A bee on a leatherwood flower (R Stephens, Mole Creek)
Tasmania is exceptional as the sole world producer of leatherwood honey, a high-quality honey with a unique flavour and aroma. Leatherwood grows solely in the pristine rainforests of the west coast, many listed as World Heritage sites. This honey was first produced commercially in the early 1920s at Strahan, being sold locally and to ships' crews. Beekeepers then began the annual migration of hives between the leatherwood blossom in summer and production plants in other parts of the state. Each hive produces about 60 kilograms in an average year. A fine white honey is also produced from clover and blackberry flowers. The Tasmanian Bee Keepers' Association, formed in 1947, promotes Tasmanian honey locally, nationally and internationally. Its ongoing concerns are inroads by the timber industry and pesticides.
Further reading: S & R Holland, Australians, Sydney, 2000; Tasmanian Beekeepers' Association, The first fifty years, n.p, 1995.