THURSDAY 16 SEPTEMBER MORNINGTON
After a late start, went for a drive around some of the Mornington Peninsula coast.
It was a very windy day.
We followed the main road around the coast to Sorrento, where we watched the Queenscliff ferry come in.
Went for a walk on Portsea jetty.
Drove across to the “back” side and explored the Portsea Back Beach. Drove to the London Bridge lookout area.
It was, of course, from the Portsea Back Beach area that the then Prime Minister, Harold Holt, disappeared whilst swimming, in December 1967. No trace of him has ever been found. It is a treacherous beach but there were those who could not be satisfied with the obvious explanations of drowning, or shark attack. Amongst the more bizarre theories circulated were ones like the American CIA kidnapped him, via submarine!
A political crisis eventuated. There was rather a dearth of leadership material in the Liberal Party of the time, as the long serving Prime Minister Menzies had groomed Holt as his replacement, and had tended to shunt off other likely talent, sideways, to diplomatic postings and the like. Holt had not been in place long enough to consider his succession plan. Tensions with the Country Party and Liberals meant that Holt’s deputy was not an option for Prime Minister. The unprecedented solution saw a Senator – Gorton – become the Liberal Party leader and thus PM. He had to move to the House of Representatives, via a by-election. This sudden prominence of a Senator caused some to revise their opinion that the Senate was a burying ground for political hacks of little talent! Including some Senators themselves!
It was an interesting episode in what had, until then, been a very boring Australian political scene.
It was really too windy and chilly to be tempted to do any beach walking of substance. On a better day, we might have been tempted to do the very pleasant walk to Bushranger Bay.
But going for the drive gave an illusion that we were doing something other than just sitting around the van. We managed to drive 115kms.
Tea was sausages, fries, vegies.