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Australia Honey

Records of beekeeping in Australia show the first successful introduction of beehives to Sydney in 1822 when they arrived from Cork in Ireland aboard the Isabella. Over the next 50 years or so, they established themselves in the other provinces. But it wasn’t until the mid 1900’s that beekeeping and honey production really took off, increasing by at least eight times from the 1920’s to present times.

Australia enjoys a strong honey market. It is largely due to the fact that Australian honey is relatively free of chemical residues, antibiotic residues and has low microbial counts.

Most honey of Australia originates from an amazing variety of native Eucalyptus trees. The names of the Eucalyptus trees and other native plants stir the imagination in the same way that Australia herself has captured our hearts and minds. Who wouldn’t like to experience honey from plants with names like Leatherwood, Stringybark, Salvation Jane (Patterson’s Curse), Grey Box, Black Box, Bloodwood, Gum Top, Jarrah, White Gum, Spotted Gum, White Box, Mallee, Blackbutt, Powderbark, Yellow Box, River Red Gum, Blue Gum and Narrow-leaved Ironbark to name a few!

In Australia, when the floral source can be determined the honey is labeled as such, for example, “Stringybark Honey” or “Blue Gum Honey”. If it comes from a variety of sources it is labeled, “Wildflower Honey”, “Garden Honey” or similar. Most of the honey that finds it way onto the table is the result of blending after extraction, sometimes called, “Australian Honey”. Fortunately there are plenty of unblended single floral and multi-floral honeys available.

Listed below are a selection of the more commonly available honeys from the hundreds of honey-producing floral species and plant associations in Australia. These are more or less representative of the wide variety of honeys produced by dedicated and passionate bee keepers “down under”.

Australian Honey Producing Regions:

Try this - Exceptional Unique or exceptional honeys!

New South Wales Honey:

3,050 beekeepers.
NSW is the largest producer of honey in Australia. It accounts for about 41% of Australian honey production and, of that, about 80% depends upon on native flora. The landscape ranges from the subtropical north to the Snowy Mountains in the south. There are over 800 miles of coastline with dazzling beaches and picturesque waterways and rivers, including the Murray River. Large tracts of pristine bushland are protected in a series of state and national parks that virtually surround the capital city. The capital, Sydney, is one of the few Australian cities to enjoy beaches on its doorstep, including the world-famous Bondi Beach. Sydney itself is the dynamic hub of the southern hemisphere, and one of the most stunning cities in the world. It’s full of iconic symbols such as Sydney Harbor and its remarkable Opera House.

Honey Farm: Visit the Mudgee Honey Haven.

  • Apple Box (E. bridgesiana)
  • Blackbutt (E. pilularis)
  • Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus)
  • Broad-leaved Stringbark (aka White Stringybark) (E. caliginosa)
  • Caley’s Ironbark (E. caleyi)
  • Clover (Trifolium repens)
  • Coastal Apple (aka Smooth-Barked Apple, Rose Gum, Rose Apple, Sydney Red Gum, Tumbledown Gum)(Angophora costata)
  • Crow Ash (Guioa semiglauca)
  • Flooded Gum (E. grandis)
  • Grey Ironbark (E. paniculata)
  • Heath (aka Heath-leaved Banksia, Red Cob Banksia) (Banksia ericifolia)
  • Hill Gum (aka Tumbledown Gum, Tumbledown Red Gum, Red Gum, Silver Gum, Baradine Gum, Sand Gum) (E. dealbata)
  • Jelly Bush (aka Tea Tree) (Leptospermum polygalifolium) Has similar properties to New Zealands’s Manuka honey (Leptospermum scoparium)
  • Macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia)
  • Mountain Coolibah (E. orgadophila)
  • Mugga Ironbark (aka Red Ironbark, Black Ironbark, Pink-Flowering Ironbark) (E. sideroxylon)
  • Mulga (Acacia aneura)
  • Narrow leaf Ironbark (E. crebra)
  • Red bloodwood (C. gummifera)
  • Red Gum (E. camaldulensis)
  • Red or broadleaved ironbark (E. fibrosa)
  • Red Stringybark (E. Macrorhynncha)
  • Rough-Barked Apple (aka Black Apple)(Angophora floribunda)
  • Salvation Jane (Echium plantagineum)
  • Silver-leaf Ironbark (E. melanophloia)
  • Snowy Mountain Snow Gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora)
  • Spotted gum (E. maculata)
  • St. Barnaby’s Thistle (aka Yellow Starthistle, Golden Starthistle, Yellow Cockspur, Barnaby Thistle, Yellow Burr) (Centaurea solstitialis)
  • Sugar Gum (E. cladocalyx)
  • Sun Flower (Helianthus annuus)
  • Sydney Blue Gum (E. saligna)
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
  • Western Grey Box (E. microcarpa)
  • White Box (E. albens)
  • White Mahogany (E.acmenioides)
  • Woollybutt (E. longifolia)
  • Yapunyah (aka Paroo Honey, Napunyah) (E. ochrophloia)
  • Yellow Box (E. melliodora)Try this - Exceptional
  • Yellow Stringybark (E. muelleriana)

