LBJ Shirt

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Detail of the paint spatters on the LBJ protest shirt
Image: Ben Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

In 1966, United States President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared that Melbourne had turned out ‘The biggest crowd I’ve ever seen’ for his visit. Johnson was in Australia at the invitation of Prime Minister Harold Holt, who declared that Australia would go ‘All the way with LBJ’ in its support of the Vietnam War.

During a visit to South Yarra, the President’s limousine was pelted with red and green paint by anti-war protestors. This shirt belonged to one of his paint-splattered security guards.

The protestors were charged, and their defending barrister apologetically wrote to Johnson that they had been ‘excited to fever pitch by your presence and the consequent air of exaltation and triumph’.