Established in 1964, The Hunter Valley Amateur Beekeepers Club now has over 200 members with many experienced beekeepers of all ages.

What we do…

  • Meet once a month on a Sunday morning (ex: July and December) to discuss all things bees (including Native Bees) and club related activities.
  • Organise regular visits to the club apiary under with the guidance of our more experience members
  • Advice and assistance to beginners
  • Q & A sessions each meeting
  • Offer peer support and mentors for our members
  • Conduct Beginning in Bees Courses
  • Participate in community information sessions such as:
    • information stalls at events and regional Agricultural Shows
    • School visits
    • Workshops

The Hunter Valley Amateur Beekeeping Association was formed in East Maitland in 1964 as the third branch of the Amateur Beekeeping Association of NSW. This was ten years after the establishment of the parent body in Sydney and 29 years before the Hunter Valley Branch of the professional Apiarists’ Association was formed.

Early apiaries were in Kotara and Martinsville and meetings were held in a church hall in Adamstown. In the 1990s membership dwindled but revival followed shift of activities to the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens, a move facilitated by two office bearers, Derek Humphries and Ray Bohlsen who were gardens volunteers.

Originally honey extraction was performed under shade cloth inevitably attracting myriads of bees, until the original small building was extensively renovated to house extraction equipment and approximate to food preparation requirements.

The symbiotic relationship with the Gardens has persisted with mutual benefit, the apiary located deep in the Gardens bushland growing to 20 hives.

With the cooperation of the Board, a honey shed was erected by beekeeper members in 2002 and later extended in 2008. With increasing membership and activities, a shipping container has been added nearby for further storage.

Membership has grown from single figures in the 1990s to over 280 in 2019. Meetings held on the fourth Sunday of the month at a picnic table under a tree were originally attended by a handful of members. With the blessing of the Gardens Board the “Volunteer” rotunda and more recently the larger Environment have provided more amenable accommodation for the many members and visitors attending meetings.

The club has enjoyed association with Tocal Agricultural College since the first Field Day there in 1979, a relationship shared with the corresponding branch of the professional Apiarists’ Association.

Jim Wright on his way to the meeting 24-Nov-2019

Jim Wright

Jim became a beekeeper when he was around 12 years old and living with his parents on a farm south of Coffs Harbour. He had to leave his beekeeping when he started his training at Sydney University and became an eminent paediatric surgeon in the Hunter. However, the lovely ladies found him again when a swarm turned up in his garden in Newcastle when he was in his mid 30s.
On his retirement in 1995 his interest in backyard beekeeping became an enjoyable hobby which kept him entertained for many hours, and most likely out of his lovely wife and children’s hair! Although this did not stop him from suggesting that his wife partake in a study to see if bee stings would actually help with the arthritis in her knee, as some people where purporting it would. I do not know what her actual words were but I do know the study did not proceed.
Jim served tirelessly for 13 years as the Secretary of the HVABA and provided valuable assistance to the NSWABA, for which he was awarded life membership. He has continued to mentor and educate beekeepers and the general community through newspaper articles, books and teaching.
His knowledge, mentorship and friendship is appreciated immensely by many.

The Hunter Valley Amateur Beekeepers Association membership is run and managed on a statewide level by the Amateur Beekeepers Association of New South Wales (ABA).

To apply to join our club, please go to the Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW Website

Once on the website click “Apply to Join”

Click Here to visit the site.