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Mr Justice Boucaut carried the first hive of Italian Ligurian bees to Kangaroo Island on his ketch, the Hawthorn, as consigned by AE Bonney, bound for Mr Buick of American River, on Easter Sunday, 13 April. In June of this year, colonies were also sent to John Turner on Kangaroo Island.



September 30th 1885 Ligurian Bee Act passed by South Australian Parliament. 1885 - 1886 3 imported queens shipped through AE Bonney, Adelaide, to Kangaroo Island.



John Masterman, Inspector of Apiaries, visited Kangaroo Island to make routine apiary inspections and was impressed by the Island's feral colonies of Ligurian bees.



Arnold Ophel, Inspector of Apiaries, inspected the Island and its bees.



V. Bellchambers of Kangaroo Island was interested to obtain bees from Flinders Chase.



DG Weidenhofer expressed interest to establish beekeeping sites on Flinders Chase.



The Australian Honey Producers Co-Operative Society (AHPCS) was interested to obtain bees from Flinders Chase and to establish beekeeping sites on the Chase in consultation with the Flora & Fauna Board (F & FB). In November the Director of Agriculture recognised that the Kangaroo Island Ligurian bee should be safeguarded and utilised. In December, Arnold Ophel visited Kangaroo Island with Mr D Weidenhofer as an adviser to the AHPCS.

                                 Ophel submitted his "Further Report on Kangaroo Island, 29 October 1943" to        The Chief Inspector of Apiaries.

                                 Government Cabinet decision on 23 December to establish Ligurian Bee    Breeding on Kangaroo Island (The recommendation went to the Minister on 29   November 1943)


1944                          First record of income to the F & FB from AHPCS hives on the Chase        Arnold Ophel established the Department of Agriculture's Ligurian queen bee rearing project on Flinders Chase. 

                                 The shed for tools and the apiary vehicle, and to house the honey extractor was     erected on the Chase in April.


1945                          John Masterman went to Flinders Chase in charge of the Ligurian Bee farm.


1945 – 1946/1947       The AHPCS continued to operate hives on Flinders Chase.

                                 The F & FB considered embarking on bee farming on the Chase.

                                 John Masterman reported to the Acting Chief Inspector, 30 August 1945, on the     possibility of 'a new site for the Government apiaries, nearer to Kingscote.'


1944 May to               Delays in stud stock readiness for issue to mainland beekeepers due to lack of 1945 March                                 apiary assistance and equipment.



1945                          John Masterman advised the Department of Agriculture against permitting the September   AHPCS to take over the Department's Ligurian Bee Stud Farm on Flinders   Chase.


1945                          Bees supplied to mainland and interstate beekeepers from Kangaroo Island.


1947                          Agreement by the Department of Agriculture and the Chase apiary to advertise       queen bees for sale regularly.  Weidenhofer intended to remove all his staff from       Flinders Chase and give up all bee work on Kangaroo Island.   Late this year,            Arnold Ophel retired as Apiaries Inspector.


1949                          Closer co-operative work (and practical divisions) between the Department of October        Agriculture and the Waite Agricultural Research Institute agreed to (i.e., the   divisions of service work, fundamental research work, and extension work).


1951                          An apiary was encouraged to be kept by the Caretaker of Kelly Hill Caves (under February  Tourist Bureau and Department of Agriculture agreement).


1952                          Department of Agriculture began bee-breeding production trials (1952-1954)


1953                          Further tests by the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science for Nosema February          disease on Kangaroo Island and the mainland.


1954                          Three-year comparison tests between the Ligurian and other bees (particularly         Carniolan and Caucasian) made on the mainland.


1954                          Letter from Department of Agriculture to the Waite Institute about general co -

July                           operative work. D.C. Swan, Mr. North, the Department's secretary, and Ophel         visited the Chase; and Ophel contacted overseas apicultural authorities for             advice and tests of Kangaroo Island Ligurians.


1955                          Intimations that the Department of Agriculture might not wish to continue the          Flinders Chase Apiary.  Swan corresponded over the year with John Eckert,       California, on his concerns about the queen-rearing apiary on the Chase.


                                 Swan suggested:

  • further production tests on the mainland by departmental apiarists with a view to colony production and achievement of vigorous, productive commercial queens by early generation hybrids.

  • maintenance of the Flinders Chase hives in the short term along the lines (paras. 2-4) set out in a letter of Dr. Harry H. Laidlaw jnr., Associate Professor of Apiculture and Entomology, University of California.

  • queens should not yet be sold.

  • honey production to be subordinate to the breeding program.

  • a longer-term program of testing of different lines to be established.the same for queen testing.

  • perhaps to modify the Act that declares Kangaroo Island a sanctuary for Ligurian bees only.

  • that there is a need for a scientific apiculturist and for bee research (including artificial insemination), which could be accommodated at the Waite Institute.



1956                          On his first visit to Kangaroo Island to inspect private apiaries under the Apiaries    Act, 1931-1943, Mr. J.D. Purdie, Inspector of Apiaries, decided to concentrate          his observations on the government's Ligurian Bee Project.


