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Biographical entry Keast, James Allen (1922 - 2009)

15 November 1922
Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia
8 March 2009
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Allen Keast was an ornithologist with an interest in the taxonomy and systematics of birds, environmental factors affecting the ecology of Australian birds and presenting Australian bird ecology to an international audience.


Born Turramurra, New South Wales, 15 November 1922. Educated Universities of Sydney (BSc (hons) 1950, MSc 1952) and Harvard (MA1954, PhD 1955). War service, New Guinea and New Britain, ca 1941-45; part-time cadet, Australian Museum, Sydney ca 1948-50, Assistant Curator of Birds and Reptiles 1950-55, Curator, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians 1955-60; Assistant Professor of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario 1960-62, Associate Professor 1963-65, Professor 1965-92, Emeritus Professor 1992 to date, Queen's University Distinguished Researcher 1993 to date. Initiated the first natural history series on Australian TV 1958-60. Has played a major role in public education about wildlife issues by writing popular articles and lecturing. He has written and edited a number of books, the latest being Birds of Eucalypt Forests and Woodlands: Ecology, Conservation, Management (1985). He has also made a recording, Australian bird songs, (1964, with Carl Weismann) and translated Land and Wildlife of Australia from German (1975). Fellow, Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union 1960, D.L. Serventy Medal 1995; Fellow, American Ornithologists Union 1964.

Published resources

Newspaper Articles

  • Veitch, Harriet, 'Nature-loving scientist with a passion for birds', Sydney Morning Herald, 10 April 2009. Details

Online Resources

See also

  • Price, J. R., 'Alexander Thomas Dick 1911-1982', Historical Records of Australian Science, vol. 6, no. 3, 1986, pp. 393-397. Also available at Details
  • Robin, Libby, The Flight of the Emu: a Hundred Years of Australian Ornithology 1901-2001, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2001, 492 pp. Details

Rosanne Walker