Sharon Griffiths is leading a team of individuals in the upcoming elections to give community and business a voice. Chrissy Jones caught up with the very busy lady who is bringing 27 years of local business experience as a business owner and 35 years of local knowledge to the upcoming Council elections.
After a widely respected stint as our local State Member, Peter Besseling is once again putting his hand up for public office – this time for Port Macquarie-Hastings Mayor.
Lisa Intemann is a name that is no stranger to long term residents of the Hastings. After three terms already as a Councillor, Lisa is running again, with a vast amount of experience on her side.
Mayoral candidate, local businessman and returned serviceman Keith Wilkinson talks with FOCUS about how his vision for the future is not just his, but the vision for the whole community.
We last spoke to Dr Fred Lips as the Australian Labor Party Candidate in the last Federal Election. This time Fred is part of the Country Labor team and running for Councillor.
Ian Oxenford leads the Greens groups in the forthcoming local Council elections. Ian believes Councils are more than just roads, rates and rubbish…
Passionate local and Country Labor Candidate in the 2011 NSW state elections, Peter Alley is running for Mayor in the September elections. Peter is looking forward to the challenge of working through the many issues that face our community.
Well known first for her print making, a key focus of Wendy Stokes’ art practice since the late 1990s has been her stunning and distinctive paintings…
If you’re an art connoisseur, you can’t afford to miss this event! Twenty-five local personalities have created an array of artwork, which will be auctioned at Port Macquarie Panthers on March 9. The funds raised will go towards the Port Macquarie Music Eisteddfod, helping to promote the creative diversity within our local area.
Port Macquarie local, Ryley Batt, is aiming for his third consecutive Paralympic Games in the sport of Wheelchair Rugby, at the tender age of twenty-two.
Smooth, golden honey … drizzled on porridge, stirred into a cuppa, used as a glaze on succulent ham. Mouth-watering and deliciously fresh, Daryl Brenton, ‘The Beekeeper’, tells us about his liquid gold produce.
How did you first become interested in keeping bees?
My father has always had hundreds of beehives, so I guess it’s always been in the blood. I used to help out as a kid whenever I could, building new honey frames, extracting the honey or helping to shift the bees, when they weren’t too cranky.
After school I got a job with Customs and worked mostly in North Queensland, but still liked to help out whenever I was home. Seven years ago, I decided to leave Customs to work the bees with my father before he retired.
What’s involved in the day to day (or week to week) running of your business?
It’s all about the bees. You have to look after them. I run a migratory beekeeping business, which means that I move the bees throughout the state, according to the seasons and flowering cycles of trees. This way I can manage to produce honey most of the year, and it allows me to get different varieties of honey according to where and when I shift the bees.
My bees can be located anywhere up to 8 hours away. A lot of time needs to be spent driving around looking at the trees, to see if they are going to flower this year or next. I know what trees are good for honey production, and it’s a matter of looking at where that specific variety grows, knowing what time of the year it is likely to flower and deciding if it’s worth shifting bees into the area, or looking elsewhere for something better.
In general terms, a Eucalypt that flowers this year probably won’t flower next year, but may be good to return to every third year. I need to keep an eye on a large area of country.
Shifting bees onto the next ‘honey flow’ is a big part of the job. Bees will forage for nectar and pollen during daylight and return to their colonies at night. When I’ve decided that it’s time to move the bees onto somewhere better, it’s a matter of loading the hives onto the truck just on dark, then driving through the night to the new site. I’ll unload the bees on arrival and before sunup, when they start to fly again.
When the bees have filled their hives with honey (and there’s more available for them to gather), I’ll take the truck out with empty honey boxes and swap them for the ones the bees have filled with honey.
The tricky bit is getting the bees out of the honey boxes I want to take home. Back home on the property with a truck load of honey, the next job is to extract it from the frames. Modern uncapping and centrifuge equipment is used to spin the fresh honey from the frames.
The honey is then pumped into settling tanks and can either be run into 1,000 litre containers for sale to honey packers, or I can select and bottle some for my own label. At times, this freshly extracted honey would have been nectar in a flower only two weeks earlier.
