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Exploring Western Australia:
by Les Dollin
The beautiful old Benedictine monastery built at Kalumburu on the far north coast of the Kimberley, WA, home to the Catholic priests serving this remote Aboriginal community and several Trigona mellipes nests.
We were now at the beautiful mission Father Seraphim had told us about, surrounded by history and evidence of native bees. We discovered later that these small stingless bees belonged to a species called Trigona mellipes which had been lost for one hundred years. These bees look much like T. carbonaria bees of the eastern states but their nests are irregular and tiny (about the size of a man’s fist) and they build a small entrance tunnel. The full story of Trigona mellipes will be featured in a future issue of Aussie Bee Bulletin.
However, being on the road for so long living on canned food and dry biscuits does have its effects. With all my senses sharpened for the hunt, I smelt the aroma of freshly baked bread. So leaving the “find of the century” I followed the scent around the monastery building and found a nun working in a wonderful old bakehouse. She was baking huge loaves of bread with the consistency of a cake and about 60 cm long. Anne has known me to return from a “bee hunt” with some strange things but never before with a fresh loaf of bread!
Kalumburu had been all that Father Seraphim had promised. Yet, our journey was far from over. Hundreds more kilometres of corrugated road and many new opportunities still awaited us as we continued our native bee safari through the Kimberley and eastwards into the Northern Territory.
And visit the Aussie Bee Website Facebook Page to see more photos of this safari.
Click on the album called:
‘On Native Bee Safari - WA part 1’
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