The Mel Bonum Apiaries – Goodna, Queensland

mel bonum apiary 1905-06

One of my weaknesses is old beekeeping equipment catalogues.

I was looking through them recently and rediscovered this 1905-1906 edition of H. L. Jones “Mel Bonum Apiaries” catalogue.

So who was Mr H. L. Jones of Goodna, Queensland?  What was the meaning of “Mel Bonum”?

Trove is always my first choice when looking for information about people from our past.

As usual, the pages of our old newspapers revealed a vast amount of information about Mel Bonum apiaries.

I hope you enjoy reading through these old articles as much as I did.

Here they are in chronological order.

Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), Saturday 24 April 1886, page 632


WHEN travelling among the Redbank Plains farms—writes our Agricultural Reporter – I discovered an apiary of which I had not previously heard. It is called the Mel Bonum Apiary (freely translated, Good Honey Apiary). It is run by Mr James Jones, a young man the son of one of the oldest farmers of the plains. It is pleasant to find that he is well acquainted with all the modern discoveries that make bee-keeping a science. He has only been interested in the matter for the past three years, but he has built up an apiary of over sixty hives, the queens of which he is fast turning into Italians from pure blood obtained from Mr R. Cribb’s bee-farm. I noticed the extractor, foundation machine, bar-frames, and all the numerous sundries of the modern beekeeper. The colonies looked to be most of them strong and were busily at work. The honey is sold locally and to Ipswich residents. It is marketed both in sections and in glass jars. At first, I thought the locality a bad one for honey gathering, for it is some distance from the forest trees, but I was told the bees were gathering honey from somewhere. Knowing that it could not be from forest trees, as there are none of them in flower, I looked keenly about, and at last found that the bees were working upon the wild mint, which is a weed now taking possession of the cultivated fields to the detriment of the butter and milk produced from cows that graze upon it; also I noticed them very busy upon a pink-coloured pea-like flower of another common weed locally known as wild indigo; the honey from this latter plant I should judge to be very good. It is thus evident that the beekeeper upon open cultivated downs may sometimes be better situated than his neighbour among the ti-trees and eucalypts. Another point is self-evident—namely, that the farmer who thinks he can by keeping bees upon the old-fashioned box-hive system compete with the apiarist who works with the modern appliances and gives care and thought to his business will, now that the honey market is overstocked, be woefully disappointed.

mel bonum i - ii

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Thursday 3 September 1891, page 3

A Royal Bee.

A few days ago we drew attention to an illustrated catalogue of beekeepers’ requisites issued by Mr H. L. Jones. of Redbank Plains, proprietor of Mel Bonum Apiary, and we are sure that the following proof of his enterprise. extracted from last night’s Observer, will be read with interest: – Beekeepers have found great difficulty in importing queen bees from a long distance, and by some, it has been regarded almost as an impossibility. Mr H. L. Jones, of Redbank Plains, has, however, demonstrated the practicability of importing such bees from America. Some times he ordered an Italian queen from Mr A. I. Root, of Medina, Ohio, whose bees are very highly thought of. The insect was enclosed in a wooden box or cage, 5in. by 1¼ in, with thirty-three worker bees. There were three little circular compartments in the box, each of which communicated with the other. One of the end compartments was used for storing food, which consisted of a mixture of sugar and honey beaten to a thick consistency. Air was provided by several small perforations in the sides. The bees had very little room wherein to move about, but the fault of cages previously used has been that they have been too large. The box was posted as an ordinary packet, and placed in the mailbag. It remained there for thirty-six days. When it was opened it was found that twenty of the worker bees were dead, and the remainder were almost dead. The queen bee was, however, in splendid condition, and she is regarded by Mr Jones as a very valuable acquisition. The death of the workers was probably due to the fact that they were too old when put in the cage, and their period of existence, usually not more than six weeks, was ended.

Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), Saturday 12 September 1891, page 509

The Honey Bee.
Bees from America.

Beekeepers have found great difficulty in importing queen bees from a long distance, and by some, it has been regarded almost as an impossibility. Mr J.L. Jones, of Goodna, has, however, demonstrated the practicability of importing such bees from America. Some time ago he ordered an Italian queen from Mr A. R. Root, of Medina, Ohio, whose bees are very highly thought of. The insect was enclosed in a wooden box or cage, 5in. x. 1¼in., with thirty-three worker bees. There were three little circular compartments in the box, each of which communicated with the other. One of the end compartments was used for storing food, which consisted of a mixture of sugar and honey beaten to a thick consistency. Air was provided by several small perforations in the sides. The bees had very little room wherein to move about, but the fault of cages previously used has been that they have been too large. The box was posted as an ordinary packet, and placed in the mailbag. It remained there for thirty-six days. When it was opened it was found that twenty of the worker bees were dead, and the remainder were almost dead. The queen bee was, however, in splendid condition, and she is regarded by Mr Jones as a very valuable acquisition. The death of the workers was probably due to the fact that they were too old when put in the cage, and their period of existence, usually not more than six weeks, was ended. A sketch showing a sectional view of the box is published herewith.