Queensland Honey:

3,113 beekeepers
Early farmers and aboriginal people commonly found honey in hollow trees made by native black, stingless honey bees! Commercial honey production began in 1862 with the arrival of the first Italian bees and later in the 1870’s with the movable frame hive. Stingless bee honey called, “Sugarbag” is still produced here in very small quantities. Native forests and woodlands, particularly eucalypts, make up more than 90% of the floral resources for the Queensland industry. Many of the beekeepers are migratory, moving their hives to areas of nectar producing plants up to six times per year.

  • Bimble Box (E. populnea)
  • Bloodwood (aka Pink Bloodwood)(E. intermedia)
  • Bluetop Ironbark (E. nubila)
  • Broadleaf Ironbark (Eucalyptus fibrosa subsp. fibrosa)
  • Brush Box (Lophostemon conferta)
  • Caley’s Ironbark (E. caleyi)
  • Grey Gum (E. propinqua)
  • Grey Ironbark (E. paniculata)
  • Gumtop Box (aka Brown Box) (E. moluccana)
  • Macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia)
  • Mountain Coolibah (E. orgadophila)
  • Narrow-leaf Ironbark (E. crebra)
  • New England Blackbutt (E. andrewsii subsp. campanulata)
  • Red Stringybark (Eucalyptus Macrorhynhca)
  • Silver-leaf Ironbark (E. melanophloia)
  • Spotted Gum (Corymbia citriodora)
  • Sugarbag (Multifloral) – Honey made by Australian native stingless bees (Trigona carbonaria or T. hockingsi)
  • Tea Tree (Leptospermum Polygalifolium)
  • Tea Tree – also the source of Tea Tree oil(Melaleuca quinquenervia)
  • Yapunyah (aka Paroo Honey) (E. ochrophloia)
  • Yellow Box (E. melliodora)Try
  • Yellow Stringybark (aka White Mahogany) E.acmenioides
  • Queensland Blue Gum (aka Forest Red Gum) (Eucalyptus tereticornis)

Victoria Honey:

2,143 beekeepers
Victoria is Australia’s second smallest state, roughly the size of the British Isles. About 36 per cent of Victoria is covered by forest with the major forest belt in the east. The capital city is Melbourne, which is a short drive to beaches, ski resorts, a richly varied rural hinterland and spectacular forests. Victoria produces almost a quarter of Australia’s total rural output of agricultural and pastoral products. Purchase directly from local growers. For locally grown fresh vegetables, organics, meat, eggs, honey, olives, cakes and much more visit one of the numerous farmers markets or pick-your-own farms across the state.

