December 19 - 1967 - Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt is Declared Dead
Harold Holt had been Prime Minister of Australia for less than two years when he went swimming at Cheviot Beach in December of 1967. Then, the people who Holt had been with that day lost sight of him and a general panic swept the entire country. No trace of Holt was ever found, which put the Government of Australia in a tight spot. The Governor General had to declare Holt dead two days after he disappeared, just to make sure the government could continue to function. Yet the government largely did not function well in the wake of Holt's death. The coalition between Holt's Liberal Party and the Country Party was splintering before his death, and it actually fell apart in the wake of his disappearance. As the coalition had ruled Australia for decades, Holt's disappearance greatly affects Australian politics, all of which was triggered by the moment at which he was declared dead.