mel bonum iii - iv

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 16 July 1892, page 5


Those who have attended the Ipswich and Brisbane exhibitions of late years cannot have failed to notice the admirable display of honey and appliances used in practical bee culture shown on those occasions by Mr. H. L. Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiary, and many have been the inquiries made as to the location of this establishment, the length of time it has been in existence, and what measure of success that has been achieved by its enterprising proprietor. By prior arrangement made during the recent exposition of the Queensland Pastoral and Agricultural Society-a, small party from Ipswich paid a visit to this now notable bee farm, on Thursday last, and spent a very agreeable afternoon in inspecting everything of interest to be seen in connection with it. The apiary is situated in the centre of the famous Redbank Plains district, on a beautiful elevation commanding a lovely view of much of the surrounding country, and is about eight miles from Ipswich. The drive from town is a pleasant one, the road for about one half of the distance being lined on either side by thickly-growing trees, and it is from the bloom of many of these-particularly the stately eucalypt, the blossoms of which are rich in honey-that the bees from the Mel Bonum farm derive their richest store. Mr Jones, we may remark, is an enthusiast in the art of bee culture, having devoted almost a lifetime to it, and there are few men out of the colony, and fewer in it, whose judgment and advice are better worth having in all that relates to apiculture. He has gone into the business thoroughly and scientifically, with the result that he has some of the finest strains of imported bees in the colony. His reputation, too, has evidently extended throughout the entire colony, and even beyond it, for not only has he dispatched queen bees and hives to almost the extreme Northern portion of Queensland, but he has executed orders for patrons in even some of the Southern colonies.mel bonum vi-6 The production of the honey itself, however, is only one branch of the industry actively engaged in at the Mel Bonum Apiary, but that It has already reached considerable proportion will be apparent when we record the fact that there are over 200 hives on the farm, and that the yearly output of honey reaches the satisfactory total of about 15,000lbs. The hives, ranging from one storey to three storeys, are laid out in three long rows on a green plot near the residence, and it is interesting to watch the operations of the industrious little workers, as they employ “each shining hour” in storing in their tiny cells the sweet nectar so skilfully extracted from the bloom of the trees and shrubs on the surrounding hills and dales. Some of the hives were opened by Mr Jones, and after the bees had been subjected to a few puffs from a Bingham Smoker, just to put them on their good behaviour, the visitors, having in the meantime protected themselves by donning suitable headgear, were permitted to have a peep into the inner workings of the ” independent order of bees.” and thus gained information that was both useful and interesting. But besides giving his attention to this branch of apiculture, Mr Jones not only manufactures largely, with machinery specially secured for the purpose, many of the requisites indispensable on a bee-farm, but he imports extensively, from both England and America, all the latest novelties and improved appliances used in the propagation of Bees and the production of honey. Extractors, smokers, queen and drone traps, hives, frames for hives, section honey boxes, comb foundation, raised cover pails, and splendid glass air-tight jars of the latest and most approved make are all kept in stock; and, large as is the supply of these requisites now on hand in the store at the apiary, Mr. Jones assured us that his business has so rapidly extended of late that they will all be sold before the season is over, and will have to be replaced by fresh importations. After spending a pleasant hour or two at the Mel Bonum Apiary, the party visited Mr D. Jones’s estate, which is about a quarter of a mile away and is connected with the apiary by telephone. The residence–a fine two storey building-also occupies a most commanding position, and the view from it is simply charming. By the aid of a telescope. some parts of Brisbane, although about twenty-two miles distant, were seen quite distinctly, and in the summer months, when the surrounding farms are verdant with the growing crops, the scene must be-and indeed is one of great beauty. The visitors were here, as well as at Mel Bonum, most hospitably entertained, and would gladly have prolonged their stay had time permitted; but the “shades of night were telling fast,” and the homeward journey ‘had to be resumed with as little delay as possible, town being reached, after another pleasant drive, just as darkness set in.mel bonum 8-9

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW: 1870 – 1907), Saturday 1 October 1892, page 15


Mr H. L. Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiary, Goodna, has just imported two Punic queen bees from America. These bees, according to American reports, are regarded as excellent workers, very fertile breeders, and altogether likely to prove a valuable acquisition to our strains of bees. They were 37 days on the trip and landed in better condition than any other shipment hitherto received. As their name indicates, this strain of bees is of North African origin, and are the first and only ones imported into Australia. The introduction of these bees and their characteristics will be a matter of great interest to beekeepers. Their qualities will be thoroughly teated in Mr Jones’s apiary.


Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Tuesday 5 September 1893, page 2

Mr H. L. Jones, the enterprising proprietor of the Mel Bonum Apiary, Redbank Plains, has just issued an elaborate catalogue, which contains excellent information on almost every subject interesting to beekeepers. The Australian Bee Bulletin, noticing various catalogues of the sort says, ” The first to hand was from that energetic Queenslander, Mr H. L. Jones, of Goodna. It is very complete, containing over forty pages, and, as we know Mr Jones to be one of the straightest men we have ever met, we feel assured that all who patronise him are safe of getting their ‘shilling’s’ worth.” Mr Jones, in the preparatory remarks, addressed to his friends and patrons, says—” As a result of recent additions to my manufacturing plant, I am in a better position than ever for turning out accurate work promptly. My factory now comprises a six-horse steam-engine, large dove-tailing machine for dove-tailing corners of hives, and various other modern equipments for manufacturing a full line of bee keeper’s supplies. Having thus every facility for turning out accurate work, coupled with the fact of a life-long experience in practical bee culture, you may rely upon receiving goods only of the latest and most approved patterns, combined with the best possible workmanship. For the past eleven years, apiculture has been my sole occupation, and that I have made it profitable is, I think, the best proof I can offer that my appliances and systems of management are practical. Most of the implements described in the catalogue have been tried in my own apiary, and may be relied upon to perfectly fulfil the purposes for which they are intended.” Messrs. Cribb and Foots are the local agents for Mr Jones and keep in stock all lines at the prices quoted in the catalogue. The Mel Bonum Apiary is always open to the inspection of visitors, and any information relating to bee culture is cheerfully given. Those living at a distance who wish to succeed with their apiaries cannot do better than make themselves possessed of Mr Jones’s catalogue, and all who can make it convenient will find that an inspection of his premises is not only interesting but highly instructive.mel bonum 10-11

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 30 June 1894, page 3

A Glimpse at the Redbank Plains.
(By Red Gum.)