  • Black Box (E. bicolor)
  • Brown Stringybark (E. capitellata)
  • But But (E. bridgesiana)
  • Coast Banksia (B. integrifolia)
  • Fuzzy Box (E. baueriana)
  • Grey Box (E. hemiphloia)
  • Longleaf Box (E. goniocalyx)
  • Manna Gum (aka White or Ribbony Gum) (E. viminalis)
  • Mealy BlackButt (E. celastroides)
  • Messmate (E. obliqua)
  • Narrow Leaf Peppermint (E. radiata)
  • Red ironbark (E. sideroxylon)
  • Red Mallee (E. gracilis)
  • Red Stringybark (E. macrorhyncha)
  • River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis var. obtusa Blakely)
  • Silvertop (E. sieberi)
  • Spotted Blue Gum (aka Blue or Spotted Gum) (E. maideni, F. v. M.)
  • Sugar Gum (E. cladocalyx)
  • The Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata)
  • White Mallee (E. anceps)
  • Yellow box (E. melliodora)Try this - Exceptional
  • Yellow Gum (aka Blue Gum, White or Smooth Ironbark, White Gum, White Box) (E. leneoxylon)

Western Australia Honey:

712 beekeepers.
Approximately 80 to 90 per cent of the honey produced in Western Australia uses native flora located in conservation areas and state forests. This is part of the state-managed 26 million hectares (or nine per cent) of lands and waters in national parks, conservation parks and reserves, marine parks and reserves, regional parks, nature reserves, and timber reserves in WA.

  • Acorn Banksia (B. prionotes)
  • Coastal blackbutt honey (E. todtiana)
  • Flooded Gum (E. rudis)
  • Forest blackbutt honey (aka Yarri, Blackbutt)(E. patens)
  • Hakea (Hakea spp)
  • Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata)
  • Karri (E. diversicolor)
  • Menzies Banksia (Banksia menziesii)
  • Red gum or Marri (Corymbia calophylla)
  • River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis)
  • Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta)
  • Silver Banksia (B. attenuata)
  • Wandoo (from Powderbark Trees – E. accedens W. Fitzg.)
  • White Gum (E. wandoo)
  • York Gum (E. loxophleba)

South Australia Honey:

724 beekeepers
South Australia has rugged outback wilderness, scenic mountain ranges, an extensive coastline, offshore islands and a large, meandering river. It is the driest State in the driest continent yet has more than 2,300 miles of varied coastline and the Murray River weaves through 400 miles of South Australia. There are also national parks and world heritage listed areas to explore and an outdoor adventure to suit everyone. South Australia is a wine and food center with 13 wine regions and a higher ratio of cafes and restaurants to residents than any other city in Australia.

  • Orange Blossom (Citrus spp.)
  • Beard Heath (Leucopogon parviflorus)>
  • Desert Banksia (Banksia ornata)
  • Desert Styphelia (Styphelia exarrhena)
  • Lucerne (aka Alfalfa) (Medicago sativa)
  • Pink Gum (E. fasciculosa)
  • Red Mallee (E. socialis)
  • River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis var. obtusa Blakely)
  • Salvation Jane (aka Paterson’s Curse or Purple Viper’s Bugloss) (Echium plantagineum)
  • South Australian Blue Gum (aka Yellow Gum in Victoria) (E. leucoxylon)

South Australia – Kangaroo Island Honey:

8 beekeepers
Kangaroo Island is located 100 miles south-west of the city of Adelaide, capital of South Australia and across the 12 miles of the Backstairs Passage. The 1,750 square mile (4,500 sq km) Kangaroo Island is about the size of Trinidad or Bali. It is home to the last remaining pure strain of Ligurian bees (Apis mellifera ligustica) in the world, brought here from Italy in 1881. The Ligurian bee was named for its origin in the Ligurian Alps of the Roman Empire. The importance of the location and bees was recognized almost immediately when, in 1885 it was declared a bee sanctuary. The isolation has also enabled the bees to remain free of bee diseases present on the mainland, so no antibiotics or other chemicals are used in apiary management. These bees remain an important genetic pool of the valuable Linurian Bee known for docility and productivity.

