Beekeeping isn’t just a vocation, it’s a family tradition.
Many of our Capilano beekeepers have passed their craft down to their children and grandchildren, who continue to supply their honey to us today.
You’ll find our salt of the earth beekeepers right across our great country. From the east coast of beautiful Byron Bay right across the Nullarbor to remote Western Australian townships, our beekeepers bring you their unique taste of Australia. We’re proud to support over 800 families – here’s a few of their stories.
Based in Glen Innes in the Northern Tablelands, the Alt family were one of the first suppliers to Capilano many decades ago. Jack has passed down the art of beekeeping to sons Peter and Tim, and many other local families, and now Tim is passing the trade down to the next generation. The Alts are proud to produce a beautiful Aussie Honey for Capilano.
Wayne Simpkins hails from the Northern New South Wales town of Emmaville. However, like all beekeepers, travels far and wide in search of honey. He is pictured here on the outskirts of Gunnedah with his son, Brock, a fifth-generation beekeeper. We are thrilled to see Brock following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Barry.
Graham Baker started supplying Capilano back in 1983 when he began his beekeeping operation with just 90 hives. He’s worked hard to grow his beekeeping operation exponentially since those days and we are thrilled to say the legacy of Baker Beekeeping will continue with Graham’s son, Jake, who is one very impressive young beekeeper indeed. His dad and mum, Karen, are very proud of this hardworking young man and so are we.
Located in Glen Innes, Jeff & Debbie Smith operate their hives across the picturesque Northern New South Wales Tablelands. Jeff learnt beekeeping from his father, in addition to working as a busy tradesman. Jeff and Debbie’s son, Brendon, also a skilled tradesman like his dad, is showing some great promise in beekeeping.
Another of our long term beekeepers from the New England region, the Elliotts have been loyally supplying honey to Capilano for over 40 years. The patriarch and first-generation beekeeper, Vince, taught his son, Phil, all there is to know about beekeeping. Now Phil is mentoring his sons, Ryan and Bryce to take over the family business.
Ian Carpenter is a passionate first-generation beekeeper who has been a Capilano supplier for over thirty years. He is pictured here on his property nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range near the Lockyer Valley. Excitingly, Ian has two young ladies as his apprentices learning all there is to know about commercial beekeeping. We love seeing our long-term beekeepers passing their incredible knowledge down to the next generation.
Rodney Ruge has been a loyal Capilano supplier for 30 years. He has thankfully passed his beekeeping experience down to his three strapping sons – Clinton, Bruce and William who will carry on the family tradition. Rodney has a fleet of three vehicles to transport his 2,000 hives and is pictured here on the scenic Darling Downs near his hometown of Kleinton just north of Toowoomba.
Based in Allora, Cameron and Stuart work with their father, Neil, and mother, Sharon, producing honey and performing pollination all around South East and Central Queensland. These dedicated young men also help their parents run a family owned and operated beekeeping equipment business, Dalrymple View Apiary Supplies, that proudly produce beekeeping gear out of Australian grown hoop pine timber. Can’t get more Aussie than that!
Based in Murray Bridge along the mighty Murray river, Nigel & Natalie Marsh have supplied Capilano with pure Aussie honey for close to 20 years. In addition to producing honey from pristine South Australian bushland, Nigel’s bees pollinate important food crops that help feed us all.
Meet Carolyn Smith, a very skilled beekeeper from Tailem Bend in South Australia. For many in the beekeeping community the craft is often passed onto the next generation. However, the occurrence of young people choosing beekeeping as a career is decreasing. This is why we’re so buzzed that Carolyn’s son, Jack, has chosen to ‘bee a beekeeper’ and carry on the family tradition.
Jack has grown up with beekeeping in his blood. He knew from very early on that a job indoors was never going to cut it for him. Based in Cooke Plains, SA, in the Murraylands, he truly thrives in the outdoors working in nature along with his Mum, Carolyn. Jack has been learning from some of the best beekeepers in South Australia and it truly shows. This young gun is a honey producer, pollinator, learning to breed queens and an executive on the South Australian Apiarists’ Association!
We’re proud to introduce the Hampels, a hardworking farming family of seven from Ebenezer in South Australia. Stephen is a first-generation beekeeper and has been beekeeping ever since he was a kid, starting with just 10 hives. The family also run cattle, sheep and crops alongside their very successful beekeeping business.
