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This park was originally dedicated as Hillside Reserve in 1897. It was renamed in 1940 in honour of Asdruebal James Keast, General Manager of the Zinc Corporation from 1936 to 1946.
A.J. Keast was responsible for major surface construction and underground development at the Zinc Mine between 1936 and 1939. This required sinking mine shafts into desert soil that had been de-stabilised by decades of deforestation causing major environmental changes. The most dramatic of these were dust storms that blew into Broken Hill from the surrounding desert, settling in banks of sand that devastated homes and buried everything in sight under a storm of brown dirt.
By the time he left Broken Hill for Melbourne in 1946, Keast was as well known for his environmental interest as his mining innovations. Without his energetic support, the now-famous regeneration project of desert flora, lovingly developed by botanists Albert and Margaret Morris, could not have proceeded.
The Zinc Corporation converted the reserve into a well equipped public recreation area in the 1940s.
Audio transcript available.