The Redbank Plains have long been celebrated as an agricultural centre, the soil growing anything and everything. Years ago, early in the seventies the Plains—figuratively speaking, of course—were one vast sheet of cotton. The cultivation of cotton was then at its height. The Redbank Plains may be fittingly termed a land of C’s—cotton, corn, cane (sugar), coal, and Carroll (the latter is the cognomen of the much-esteemed school-master, who has resided there since 1868: also, of Rice. I refer to the Messrs. Rice Brothers, who, some years back, with the view of encouraging the growth of sugar-cane, erected the Broadleas sugar mill on the Plains. As I stated above, the Redbank Plains have always been noted for their prolific soil. Quite recently I wended my way from the Goodna railway station as far as Mr Dan. Jones’s residence, previous to which I had enjoyed a pleasant walking trip through a portion of the Plains, as far as Mr Fitzsimon’s, via Blackstone. As to my more recent visit: I called in at Mr D. Jones, where I received a nice welcome. Mr Jones, as your readers are aware, is an enthusiast in agriculture in all its branches. Although not a native of blooming Queensland, he may fairly claim to be one of West Moreton’s sons, he having been educated at the Ipswich Grammar School (a pupil of the ’65 period), and has, on every possible occasion since then, lost no opportunity of making himself acquainted with the science of agriculture, as evidenced from his many letters published in the columns of the Queensland Times and his numerous papers read at the meetings of the Acclimatisation Society in Brisbane. Mr Jones’s large and beautiful residence commands a splendid site overlooking the Plains, a grand view of the surroundings being obtained from the upper story. While my eyes were feasting on the magnificent scenery, distance lending enchantment to the view, my thoughts wandered back to the time when the Plains were “all alive”‘ with the merry voices of the cotton-pickers. Probably the following extract from the Q.T., dated 1874, will best explain matters: “Cotton picking is vigorously carried on, and it is satisfactory to be able to relate that the results obtained are fully up to the expectations of the growers…… The success attendant on the growth and cultivation of the sugar-cane surpasses the hopes of its warmest advocates,” &c. I wish that it were so again. Having enjoyed a peep at the surroundings— for miles and miles around—through a splendid telescope, Mr Jones then invited me into his study—a charming little resort for a person of his intelligence. We lingered there a quarter-of-an-hour. Previous to going upstairs, my host had ” rung up”‘ Mr Harry L. Jones, his brother, through the telephone, the wire of which is laid across from Mr D. Jones’s to that of his father’s residence—Mr. Lewis Jones— some three-quarters of a mile away.”mel bonum 12-13 Is Harry there?” “Yes,” was the reply; “what do you want?” ” Oh, we are coming over directly.” This is an excellent idea, thus proving to what usefulness the telephone can be put even in a farming community, and I further learnt that it is very handy in many ways, especially if cattle get in among the cultivation when word is immediately “rung” to either one or the other acquainting each household 0f the fact, the intruders being quickly interviewed and driven off. I then accompanied Mr D. Jones through his garden en route to Mr Henry Jones’s bee farm. The aforesaid garden consists of ten acres of orchard, besides which Mr D. Jones has ten of other cultivation. It is a particular pleasure to a towns-man to stroll through a garden, and pick the fruit—which, in this instance, consisted of oranges, cumquats, loquats &c.—straight from the trees. “Sweetness” describes the occupation—of eating them while walking round this well laid-out garden, which also contains numerous plum and peach trees, grapevines, &c. We then proceeded to Mr Lewis Jones’s residence, and on the way thither Mr. D. Jones pointed out his cultivation of broom-millet, several acres of which, including two or three varieties, he has under growth—all looking fairly well, considering the circumstances, those circumstances consisting greatly of the want of rain, which, however, came last week, and it is to be hoped the Redbank Plains received a share of the pluvial visit. Regarding the weather forecasts issued by Mr Wragge, Mr Jones thinks that, as is done in America, some signals could be initiated—say, for instance, a certain whistle from the engine of the afternoon train as it proceeded from Brisbane to Ipswich, and so on—by which the farmers along the line would know whether to expect rain that night or the following day. On arrival at Mr Lewis Jones’s residence, Mr H. L. Jones was busy among the busy bees, which, as one poet has said— “Delight to bark and bite; They gather honey all the day, And eat it of a night.” Mr Apiarist Jones seemed happy while dodging about his 200 and more hives of buzzing honey-makers—curtain overhead, “smoker” in hand, carefully watching that, at any rate, his bees did not eat the honey at night they had gathered in the day. Bee-culture, eh! I was asked to be mindful, as some of the bees were wild and vicious. I am happy to say that I escaped without a “bite.” Mr Harry Jones then invited me into his store, where he at once commenced packing queen bees ready for posting to all parts of the world, as far as America, and he was quite proud of the fact that his despatching and packing of bees without a single accident has been quoted as a world’s record. It was very interesting to watch him making them ready for a “sea trip” in a small box, the “tucker” of the queen bee while they are thus confined—probably for weeks—consisting of ground sugar and honey. The magnetic hammer for tacking the light-timbered little boxes attracted my attention. Mr H. Jones then showed me how he manufactured the foundation comb—indeed, the innumerable things connected with bee-culture were in evidence, the use and where-fore being intelligently illustrated by Mr Jones, who, I might say, edits and publishes a ‘ Bee Journal” at his own expense, for the set-up of which he has received the highest encomiums from England, America, and throughout all Australia. He is justly proud of those eulogies. He further informed me that he intends to remove his bee-store to Goodna, where he will have more extensive premises, a move warranted by the expansion of his business connections as an apiarist. He also intends to be present at the bee conference, to be held in Sydney in July. Altogether, the visit to Mr H. L. Jones’s bee-farm was one full of instruction, especially in the company of such capable guides as the Messrs. D. and H. Jones undoubtedly are. Before leaving the district—the home of such worthy colonists as the Kerwins the Verralls, the Pitts, the Rice Brothers, the Fitzsimons, and numerous other families—I went over, in company with Mr D. Jones (his son-in-law) to pay my respects to the ” father” of Redbank Plains, Mr James Josey, whose residence in Ipswich and West Moreton district dates back to 1841 he having resided on the Plains since 1859. Mr Josey was hearty and well, but, time being limited, I could only enjoy a little while in his society. But that little was full of the relations of humorous incidents of the ” old times before you were born,’ &c. I then bade Mr Josey and Mr D. Jones adieu, being much pleased with my visit.mel bonum 14-15