And there’s always maintenance of equipment … trucks, vehicles, beekeeping equipment.
How many bees and hives do you currently own – and what particular type of bees are they?
I’ve got 1,500 hives. The numbers of bees in each hive varies according to the season − less in winter, tens of thousands in each hive in spring and summer. They’re an Italian strain of the European Honey Bee. In general, not too cranky − and excellent honey producers.
Where do you actually source bees from, if you want to establish more hives?
During spring, when bees naturally ‘build up’, hives can be ‘split’ from an established colony into an empty hive, and you can either buy a queen bee from a breeder or trick the bees into rearing their own queen.
I try to re-queen my hives every summer (replace the old queen with a new one from a specialised queen bee breeder. You can order them 200 at a time, and they get posted in the mail. A healthy colony with a young queen has a better chance of surviving a tough winter.
What are some of the special skills you need to be a competent beekeeper?
A sweet tooth, a strong back and a high pain tolerance!
What are some of the different kinds of honey/beeswax products you stock?
While I produce a variety of honeys, I bottle three of my favourites: Yellow Box Honey – usually gathered from near Armidale around October / November; Stringy Bark Honey – usually from near Tamworth or Armidale, collected through autumn; and Iron Bark Honey from near Kempsey or Wauchope in the summer months.
I also produce a high quality, very clean beeswax, which is ready for use in cosmetics manufacture or candle making.
In your opinion, what are some of the noticeable differences in the taste, colour and texture of the different varietals of honey you produce? What’s your favourite?
I like my Yellow Box Honey in a cup of tea, on cereal, or on vanilla ice-cream. The Iron Bark Honey is great drizzled on a sliced banana on toast or on fruit salad. The flavour of the bright amber coloured Stringy Bark Honey is strong and pleasant, with a hint of caramel … excellent on porridge or spread thickly on scones or pancakes. I eat heaps of the stuff!
A lot of study has been done with bees, in many different areas. What are some things about these insects that you find particularly fascinating?
Different types of honey make the bees behave in different ways. Bees working a forest of flowering Spotted Gum trees or a crop of Canola can be particularly cranky; yet shift the same bees onto a paddock of clover or a forest of flowering Iron Bark trees, and they are generally gentle as you’d like.
They have a brilliant work ethic. If the sun’s shining and there’s honey in the flowers, the bees will work all day.
There are studies being done overseas in using the honey bee in drug and landmine detection.
Where is the best place for people to source your products?
The Growers Market, Bago and Cassegrain Wineries, the Glasshouse Gift Shop, in Timbertown and Essential Ingredients.
I attend the Foreshore Market in Port Macquarie (at Westport Park) on the second Saturday of each month.
I’d love to find a distributor, as I often get people from out of town who have bought some honey while on holidays in Port Macquarie and ring me up looking for where to get it in their area.
100% Australian honey is the one people need to look for. Australian honeys are produced mainly from native forests; many imported honeys are collected from crops. Australia is the only remaining major honey producing country that is free of some of the world’s major bee pests.
Interview by Jo Atkins.
From the age of 6, local surfer Todd Bourke has been ripping in the surf. Inspired by our own local legends, Todd has just won the Men’s Open regional titles at the age of only 17.
When did you start surfing?
Dad first taught me to surf in Bali when I was around 6-years-old. It was the first time I had gotten on a surfboard, and I loved it. At about 9, we moved to Port, where I got my first surfboard – and I have been surfing ever since. Port is such a good place to start surfing.
Who have been your surfing inspirations?
Like many kids, I was always inspired by Kelly Slater. He was always in every magazine I read, or movie I watched, so I just loved him. He really is the best there ever has been and the best there ever will be.
Mick Campbell is also someone I have looked up to since I was a grommet. For someone who was once second in the world, he has shown people the talent Port Macquarie can produce. He is always so keen for a surf and just frothing in general. Ever since I have known him, he has been keen to help the kids from port with their surfing. Having a guy like him in the water is good, as he is always keeping it fun. He has also shown that with dedication and the right mindset, anything can be achieved. I think that’s what kids look up to.
