The early days
My father, Murray Edmonds, started beekeeping after the Second World War. He received his first hive from his Uncle Len Williams. Prior to that, he had spent holidays with family members who were beekeepers near Tallangatta working bee hives on Red Gum honey flows. Dad kept bees at Ruby (Gippsland), where he worked as a teacher.
He then shifted back to Geelong and kept his bees at the You Yangs, Brisbane Ranges, Bannockburn and Balliang. I would as a child accompany him and help a bit, retiring after a few bee stings to explore the bush.
When I started work at Hawkes Bros, times were tough, and the company changed ownership and looked like closing the Hardware section. So every night Dad and I would nail bee boxes and frames and I started to keep my own bees.
Edmonds Honey begins
I purchased bee hives and a honey extracting caravan from a retiring beekeeper, and Dad suggested we form a partnership in 1982.
We gathered a huge honey crop from Grey Box at Castlemaine and could not to sell it to Honey Packers as the market was glutted. So we started packing honey and selling it at various markets. The business grew, and we started selling honey to fruit and vegetable shops as well as to supply distributors, who then sold it at markets and other stores.
The business expands
Queen rearing was done for our own bee hives, but soon other beekeepers wanted a supply of queens. We tried all the races of bees but discovered the best for the Southern Victoria region was Carniolan. They proved to be thrifty, docile, still on comb, productive, disease resistant and excellent wintering.
Dad retired from the business in 2001 after a nasty car accident. My friend Leon Layton became ill and I took over his Beekeeping Equipment sales.
I have approximately 500 bee hives in the Western half of Victoria for honey production. I keep the bee hives mostly on forest bee sites or on farms beside the natural bush land. Honey is produced without chemicals and is a as natural as possible and we endeavour to have straight-line varieties. I also still operate Nucleus hives for queen breeding around Geelong.
On top of stocking a comprehensive range of standard stock, I am also the Victorian agent for AgriSea bee supplement, specific China Bee beekeeping equipment; I have my own light weight blue beekeeping jackets made for me, and I own the moulds for the EzyComb honeycomb cassettes system.