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Tuesday 9 April 1895, page 6


During the day a number of the visitors paid an interesting visit of inspection to Mr H. L. Jone’s Mel Bonum Apiary. The hives which have now become very numerous, are situated on the slope of the hill near the residence. During the past season Mr Jones, who is a large importer of honey-gatherers, did a great trade with queen bees. Near the apiary is a large room containing all the latest and most modern appliances connected with a well-equipped bee farm.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 22 August 1896, page 4


Mr H. L. Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiary. Goodna has just issued his “Illustrated catalogue of bee-keepers’ requisites” for 1896-97. Nothing more aptly illustrates the success of well-directed enterprise than the manner in which Mr Jones’s business as a beekeeper has grown. Starting in a small way he gradually worked on safe lines, till now he has a good business connection that extends throughout Australasia. This is the ninth annual illustrated catalogue that has been published by Mr Jones, and the publication has established for itself very wide popularity both in Australia and America. The present issue contains a large quantity of new reading matter and additional illustrations of excellent quality. On the inside page of the front cover, information is given regarding the rates at which goods may be sent by parcel post or in packets to any part of Queensland, or any of the other Australian colonies. It is also intimated that Mr Jones is prepared to purchase bees-wax in any quantity and pay highest cash price for same. If goods are taken in exchange for wax, 1d. per lb. extra is allowed. In a prefatory note to friends and patrons, Mr. Jones says:-” I have just landed from America an extensive consignment of new goods, and now have on hand the largest and most complete stock of apiarian supplies in the colony, which, together with my splendid shipping facilities (being situated right in the intercolonial trunk line and convenient to the shipping port of Brisbane), places me in a position to despatch all orders promptly. For the past twelve years, apiculture has been my sole occupation, and that I have made it profitable is, I think, the best proof I can offer that my appliances and system of management are practical.” We understand that copies of the catalogue will be supplied to those interested in apiculture who apply to Mr Jones for them.mel bonum 16-17

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 23 January 1897, page 4


A business announcement appears elsewhere from H. L. Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiary, Goodna and Redbank Plains. Mr Jones invites intending patrons to send at once to him or his agents for his fifty-page illustrated catalogue, which is the largest and most complete work of its kind issued in the Southern Hemisphere. He has built up an extensive and successful business by adopting the latest and most approved methods of working, and he is prepared to supply the beekeeper’s requisites and to give advice to all those who may communicate with him. Mr Jones has been especially successful in the rearing of queen bees and is in possession of excellent testimonials from all parts of Australasia to which his queens have been sent.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 8 May 1897, page 7


Included in the show mode by the Agricultural Department is an apiarian exhibit from Mr H. L. Jones, the well-known bee farmer, of Redbank Plains. Perhaps no exhibit in the place is more thoroughly representative of an industry than this one. In the first place. Mr Jones has a miniature library fitted up, containing ancient and modern works on bee culture, which visitors are at liberty to peruse. And then, included in the collection, are samples of all the necessary and most modern requisites for the extraction of honey from the comb and the putting of it up in a marketable condition. He has some of the very latest improved hives on view, as well as any quantity of comb-honey in 1 lb. boxes, and the purest of extracted honey put up in fancy jars of a variety of shapes ready for placing on the table.mel bonum 18-19

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 28 August 1897, page 4


The catalogues annually issues by Mr H. L. Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiaries, Goodna, have now been prepared, and are ready for distribution for the 1897-8 season. This year’s catalogue comprises fifty-two pages and is very effectively illustrated. New reading matter has been introduced to bring it up to date. The various bee-keeping requisites which Mr. Jones is prepared to supply are neatly shown by means of diagrams, with price-lists attached. The reading matter is all of a practical nature and should be found very useful to those who engage in the occupation of apiculture either for pleasure or for profit. Mr Jones has recently received very flattering testimony to the repute as a practical beekeeper which he has attained’ in America. An article on the subject of queen rearing was contributed by him to Gleanings, the leading bee journal in the United States. It was copied into all the best bee journals in the States, and they enthusiastically acknowledge the excellence of Mr Jones’s methods of raising queens. The article was accompanied by a number of photographs of Mr Jones in the act of scanning some of his queen cells, and the editor of the Beekeepers’ Review, referring to these, says:-” A finer lot of queen cells I have never seen, nor have I ever seen better pictures of cells. Good queens will hatch from such cells as those.” Mr Jones’s connection now extends to the whole of the Australasian colonies, to America, and to South Africa, to the latter of which places he has recently commenced to send queens. The present catalogue is the tenth annual number, and yearly it increases in attractiveness, and so does the number of copies required for distribution among his customers. The compliments which he has received from last year’s clients uphold his fame as a queen-raiser, and prove his careful attention to business.mel bonum 20-21