The Dyers are a hardworking beekeeping family based in Williamstown in South Australia. Craig and Dianne are overjoyed that their eldest son, Joshua, will be carrying on the family tradition of beekeeping and producing quality South Australian honey all around the southern fringe of the beautiful Barossa Valley.
The Hoopers are another of our South Australian suppliers who run their beekeeping operation out of Tintinara, two hours East of Adelaide. Robert has loyally supplied to Capilano for over 20 years. His son, Ben, has also taken to the trade, following in his father’s footsteps. A motivated young beekeeper, Ben’s been heavily involved in industry including his tenure as president of the South Australian Apiarists and his organisation of the 3rd Australian Honey Bee Congress in 2018.
Just like his brother Ross, Ian runs a beekeeping business with his wife, Mel, in addition to being busy parents to their adorable son, Joel. Like many of our beekeepers, Ian is very involved in the industry and has had held positions within the South Australian Apiarists Association and most notably been an executive member of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC).
Hailing from Jamestown, and a long lineage of beekeeping, Josh & Mitch Wehrmann are fourth-generation beekeepers who are learning the trade from their parents James and Wanda. Hungry to learn all there is to professional beekeeping, Josh has recently completed his Certificate III in Beekeeping through Tocal College and Mitch is embarking on a school-based apprenticeship in beekeeping. Pictured here with their dad, we couldn’t be prouder of these young guns and can’t wait to see them successfully continue on the family tradition.
Alan & Michelle Cotton run a commercial beekeeping operation based in Keith, South Australia. Alan is a second-generation beekeeper and was one of the first Capilano suppliers from South Australia. He started supplying when he was just sixteen years of age in the 1970’s and has been with the company ever since. Many of Alan’s 800 hives are over 100 years old and crafted from Californian Redwood. Alan is pictured here unloading bees on Blue Gum.
Pictured here is Lynda and Brett Lutze with their hives in the Ngarkat, located in the south-eastern corner of South Australia. With home-base in Keith, the Lutzes travel up to this unique wilderness to tend to apiaries nestled in the 270,152 hectares of sandy dunes, stretches of Mallee and banksia heathland that their bees love.
Based in beautiful Beechina, David & Leilani Leyland are commercial beekeepers with over 36 years’ experience and over 1,000 hives. They love the travel involved in keeping bees and visiting the goldfields area, camping overnight in the swag under crystal clear skies. Deeply connected to Western Australia’s unique and abundant floral landscape, they are master beekeepers who intuitively understand the floral cycles, seasons and expertise in bee nutrition and share their knowledge and skills widely.
Based in beautiful Karrakup, Mike and his son, Callum, have learnt all there is to know about bees, trees and beekeeping in the South-Western pocket of Australia from Ken, Mike’s father – a skilled first-generation commercial beekeeper. The Spurges specialise in producing Certified Organic honey in some of the most pristine forests in the world.
A fifth-generation beekeeper, Peter learnt the art of beekeeping from parents, and industry legends, Bob McDonald OAM (1931-2020) & Eileen McDonald OAM. Based near quaint Castlemaine, Peter and Michelle operate a thriving family business tending to 1,500 hives and are proud to be passing their craft down to their children.
Lindsay’s father, Albert started supplying Capilano when the Company’s factory in Maryborough first opened. The vintage Dodge pictured was purchased in 1980 second hand. Lindsay and Albert built a tray for the truck and together they worked their bees until Albert passed away in 1991. Lindsay continued to use the truck until 2012 and now runs about 400 hives with his son Tony, a fourth-generation beekeeper.
An impressive five generations of beekeeping knowledge lives on through Steven Gell. Pictured here with his grandfather, Alan, and father, Ken, who have passed down the unique craft of Victorian beekeeping to him, such as producing glorious honey in the iconic Mallee. Based in Maryborough, his family was one of the first to join Capilano’s cooperative back in the 1970s. When he’s not busy with the bees, Steven dedicates a lot of his time to his local beekeeping branch and his state association as an Executive on both.
Ray Hall was one of Capilano’s original Victorian suppliers who began supplying the company’s factory in Maryborough, Victoria in November 1973. Ray is a past chairman of Capilano’s Board of Directors and remains to this day keenly interested in the company’s success. His son, Mark joined the family business as a teenager and the two have been working together to supply Capilano honey ever since.