Tales of younger years and native bees by E. Paul Doughty

I love talking to people about bees and back in November 2015 I had the pleasure of talking to a gentleman from Sydney who was inquiring about Native bees. ¬†We must have talked for close to an hour and he told me a story of when he was younger of how an aboriginal tracker located a stingless bee hive. ¬†The story was amazing and I asked him kindly to put pen to paper so I could share it with you. In his words ….

Here is the  experience I had at about 12/13 years old, one summer school holidays around 1950,we lived in a suburb in Sydney called South Coogee, I can hear my Grandmother saying to my mum why were we living in the pits , we could not afford any more at the time I think my parents were paying 8 to 10 shillings a week for my father had just returned after war service. You cannot afford to buy there now for the semi detached we lived in would be around $2.million now.

I was lucky to be sent on school holidays to Charleville, Qld. I also remember it took 4 days to get there through Brisbane,and then on to Charleville after waiting on the Brisbane central Station for half a day to catch to the next train, for these trains were cheap to travel on for they were mail trains and stopped at every country town and whistle stop and fettlers camp along the track.. The people we were to stay with whose name was Philotte and the owners of the Station, picked us up in a American army Jeep with trailer and I think the station was called WALLALL.

It was here an Aborigine guess what his name was your right JACKIE took me and showed me how they found honey in the bush , he caught an Australian native bee and attached a filament of sheep wool attached it to the back of the bee and we followed on horseback which took some time, eventually he found the tree with an old hollow branch where the hive was. JACKIE lassoed the branch and attached¬† 2 ropes¬† and snapped the branch off stuffed the broken end with a sugar bag with mud into it to seal the end and then towed it back to the homestead hung it up out the back of the house and drained the honey into a 44 gal drum .It produced about 1/4 to 1/3 of the drum of honey, Jackie used a long stick to make the honey run free.¬† What a lesson for a city/ suburban boy to learn, I’ve never forgotten this experience, and I checked on the Pholitts and the station has been sold a few years back.

Kindest Regards  E.Paul Doughty

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