Hall Honeys members Bill Pearson and Jonathan Palmer with ACT for Bees founder Julie Armstrong with some of the bee hotels distributed to Hall households. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
Hall Village is a small township of about 100 households in the north of the Australian Capital Territory, Australia. Officially proclaimed in 1882, Hall Village represents a small rural service centre associated with the pastoral use of the area prior to the formation of the Australian Capital Territory.
What started in 2018 as a small group of Hall Village beekeepers naturally expanded to become a larger group of people – the Hall Honeys – a group of local beekeepers, environmentalists and concerned citizens who appreciated the important role played by pollinators. A discussion about improving the gardens in main street of the Village sparked the idea of establishing Hall as Australia’s first “Bee Friendly Village”. The group resolved to develop and implement a “Bee Friendly Community Charter” with the aim of promoting the health of Bees and other pollinators in our area as well as setting an example that might be emulated by other communities.
With ACT for Bees assistance, a simple Charter was developed:
OUR BEE FRIENDLY COMMUNITY CHARTER
As a “Bee Friendly Community” we will:
Establish and maintain plantings of pollinator safe habitat in public spaces and gardens
Actively collaborate to promote bee and other pollinator health.
Promote awareness of the importance of bees (European and Native) and encourage ‘Bee Friendly’ practices, including ‘bee friendly’ gardens and ‘bee friendly’ pest management
The next step was to engage the residents of Hall to gain their support. The Rotary Club of Hall agreed to sponsor an initiative to educate our community and establish a register of “Bee Friendly Gardens”.
Hall Village Men’s Shed members embraced the challenge of constructing 100 “bee hotels” to provide habitat for native bees and other pollinators. The effort started with a review of literature on what makes a good “hotel”: size, wood type, hole size, depth, and location are all important and ease of construction was also a factor. Men’s Shed and Rotary member Bill Pearson, who has a professional design background, experimented with several designs before perfecting the “Bee Block” – a unique design using recycled hardwood timbers. Bill’s artist wife Andie created a distinctive colour palette for the bee block roofs. Each block is numbered so we can eventually engage the community in “citizen science” monitoring of their use.
The response was astounding – nearly every household participated and signed up. If you walk the streets of Hall, you will see the garden signs proudly on display:
Since that event, the Honeys have undertaken a range of projects to improve habitat and food for pollinators in the Village.
With the aid of Government grants, further assistance from Rotary, and lots of volunteer effort, the Honeys have gone on to:
- Install native bee hotels in Hall’s Reserves
- Meet their excellencies The Governor General and Mrs. Hurley and give them a tour of some Bee Friendly Gardens
- Assist Young Rotarians to construct and install Bee Hotels at the University of Canberra
- Refurbish the garden adjacent to the Headmaster’s Cottage
- Undertake a major upgrade of the gardens in Victoria Street – including Bee Friendly signage
- Participate in Floriade Reimagined by building and installing 80 tulip beds enclosed in recycled timber frames
What is next? Well, there is always more to be done. Hall Village is an increasingly popular destination for Canberrans looking for a quiet walk and a great coffee – we will use our garden beds and signs to educate and engage them in our mission. We would love to work with other communities seeking to promote the health of pollinators. Do come and visit Bee Friendly Hall!
For more information see this short video A Story of Hall.
Read about our walk through the beautiful village of Hall here.
Original article by Jonathon Palmer.
Main Picture by Dion Georgopoulos, published in The Canberra Times – October 20 2019. Read the full article – Hotels for Every Hall Home.