1957 to                      Visit to Australia of Professor John Eckert, University of California, Davis. His March 1958 first visit Kangaroo Island was in November 1957.


1958                          Extensive bushfires on Flinders Chase destroy flora and some government February          hives.

                                 John Eckert's second visit to the government Bee Farm.

                                 Decision to move the bee hives to unaffected country at the Kangaroo Island         Research Centre, Parndana East.

                                 27 May, Keith M. Doull presented his three-page 'Kangaroo Island Ligurian             Bees - Standards of Excellence for Queen Breeding”, based on John Eckert's            advice for the new breeding program.

                                 Keith Doull sent the first record forms for queen breeding and hive management    on 6 June to Edward Roffey Mitchell, Officer-in-Charge of the government      apiary. 

                                 8 July, Doull gave his one-page report, 'Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bees –    Procedure in the Selection and Testing of Queen Bees', based on procedures         laid down by Eckert.

                                 E.R. Mitchell wrote to the apiarist, Brother Adam, South Devon on 13 August for    his advice on designing a queen-rearing apiary house at Parndana East.

                                 Doull submitted his three-page report, 'Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bee Project –       Report of A Visit to the Apiaries, November 1958'.


1958                          Flinders Chase Apiary shed re-erected at Parndana Research Centre site. December           Mitchell wrote to Mr. Clair Scarfe, Wirrabara, asking for design details of his        comb-warming room.

                                 Hives from Parndana were taken to Flinders Chase during October- November        (now under the responsibility of the Fauna and Flora Board).

                                 Part of the Parndana apiary equipment sent to Undalya, Auburn, (John       Masterman's home, and his headquarters as Apiary Inspector from March     1961), and to the Waite Institute and the Department of Agriculture, Adelaide.

                                 Final decisions on the future of the Ligurian Bee Project were pending.


1959                          Doull's 'Report on an Inspection of the Kangaroo Island Ligurian Bee Project          13th - 18th April 1959' sent to the Director of Agriculture on 20 April.

                                 Purdie submitted his eight-page report, 23 April 1959, on the Parndana project       (he reported on the shed, the need for rainwater, and on other facilities and

                                 Inspected the government hive colonies).

                                 Doull's four-page 'A reconsideration of Certain Aspects and Suggestions for the    1959-60 Breeding Season', and his revised apiary record sheets and notes on        recording methods were written (25 June 1959).

                                 On 16 July six Ligurian queens were air freighted under Doull's instructions to         Brother Adam at Devon, England for his comment on their general behaviour.


1959                          Cancellation  of the  Parndana  shed  extension  and  partitioning  for improved September                                 facilities (decided finally only in November 1961  that the shed would not be           needed).

                                 Mr. G.A. Mack, Chief Inspector of Apiaries, sent his two-page report on     'Suggested Apicultural Research' (3 September 1959) to the Director of




1960                          On 16 May 1960 the Director of Agriculture recommended closure of the    Ligurian Bee Project on Kangaroo Island.

                                 Letter from the Department, 6 June 1960, to the Flora and Fauna Board and to       all apiary employees notifying them of the intended changes at Parndana, and            advising that the future of the Ligurian Bee Project will soon be decided.

                                 Receipt of Brother Adam's report dated 24 June, and report, 23 July 1960, from     the National Agricultural Advisory Service, Rothamsted Lodge, Harpenden,    Hertfordshire, on matters on the Ligurian bee raised by Doull.                                


1960                          Calls for disposal of bee equipment at Parndana; and 25 department hives were August     transferred to the Waite Institute, Urrbrae.

                                 Suggested re-organisation of the bee breeding program set out by Marshall R.       Irving, Chief, Division of Animal Industry, Department of Agriculture.


1962                          Director of Agriculture suggests transferring all the Parndana equipment then on March       the mainland to the Waite Institute and offers the services of J.D. Purdie to work         with Dr. Keith Doull, entomologist, Waite Institute, after Doull's return from his        overseas study of bee diseases, pollination, and the physiology of egg production.


                                 J.D. Purdie to work from 1 May 1962 at the Waite Institute with Keith Doull.


1972                          On 3 July 1972, the entire responsibility and assets of the Fauna and Flora

                                 Board were placed under the control of the Department of Environment and

                                 Conservation, which thereby acknowledged ownership and subsequent      registration of the hives moved from Parndana to Flinders Chase.


1973                          In December, Professor J. Woyke, Head, Bee Division of the Agricultural   University, Warsaw, Poland, took up a University of Adelaide Research         Fellowship in genetics, focusing on the Ligurian bee. Woyke examined about 10                              per cent of Kangaroo Island commercial hives. At that time there were some 300    hived colonies on the Island.


1974                          Mr. G.A. Lonzar, Ranger, reported that the government hives at Flinders Chase

                                 had died out and only six hives registered in his name remained.


1975                          P.R. Harvey, Chief Veterinary Officer, proposed a rebirth of the Kangaroo Island

June                          Ligurian bee gene pool by arrangement with commercial apiarists on Kangaroo