Photograph of President Johnson and Prime Minister Holt at Canberra Airport in 1966 #2010-0398
Silver gelatin photograph of President Johnson and Prime Minister Holt at Canberra Airport in 1966.
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s three day visit to Australia in October 1966 represented a highly significant moment in Australia’s relationship with the USA. The first visit by a sitting US President, it was met by rowdy demonstrations as well as large crowds intent on showing popular support for the US. Holt’s use of the phrase ‘All the Way with LBJ’ summed up both the popularity of the visit, and the strength of Australia’s commitment to both the alliance and the war we were fighting as allies in South Vietnam. In later years however it came to symbolise for many Australians a degree of subordination to the USA that many were uncomfortable with. This well known photograph, taken at dawn at Canberra Airport just as President Johnson farewelled Australia, has come to symbolise the closeness and yet the tensions within the Australian/US relationship. It is, to many, an iconic image. A little over a year later Lyndon Johnson returned as a mourner at Holt’s memorial service.
Succeeding Robert Menzies, Harold Holt was prime minister from 1966 until his death in 1967. His short period in office was marked by an accelerated pace of social change, including the 1967 constitutional referendum, and for a landslide victory in the 1966 federal election.
David Moore (1927 2003) was a leading photographer of Australian social history, famous early in his career for a series of photographs taken in Redfern in the 1940s. His works document many key moments in Australian history, and he is also recognised as a photographer of artistic achievement. This is one of his most widely known and praised images.