Other guys like Donavon Frankinreiter inspire me, as he gets paid to write music and surf – which I think would be one of the best jobs in the world.
Wayne Morrison and Mitch Vanderveer are also 2 local guys whom I have always been inspired by. Everybody knows they rip, and being able to see them surf gets me hungry to keep improving. Wayne has always helped me and the local kids with surfing and training – and still does. If he sees you slacking in the surf or at training, he will make sure you work hard to improve.
You’ve had some great results in surfing comps. What one stands out for you?
Recently one that stands out for me would have to be winning the Men’s Open regional titles this year. It was my first year competing in the Opens, so I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s a bit different surfing against grown men and people you have watched growing up, compared to surfing against a couple of grommets. Surfing against older guys, I think drives you to surf better, as you feel as though you have to step up to another level of surfing.
You’re lucky enough to have some great sponsors. What kind of support do they give you?
My main sponsor, Oakley, support and help me heaps! They make sure I have everything, from clothes to sunnies to bags or hats. Keeping them happy is something that I try and aim for, because you only get out what you put in, so I try my best to promote them. I’ll make sure I keep in contact with them every week! My most recent sponsor is Xcel, who support me with wetsuits. It’s definitely a bonus having a new wetsuit for winter. It gets you keener to get out there on those cold winter mornings. Ocean and Earth support me with surfing accessories, from legropes to boardcovers, to tailpads. Greg Masters, the area rep for Ocean and Earth, happens to live in Port, so it’s really good to see him in the surf and catch up!
Saltwater Wine Surf has been supporting me since I first stepped foot on a surfboard. Macca, Porky and the crew have been so good to me, and I’m lucky enough to have a job there as well. Having good boards is pretty much a must have. Hayden shapes surfboards; he sends me a new board every few months. It seems every board they make me is better then the last, and I haven’t snapped one yet! Bells Bakery happens to make the best food in town, and I’m lucky enough to have them supporting me also.
Do you have any surfing adventures planned for the future?
The Telos Islands is a place where I have always wanted to go. The climate is so tropical, and the waves look amazing. It’s crazy to think that they have built a 5-star resort there, and the locals still live in huts.
I would also love to travel to places which aren’t typical for surfers to go, somewhere cold or with a slim chance of waves. I think it would make it that much more rewarding if you did score some waves and more of an adventure, rather than knowing the waves you’re going to be surfing.
Where are you hoping your surfing will take you in the future?
I’m just hoping my surfing will take me to places where I am always enjoying myself. Whether it’s free surfing or surfing in a contest, I would like to think that I would be having fun. I hate how some people are so focused on competition, sometimes they forget how to just surf with their mates and hang out.
What was your all time best session in the surf?
I’d have to say the best waves I’ve ever surfed were in Bali at Uluwatu, when I was 15. It was the first time I’d ever really had the chance to experience some heavier waves outside of home. It took me a while to get used to it, as it was about 6 – 8 foot and so different to everything I’d ever experienced. My mate Matt Banting had to convince me to paddle into a few. After I got my first couple, I felt a bit more comfortable and started having a bit more fun.
In saying that, I don’t think anything can beat surfing pumping waves at home. Recently there have been a few sessions at home with just me and a few mates, perfect waves – sessions I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Ever had any close calls out in the surf in heavy conditions?
I had one close call about 6 months ago, surfing home at breakwall. I came off a wave and felt my leggie slip off. I was pretty much on the rocks, but I couldn’t touch the sand to push myself away. The tide was pulling me out, and I didn’t really have any control over myself. I ended up getting in after a while, but it definitely shook me up. That wave was just as heavy as any other waves I have surfed.
What else do you enjoy apart from surfing?
Other then surfing, I basically spend my time with my mates and just hang out and have fun. I enjoy photography and making movies, playing guitar, drawing on or spraying my boards, skating, shooting hoops, hanging with my girlfriend and bumming around at home with my family and dog!