by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Memento : Issue 30
an American destroyer in his honour; a sundial and garden in the Fitzroy Gardens; a marine reserve on the southern shore of Port Phillip Bay; and a federal electorate in 1969. The best known is one that many people consider to be either in bad taste or ironic: the Harold Holt swimming baths in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern. Sadly for Australia's 17th Prime Minister, his death now overshadows his life. But he ought to be remembered for encouraging the country towards a greater sense of social self-awareness, economic independence, national maturity and international pride. The National Archives holds a substantial body of papers about Harold Holt and his wife Zara. These records reveal a man of conviction and compassion, whose life has much to impart to our knowledge of Australia's development as a nation between the mid-1930s and the mid-1960s. Dame Zara Bate Born into a comfortably well-off family in the Melbourne suburb of Kew on 10 March 1909, Zara Dickens met the love of her life, Harold Edward Holt, in 1925. Mutual friends introduced them and there was an immediate attraction. They became constant companions after Harold graduated in 1930, but talk of marriage was delayed because of Harold's concerns about money. Zara meanwhile opened a dress shop, an audacious venture that proved highly lucrative. When Harold was attracted to another woman, Zara sailed for England and met Captain James Fell, an Indian Army officer, en route. They married and went to live at Jubbulpore in India where his regiment was stationed. In 1937 when Zara returned to Australia for the birth of her first son, Nicholas, she was reunited with Harold, by now the United Australia Party Federal member for Fawkner. They both recognised the mistake they had made. A subsequent intimacy produced their twins, Sam and Andrew. In 1939 Zara returned to Australia permanently and initiated Dr Tom Frame is Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force. His book, The Life and Death of Harold Holt, was co-published by the National Archives of Australia and Allen & Unwin and launched by the Federal Treasurer, the Hon. Peter Costello MP, on 12 August 2005. Dr Frame shares some of his insights into the lives of Harold and his wife Zara. The Life and Death of Harold Holt by Dr Tom Frame retails for $35.00. The Archives has also published a research guide to the records of Harold and Zara Holt held in various archives, libraries and other institutions. Harold Holt: Guide to Archives of Australia's Prime Ministers by Pennie Pemberton costs $19.95. Both the book and the research guide can be purchased through our website at www.naa.gov.au, by phoning (02) 6212 3609, emailing email@example.com, or from one of our offices. (above) Harold and Zara having coffee at Portsea, Victoria, 1966. This was their favourite photograph of them together. NAA: M4294, 4 (above right) Harold and Zara arriving at Parliament House for the opening of the 26th Parliament, February 1967. NAA: A1200, L60776 divorce proceedings. She raised the boys with Harold's help and they married in October 1946. Zara returned to the fashion industry and established a franchise with the name 'Magg' in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney. She was in constant demand and designed several 'Gowns of the Year' in the 1960s, including that worn by Miss Australia Tania Verstak when she won the Miss International beauty pageant in 1962. Zara was an uncomplicated woman who loved her family and gained satisfaction from her homes and business. The press referred to her as 'Zany Zara' and meant no offence by it. She was fun to be with, helped people relax, and made The Lodge and the Prime Minister more accessible to ordinary people. She coped courageously with Harold's disappearance in December 1967 despite the watching world and the failure to find his body. In 1968, she became Dame Zara and a year later married Jefferson Bate, a Liberal parliamentarian. Zara died in 1989 and was buried with her parents at Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula. Spring--Summer 2005 MEMENTO 5