The Wikipedia entry for Harold Holt can be found here. According to Wikipedia:

On 17 December 1967, Holt went swimming at Cheviot Beach on Point Nepean near the holiday resort of Portsea, south of Melbourne. Apparently seeking to impress his friends, Holt, who was 59 and had had a recent shoulder injury, plunged into the surf. He disappeared from view and was never seen again. Despite an extensive search, his remains were never found. He was officially presumed dead on 19 December.

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