  • Coastal Flora
  • Cup Gum (E. cosmophylla)
  • Mallee (Coastal white mallee – Eucalyptus diversifolia, Kangroo Island malle ash – E. remota, Narrow-Leaf mallee-E. Cneorifolia)
  • Scarlet Bottle Brush (Callistemon rugulosus)
  • South Australian Blue Gum (E. leucoxylon)
  • Stringy Bark (E. baxteri)
  • Sugar Gum (E. cladocalyx)Try this - Exceptional
  • WildFlower (Produced from banksia, hakea, melaleucas and flowering annuals)

Tasmania Honey:

255 beekeepers
Tasmania is an archipelago of more than 300 islands sitting 150 miles (240 kilometres) south-east of mainland Australia. The main island is comparable in size to Ireland or West Virgina (26,000 sq mi or 68,000 sq km). Almost 40% of Tasmania is parks and reserves including the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. About 70% of Tasmania honey is from Leatherwood from rainforests in the southern and western areas of the State largely within production forests or the World Heritage Area.

  • Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus sp agg.)
  • Christmas Bush (Prostanthera lasianthos var. lasianthos)
  • Leatherwood (Eucryphia lucida) Try this - Exceptional
  • Prickly Box (Bursaria spinosa)
  • Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalytus globulus subsp. globulus)

Northern Territory Honey:

7 beekeepers (low estimate)
The Northern Territory covers about one sixth of the Australian continent with an area equal to the combined areas of France, Spain and Italy. About 80% of the Territory lies within the tropics and the 3,900 mile coastline is generally flat and backed by swamps, mangroves and mudflats, rising to a plateau no higher than 450 m. In central Australia, the Territory is crossed by the east-west ridges of the Macdonnell Ranges, which reach heights of more than 600 m. The well-known monolith, Uluru (Ayers Rock), 348 m high, is near the south-west corner of the Territory. The honey industry is small and bees are mainly used for pollination services. Bees are banned from national parks, seriously affecting honey sources since many of the permanent watercourses have been declared national parks.

  • Broad Leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca viridiflora)
  • Darwin Woolybutt (E. miniata)
  • Ironwood (Erythrophleum chlorostachys)
  • Northern Grey Box (E. argillacea)
  • Paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia)
  • Red Bud Mallee (E. pachyphylla)
  • River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis, Dehnh)
  • Salmon Gum (E. salmonophloia)
  • Silver Leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca dealbata)
  • Stringybark (E. tetrodonta)
  • Weeping box (E. patellaris)

Honey Standards:
Australia has a published organic honey standard (see Bee Products-pdf .4 MB) and seven certification agencies. It requires locating hives at least 5 km from pesticide use and prohibits artificial antibiotics. There are many organically certified bee keeping operations.

Honey Festivals:
The Warialda Honey Festival, Gwydir Shire in North-Western New South Wales. Warialda means, “Place of Wild Honey”. Come and try the excellent Tumbledown gum (Angophora costata) honey. Late November.

Morpeth Honey Festival, Morpeth, New South Wales. Late October

The Royal Queensland Show – Ekka In early August. The Ekka is organized by the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland. Held annually in Brisbane for over 130 years it is the most popular event of any sort with over 600,000 visitors in recent years. The Queensland Beekeepers’ Association’s, “Honey Court” has been part of this Show since the beginning. Talk with beekeepers, taste free honey from a variety of sources, buy honey and see demonstrations such as the inside of a hive along with other honey products such as mead and beeswax.
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Resources:
Australian Government: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Honeybee R&D Program

The world history of beekeeping and honey hunting. By Eva Crane

Australian_Farms_Services_Report_ABARE-2003 (pdf 1.8 MB)

Austrailian-Queensland Apiary Report SE 4.2 1998 (pdf .25 MB)

Australian Honeybee Industry Survey 2006–07 (RIRDC Pub. No. 08/170) (pdf .6 MB)

A Field Guide to Native Flora Used by Honeybees in Tasmania (Publication No. 09/149) (pdf 2 MB)

National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce—Edition 3.4 July 2009 (see Bee Products) (pdf .4 MB)

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) Organic Approved Certifying Organizations

Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC)

Flowering Ecology of Honey-Producing Flora in South-East Australia (RIRDC Pub. No. 08/098)

Australian Native Bee Research Center

National Honey Grades

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