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 3 September 1898, page 4


Mr H. L. Jones, of Redbank Plains and Goodna, the veteran queen-breeder of Australia, as he is known amongst beekeepers throughout Australasia, has just issued his eleventh annual catalogue. It contains upwards of fifty pages and is replete with information respecting beekeepers’ requisites of every description. A very pleasing feature of the publication is its illustrations, which number nearly 100 in all. They depict the many and varied utensils required in the apiary. and a minute description is given of each. Mr Jones is in a position not only to supply queens and bees in any number but also to furnish every appliance that is to be found in a first-class apiary. But respecting this the following extract from the preface to the catalogue speaks for itself:–” Our factory is now one of the most complete of its kind in the colonies, and comprises a 16 horse-power steam-engine, with 20 h.p. boiler, and all the latest and most approved machinery-such as planing-machines, dovetailing machinery, large and small saw-benches, boring machinery, &c., &c.. specially adapted for the particular class of goods we manufacture. We work up all our own timber from the log, and are therefore enabled to quote hives, &c., very low; certainly much lower and far more accurately finished than can possibly be done by hand. Our tinsmith’s outfit, too, is a recent and most complete equipment, so that we are now in a better position than ever for turning out bee-keepers’ tin-ware of every description. Having thus every facility for turning out perfect work, coupled with the fact of a life-long experience in practical bee-culture, customers may rely upon receiving goods only of the latest and most approved patterns; and those who are new to the pursuit may rest assured that no impractical or out-of-dole devices will be foisted upon them, as all the articles described in this catalogue have been tried in our own apiaries and found adapted for the purposes for which they are intended.” Copies of the catalogue, on the back cover of which, by the way, appears some excellent testimonials regarding Mr Jones’s method of queen rearing, may be obtained post-free on application to Mr Jones, who, it may be mentioned, this year also issued a ” Queen Circular and Book List” which contains some information interesting to apiarists.mel bonum 22-23

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 9 September 1899, page 4


Mr H. L. JONES, the proprietor of the Mel Bonum Apiary, near Goodna – the largest queen-rearing apiary in the Southern hemisphere – has just issued his catalogue for 1899-1900. The publication, which was printed at this office, comprises close upon 60 pages and contains very much of interest to beekeepers. It is replete with splendid illustrations of the numerous appliances used in the business, and the manner of utilising such is clearly explained. These are all stocked by Mr Jones, who is prepared to supply them at the shortest notice on the most reasonable terms. Connected with the apiary, which can boast of upwards of 800 colonies of bees, is a factory in which hives, &c., are made up. It is the most complete of its kind in the colonies and comprises a 16-horsepower steam engine, with 20-h.p. boiler, and all the latest and most approved machinery-such as planing machines, dovetailing machinery, large and small saw-benches, boring machinery, &c., &c., specially adapted for the particular class of goods manufactured. The tinsmith’s outfit, too, is a recent and most complete equipment, so that Mr Jones is now in a better position than ever for turning out beekeepers’ tinware of every description. Having every facility for doing perfect work, coupled with the fact of a life-long experience in practical bee-culture, customers may rely upon receiving goods only of the latest and most approved patterns; and those who are new to the pursuit may rest assured that no impractical or out-of-date devices will be foisted upon them, as all the articles described in the catalogue have been tried in Mr Jones’s own apiaries and found adapted for the purposes for which they are intended. Copies of the catalogue may be had on application to Mr Jones.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 18 August 1900, page 4


Mr H. L Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiaries, Goodna, is again to the front with an up-to-date catalogue of beekeepers’ requisites for the coming season. This is the 18th annual catalogue which has been issued by Mr Jones, and the improvement, which has marked successive issues, is well maintained in the present instance. The cover, this year, has been done on a superior quality of paper, in blue and red colours, and the attractiveness of its appearance has been considerably enhanced. In addition to the illustrations on previous catalogues, a magnified representation of a queen bee is presented. The information contained in the catalogue has been revised and brought up-to-date. As an addendum to it Mr Jones publishes a number of testimonials from customers In various part of Queensland and in the other colonies, regarding the satisfaction given by the queen bees, and bee-keepers’ requisites, which he supplied last year. The catalogue, like all its predecessors, was printed at this office, and on application to Mr Jones copies of it will be sent, post free, to any persons interested in beekeeping.mel bonum 24-25

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 5 October 1901, page 4


Mr H. L. Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiaries, Goodna, has issued his illustrated catalogue of bee-keepers’ requisites for the season 1901 – 1902. Mr Jones furnishes a striking example of what may be done by honest application to the conduct of native industries. He commenced the bee-keeping business some 20 years ago with a hive of wild bees taken from a tree, and, by dint of perseverance and the exercise of intelligence, has placed his apiaries probably on as high a plane as those in any part of the world. Although comparatively little was known about bee-management a quarter of a century back, Mr Jones is now the possessor of what is acknowledged to be of the best libraries on the subject in the southern hemisphere, his authorities dating from the year 1691 up to the present time. He is a paid contributor to the leading American Journals, by whom his authority is a practical and expert bee-keeper Is generally recognised. He is also one of the largest queen raisers south of the equator, and the many testimonials which he has received (some of which are printed in the catalogue) indicate the satisfaction that has been given to customers bees sent by him to all parts of Australia and New Zealand. The present is the 14th annual catalogue issued by Mr Jones, and, like all his predecessors, it has been printed at the office of this journal. This year the illustrated cover has been worked in violet and old gold colours and looks handsome. The catalogue has been revised and brought up-to-date, and a copy a will be forwarded by Mr Jones, on application, to any person who desires one. The secret of Mr Jones’s success has undoubtedly been honesty and intelligence in the conduction of his business, combined with judicious advertising, and his example is certainly worth imitating.

Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), Saturday 11 January 1902, page 74


The Ipswich district can certainly boast of the most noted and up-to-date establishment connected with the production of honey and the modern management of the industrious bees in the Southern Hemisphere. The now-famous Mel Bonum Apiary was established at Red Bank Plains close on twenty years ago from a single hive of wild bees obtained from the bush, and at the present time contains nearly 400 colonies of pure Italian bees. Although Mr H. L. Jones obtains enormous crops of honey every year, this is only a secondary consideration compared with his queen raising operations, as it is in this latter branch that he has earned a worldwide reputation, and the mailing of Italian queens of reliable stock to all parts of Australia and New Zealand is a matter of daily occurrence. To such perfection has the system of mailing queens been carried, that although Mr Jones sends thousands sealed up in the mailbags, he guarantees safe arrival of everyone to any post office in Australasia. The most wonderful feature of his queen-rearing operations—one, too, that has completely opened the eyes of the foreign experts in the apiarian line —is that carried on by him on the drone comb principle, a capital photograph of which we reproduce. The “Beekeeper’s Review” (the leading American bee journal), in reproducing illustrations of his method of queen-raising from another American journal, has this to say regarding the system — “A finer lot of queen cells I have never seen, nor have I ever seen better pictures of cells. Good queens will hatch from such cells as these. See how completely the cells are covered with hexagonal indentations. Poor queens never come from such cells as these.” So extensively has the apiarian business grown that Mr. Jones has established his headquarters at Goodna, within a short distance of the railway station, its location being on the opposite side to and almost between the Roman Catholic Church and the police barracks. Here is to be seen everything—” from a needle to an anchor,” as it were. The establishment is well stocked from floor to ceiling with all the requirements and latest appliances necessary for carrying on bee culture. Mr Jones says that his business was never in a more flourishing state than at present, and a glance at his Goodna stores will convince anyone of the truth at that statement. He has also a first-class tinsmith establishment equipped with the very latest machinery for making up honey extractors of various sorts and sizes, honey tanks, and receptacles for marketing honey, smokers, barrels, &c. In addition to the above apicultural establishments, Mr Jones, in order to keep ahead of the times in turning out his beekeeping requisites, also runs a factory and sawmill opposite the railway station, just below the Roman Catholic Church. The plant comprises a 16 horse-power steam engine, with 20 horsepower trailer, and all the latest improved machinery, such as planing machines, dove-tailing machinery, large and small saw-benches, boring machines, &c. Here a number of men are kept constantly employed in manufacturing dove-tailed hives, frames for hives, cases for shipping honeycomb, “queen” cages, smokers, export cases, cases for shipping honey long distances, and innumerable other things, his tinware department being a speciality and a very large concern. All is life at this factory, and in addition to the departments mentioned, his comb-foundation machinery is well worth inspection. By a special steam process, he keeps the wax in a liquid state from ten to twelve hours, so as to destroy any germs of disease if there be any, and for impressing the sheets has on hand the best machinery procurable. Mr Jones can also boast of having one of, if not the finest libraries on apiculture in Australasia, some of his books dating as far back as 1691, and he is a subscriber and contributor to all the principal bee journals in the world. He has no trade secrets, and his interesting pamphlet entitled, ” Bees, Hives, and Honey,” is free to all who are in any way interested in those wonderful and most industrious little creatures, who co-operate and harmonise in their model little community.mel bonum 26-27

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Tuesday 23 September 1902, page 7


THAT a little honey now and then is relished by the wisest men is a conclusion suggested by a perusal of the 15th annual illustrated catalogue issued by Mr H. L. Jones, proprietor of the Mel Bonum apiaries at Goodna and Redbank Plains. Towards the end of the catalogue, there are a couple of pages of original reading-matter, giving the pith of what last season’s customers say of the queen bees and bee-keeping requisites that they have received from Mr Jones. These customers live in all parts of Australasia and New Zealand, and they bear unanimous testimony to the superior quality of Mr Jones’s strain of bees and to the satisfaction that he invariably gives in supplying up-to-date requisites for their apiaries. Mr Jones is enabled to do this through having had 20 years’ practical experience of his business, through having studied the habits and requirements of being in an intelligent manner, and through making it a custom to supply the best of everything with punctuality and despatch. He has an extensive plant, which places him in a position to furnish the requisites of the trade at a reasonable price, and he has improved the strain of his queen bees till now he can provide apiarists with the exact thing that they require. In short, Mr Jones has made a speciality of his business and has made it in every way a success. This year’s catalogue has been very daintily got up with a handsome cover in dark-green and geranium-red colours and combines the qualities of attractiveness and usefulness.

Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 – 1939), Saturday 2 July 1904, page 3


Mr H.L. Jones had a very nice exhibit of beekeeper’s material, the whole of which is his own manufacture and made in his factory at Goodna. The display consisted of honey extractors, large and small, suitable for any size apiary, from the smallest to the largest. All the large machines are fitted with ball bearings and are of the best workmanship. The exhibit comprised both two and four frame extractors, dovetailed beehives, wax extractors, sections, smokers (various sizes and styles), honey boards, both wood and zinc and wood, bee brushes, and all descriptions of beekeepers’ requisites were also shown. Making up all his own material as he does, Mr Jones is able to guarantee the greatest satisfaction to his customers. He is also a manufacturer of comb foundation and supplies his clients with various books on bee culture, his stock having works from 1692 to 1904 dealing with the industry. Mr Jones is the largest queen raiser in the State and supplies most of the largest Southern apiaries with the majority of their queens. His factory at Goodna is well worth a visit. Mr Jones is also an extensive poultry breeder and had a large number of exhibits in the show, at which he was a successful prize-winner.mel bonum 28-29

