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Andrew (Andy) Keeves (1927–2001)

by Norm Lewis

Andrew Keeves, n.d.

Andrew Keeves, n.d.

The passing of Andrew Keeves on 13 October 2001 in Adelaide, at the age of 74, will sadden many Australian and New Zealand foresters, and not a few overseas, of the 1950–1980s era.

Andy was a graduate of Adelaide University and the Australian Forestry School in Canberra, and for most of his career was a member of the Working Plans Branch, later the Forest Management Division, of the South Australian Woods and Forests Department, now ForestrySA.

In this latter capacity he was a prominent part of one of the most progressive and productive periods in the 125-year history of South Australian forestry, and his colleagues of that time can have nothing but unqualified respect for his contribution to forest mensuration and management in that period, and through that, to Australian radiata pine forestry in general.

Straddling, as his career did, the advent of the computer into Australian forestry, and the changeover to metrics, Andy was—with J .W. Leech—a driving force behind their adaptation to South Australian forest management planning and yield regulation. By the late 1960s South Australia had a forest management basis comprehensive enough to provide the requisite guidance for decision making in respect of a resource cutting very close to its increment. This was borne out again after the 1983 wildfires that destroyed something like 27% of South Australia’s plantation resource in the South East Region, when a sound basis for salvage and replanting operations was of prime importance.

The essentials of all this constituted the well known Woods and Forests Department Bulletin 12 (Yield Regulation in South Australian Pinus radiata Plantations, 1976), of which Andy was a co-author.

A Russell Grimwade Scholarship took him to Oxford University for his Dip. For. (Oxon) in 1960. He was a foundation member and one-time Chairman of the Research Working Group for Mensuration and Management. In 1970 he visited New Zealand under the Research Officer Exchange Scheme.

He made a major contribution over several years to the establishment and operations of the Forest Technology Certificate Course at the then South East Community College in Mount Gambier, and for some years was a member of the Rotary Club of Mount Gambier.

Already a Fellow of the IFA, he was awarded its highest honour, the N.W. Jolly Medal, in 1987 for his outstanding contributions to forestry in Australia.

At the time of his retirement he was Principal Forest Management Officer in the Department’s Forest Operations Division. In 1991 he was honoured with a Public Service Medal for his sustained services in forestry to the State of South Australia.

Essentially practical, and a good organiser, Andy was highly respected for his uncompromising integrity and his meticulous attention to relevant detail. He was a true professional, and it was a privilege to have been among his colleagues.

The condolences of all who knew him go out to his wife Anneli and his family.

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Citation details

Norm Lewis, 'Keeves, Andrew (Andy) (1927–2001)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

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