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Anthony (Tony) Eggleton (1932–2023)

by Rhiannon Down

from Australian

Tony Eggleton, by Andrew Long, 1998

Tony Eggleton, by Andrew Long, 1998

National Library of Australia, 22649243

Former Liberal Party director Tony Eggleton, who came to public prominence while serving as press secretary to Harold Holt during his disappearance, has died aged 91.

Mr Eggleton has been remembered for his “tremendous contribution to public life” during his long career in the Liberal Party, which saw him serve as campaign director for seven elections after he began working for the party under Robert Menzies.

Former prime minister John Howard paid tribute to Mr Eggleton as a “much revered servant of the Liberal Party” who will be remembered for his long and illustrious career.

“Tony has made an enormous contribution to the Liberal Party and to public life in Australia. He has given advice to or worked for prime ministers starting with Menzies,” he said. “He was with Bob Menzies when he decided to retire as prime minister in 1966.

“He worked with Harold Holt and he became well known to the Australian public by talking on behalf of the Holt family in the desperate hours that followed Holt’s disappearance. He worked for John Gorton as prime minister and he worked very closely with Malcolm Fraser.”

Mr Eggleton was also a founding member of the National Press Club in his early career as a journalist, acted as press secretary to the navy during the biggest peacetime naval disaster in Australian history, the sinking of HMAS Voyager, and worked on the Queen’s 1970 royal visit.

Mr Howard said he would remember Mr Eggleton for his talent for giving great advice “to me during the difficult years I spent as opposition leader in the 1980s”.

“And he was the director of the group that organised the celebration of the centenary of federation. “Overall he was a person who gave great counsel and advice and his greatest quality was that you could rely on him to respect confidences.”

Peter Dutton also paid tribute to the Liberal stalwart, saying the “Liberal Party has lost a champion … Tony … contributed to Australian politics from Menzies to (John) Hewson, with his legacy extending beyond politics to inter­national affairs.

“A remarkable legacy. Vale Tony Eggleton.”

Original publication

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Citation details

Rhiannon Down, 'Eggleton, Anthony (Tony) (1932–2023)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

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