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 1 October 1904, page 11


Mr H. L. Jones, proprietor of the Mel Bonum Apiaries, Goodna, has just issued his annual catalogue of beekeepers’ requisites. This year the cover is printed in blue and orange colours and is decidedly artistic. It is hardly necessary to say that the catalogue is up-to-date, as Mr Jones’s name in connection’ with it is a guarantee that that is so. He has built up a business extending over the whole of Australia and New Zealand by up-to-date methods. Appended to the catalogue are a number of testimonials from last season’s customers testifying to the satisfaction given by the queen bees and bee-keepers’ requisites forwarded to them. Mr Jones states that he could “entirely fill the catalogue”- which comprises 50) pages-with similar testimonials. A catalogue upon the same lines, dealing with the poultry department of his operations, will shortly be issued by Mr Jones.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 17 June 1905, page 13


Mr H. L. Jones, of Goodna, made a very interesting display of the most modern appliances used in connection with bee culture. He also exhibited a Russell staple-puller, a new implement which is said to combine 12 tools in one. It serves the purpose of a hammer, a staple-puller, a wire-gripper, a nail-puller, a wire-cutter, a wire-splicer, &c.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Saturday 5 August 1905, page 4


Mr H. L. Jones, proprietor of the Mel Bonum Apiaries at Goodna and Red-bank Plains, has issued his 15th annual illustrated catalogue of bee-keepers’ requisites. Perhaps the best proof of the value of the goods offered by Mr Jones is the extracts he is able to publish from letters received from last season’s customers, all acknowledging the excellence of the queen bees or beekeepers’ requisites that they purchased from him. Thus one man from New South Wales writes:—” It is about four years since I got the queens from you. I still have the same strain, and have found nothing equal to them.” A customer from Victoria says:—” The queen I got from you turned out to be a real beauty. Her bees are pure, and are a long way ahead of my other bees—they are what I call honey gatherers.’ These are but samples of testimonials from all parts of Australasia and New Zealand. “Friend-Jones,” as they call him in America (sometimes adding that he is good-looking) has established a reputation by sound workmanship and careful attention to business and is now reaping the reward of his labours. The catalogue comprises 50 pages and will be furnished free, on application, to intending customers. This year the cover is printed in green colours, with illustrations in vermilion.mel bonum 30-31

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Thursday 28 November 1907, page 9


Mr H. L. Jones, proprietor of the Mel Bonum apiaries Redbank Plains and Goodna, is now issuing his annual illustrated catalogue of beekeepers’ requisites. It is a handsome publication of 50 pages and is a contrast to the first small catalogue issued 20 years ago. Mr Jones is probably the best authority on apiculture In Australia. and his business has increased enormously during late years. He has now a good connection all over Australia. New Zealand, Ceylon. America, and other parts of the world. Included in the catalogue are a number of testimonials from last seasons customers. all of whom speak well of his strain of bees, and of the quality of his beekeeper’s requisites. A copy of the catalogue will In forwarded free on application to Mr Jones.

Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser (Qld. : 1861 – 1908), Tuesday 29 September 1908, page 9


Mr H. L. Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiaries Redbank Plains and Goodna, Is now issuing this annual catalogue dealing with bees, hives, honey, and beekeeping requisites. The catalogue is approaching its “majority,” as this is the 20th year in which the catalogue has been issued. In accordance with the usual practice, copies are now being distributed to customers all over Australia and New Zealand and will be issued free to any intending client who makes application for one. Mr Jones has recently removed most of his colonies from the old site at Redbank Plains to an ideal spot on a slope near his own residence. This new location is a model site for an apiary as the bees are protected from the westerly winds and get the full benefit of the sun in the early mornings. Speaking toMr. Jones on Saturday last he saw that the past two seasons had been very poor ones for Queensland apiaries owing, probably, to the fact that the native trees did not bloom too well. The present season, however, promises to be an exceptionally good one, in fact, it is expected that it will put up a record. Mr Jones is now as busy as he can possibly be despatching queen bees, comb-foundation, and apiarists’ requisites to all parts of Australasia. On Saturday last he had quite a number of packets of queens neatly put up in boxes and addressed ready for sending away by mail. Sometimes as many as 20 or 30 queens are despatched by the one mail. A very large trade is also being done in comb-foundation manufactured by Mr Jones very fine Weed-Process comb-foundation machine. This season’s catalogue is brought right up-to-date and should be very useful to those persons engaged in apiarian pursuits.mel bonum 32-33

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Monday 14 February 1910, page 4


Tidings was received in Ipswich, on Saturday morning last, of the death of Mr Lewis Jones, of Redbank Plains. The late Mr. Jones was one of the grand old pioneers who helped so materially to lay the foundations of the State. He lived to the advanced age of 85 years, and, till within a few months of his death, his health and faculties remained unimpaired. Even in his declining days, he was always doing work of some kind on his farm, and he took a keen interest in the public affairs of the day. His wife predeceased him by some years. His three sons are Mr. Daniel Jones, who, for some years, held the position of Government fruit expert; Mr. James Jones, of Goodna; and Mr. H. L. Jones, the well-known proprietor of the Mel Bonum Apiaries. The deceased’s remains were interred in the Goodna Cemetery on Sunday morning last and were followed by a large concourse of mourners. The ceremony at the graveside was performed by the Rev. W. Rowlands, of the Black-stone Welsh Church.

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Wednesday 22 November 1911, page 4


Mr. N. H. Powter (the sole agent for H. L. Jones’s comb honey) left at this office, yesterday, a sample of the honey-comb produced at the Mel Bonum Apiary. As was only to be expected of the product of that famous home of bees, the flavour of the honey was excellent.

