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Memento : Issue 31
20 NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA a civilian manpower organisation that implemented defence projects. He was suspected of malingering when he refused to work on health grounds. A high- ranking Allied Works Council officer wrote of Kast: ‘It appears to me that the whole of the actions of this member are directed at causing the maximum inconvenience to the Allied Works Council and therefore to the Commonwealth’. Kast’s years of wartime incarceration were followed by a decade of freebooting adventure in Queensland’s north before his eventual deterioration into a paranoid killer. He became in turn a salesman in Victoria, Adelaide and Brisbane and a mine worker at Mount Isa, before heading for the still frontier-like country north of Cairns. Here he mined wolfram, scratched for tin, and trapped fish for the growing Cairns market before turning would-be farmer. He taught himself the use of explosives as he cleared a block of virgin scrub on the shores of Bessie’s Inlet. At one time he thought of becoming a Torres Strait pearler; at another he contemplated life as a gold prospector in what was then the Australian mandated territory of Papua New Guinea. Along the way he became first a permanent resident of Australia and then a naturalised citizen. His 1944 pledge that he ‘would do no harm to this country’ was, sadly, to prove untrue. Ken Blanch retired eight years ago after 53 years as a newspaper journalist. He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to journalism in 1997. The Rampage of Killer Kast is published by Jack Sim’s Publications: www.murdertrails.com.au. [right] Authorities took escapes from internment camps very seriously. Victorian police released this bulletin to help re-capture Kast after his escape from Tatura. NAA:BP242/1,Q27877