Haydon Burford, of First Sun Employment, was stunned when he arrived at Evans Head to find these beehives destroyed by vandals on trail bikes.
Haydon Burford, of First Sun Employment, was stunned when he arrived at Evans Head to find these beehives destroyed by vandals on trail bikes. Jay Cronan

Vandals destroy beehive project

VANDALS who smashed 18 beehives on Aboriginal land at Evans Head have jeopardised a new program that would have provided jobs for local indigenous people.

First Sun Employment general manager, Haydon Burford, has been involved with the program since day one.

He said the plan was to teach Aboriginal people to harvest and then sell medicinal honey.

“Evans Head is one of only a few places in Australia where a particular type of jelly bush grows,” he said.

“This makes a particular type of honey, which is used for medicinal purposes.

“We approached the Bogal Aboriginal Land Council and they said it’d be a great idea.

“So we set up 18 beehives on traditional land at Evans Head, between the headland and the bombing range.”

But disaster struck on the weekend, when vandals smashed all hives.

Mr Burford said it looked like the hives had been knocked off their stands and then run over by trail bikes.

“I went to check on them on the weekend and found that they had all been destroyed,” he said. “They’re all smashed up. Every single one of them.

“The bees are stressed and swarming around and there are tyre marks everywhere.

“I guess we’re just going to have to go out there and see what we can do to save them.

“But a lot of the bees will die because of stress.

“It’s devastating because we’ve put a lot of work into getting them to this stage.”

Yabur Yulgun Aboriginal Corporation spent more than $6000 on the beehives.

Now more money will need to be found for the project to proceed.

Mr Burford said it would have given young indigenous people hands-on experience with beekeeping.

“But this is a major setback for us,” he said.

“What happened was pointless, malicious vandalism. It’s absolutely senseless.”



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