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Thursday 25 April 1912, page 6


In the division set apart for honey, there are but two exhibitors. They are Mr. H. L, Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apairy, and Mr. A. Gambling, of Booval, both of whom have been exhibitors at these annual shows for many years past. The former makes an exceptionally good display, but the latter has, this year, contented himself with entering small lots in two classes only, and he appropriated a first and a second prize. Mr. Jones obtained not fewer than six first awards and two seconds. His most effective display is the collection which he has arranged to compete in the class “best exhibit of comb and extracted honey.” It takes up a considerable amount of table space. Here are to be observed marketable comb and extracted honey put up in almost every conceivable form. It is there in cans, tins, bottles and jars of all designs. The prettily-coloured labels on these, blending with the colour of the contents of the bottles, enhance very considerably the appearance of the trophy which, in every way, is effectively arranged, and which deserves the credit given to it by the judge. Nearby is a collection of hives and implements for the apiary, which was also awarded a first prize. Noticeable in this collection is a reversible, slip-gear ball-bearing honey-extractor of the very latest design, a steam uncapping-knife, a steam wax-extractor, and no end of literature on the interesting subject of bee-culture, some of the books dating back to 1712. The two exhibits comprise the best trophy of its kind that has ever been exhibited at Sandy Gallop. Yesterday Mr. Jones was the recipient of many congratulations on the excellence of the trophy as a display, and also on the exceptionally good quality of the numerous individual exhibits included in the aggregation.mel bonum 34-35

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Saturday 24 August 1912, page 13


CR. H. L. Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiaries, Redbank Plains and Goodna, has issued his catalogue of beekeepers’ requisites for the coming season. Cr. Jones, who may be regarded as one of the leading apiarists of Australia, as at present doing a large business in the Southern States with his dove-tailed bee-hives. This is a tribute largely to the quality of Queens-land timber which has been found very suitable for this purpose. In addition Cr. Jones still maintains his reputation throughout the Commonwealth – even farther afield – for his queen bees and hive. Copies of the catalogue – which contains 50 pages, and which is profusely illustrated -may be obtained free on application to Cr. Jones.

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Wednesday 19 February 1913, page 5


Last night, in Messrs. Hughes and Cameron’s rooms, Nicholas-street, Cr. H. L. Jones, of the Mel Bonum Apiaries, Redbank Plains, was to have given a lecture on the subject of bees to the Grammar School Old Boys’ Association. Owing to the rain, the attendance was small, and it was decided on this account, to postpone the lecture to a more favourable occasion.

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Thursday 18 September 1913, page 4


We are in receipt of a copy of Jones’s Handbook of Bees, Hives, and Honey, the 26th annual illustrated catalogue of beekeepers’ requisites issued by Cr. H. L. Jones, of the renowned Mel Bonum Apiaries at Redbank Plains. The handbook is very complete and interesting, full of information, and altogether a production that should be of inestimable value to beekeepers. Besides conducting an apiary on a very large scale, Cr. Jones conducts a prosperous business in the manufacturing of bee-keepers requisites of all kinds-his factory is claimed to be the most complete of its kind in the Commonwealth, containing as it does planing machines, dove-tailing machines, saw-benches, boring machinery, tin-smithy, and it is these requisites the catalogue illustrates and prices.mel bonum 36-37

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Monday 27 September 1915, page 5

Teachers’ Association,

A very enjoyable outing, arranged by the member of the Ipswich and West Moreton Teachers’ Association took place on Saturday last in the form of a trip to Mr. H. L. Jones’s apiary, Redbank Plains. The party left the railway station at 10.30 a.m. in motor-cars, and after a pleasant drive of 10 miles arrived at their destination shortly after 11 o’clock. A halt had been made at the Redbank Plans State School, where the party were joined by Mr. and Mrs. James. On arrival, all were cordially welcomed by Mr. and Mrs. Jones, who at once placed their beautiful home at the disposal of their guests, who soon made themselves acquainted with the picturesque grounds, from every part of which there is a splendid view of the surrounding district. Much interest was taken in the pet wallaby (Lu-Lu), which at once made friends with the visitors. A Number arrived from Brisbane and joined the party. In the meantime, preparations for luncheon were being made by Mrs. Jones, assisted by Mrs. James, and at 12.30 all sat down to an appetising repast in an ideal picnic spot, under the mango trees, which had previously been chosen, by Mr. Jones. After lunch, the party were all provided with bee-veils, and Mr. Jones conducted them to the apiary, where he showed and explained every detail in connection with the bees and their work. A keen interest was taken in the method of honey extraction, Mr. Jones taking 60lb of honey (which was sampled by all present) in a very short time from three hives. He also explained details in connection with the raising of queens. The bees were evidently on their best behaviour, and no one received the much-dreaded sting. At 3.30 p.m. all retired again to the picnic spot, where afternoon tea was laid out. This being partaken of, Mr. J. Cronin, vice-president of the association, on behalf of those present, returned thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Jones for the splendid manner in which they had received and entertained them, and for the trouble which Mr. Jones had taken In showing them through his apiary. Mr. A. B. Spencer endorsed the remarks made by Mr. Cronin, and assured Mr. and Mrs. Jones that one and all appreciated their kindness. Mr. Jones responded on behalf of himself and Mrs. Jones. The cars arrived at 4.30 p.m. and after three hearty cheers had been given for Mr. and Mrs. Jones the party left for town arriving there at 5 p.m. having spent a thoroughly enjoyable day.mel bonum 38-39

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Wednesday 22 June 1921, page 4


We have received from Mr. H. L. Jones, of Goodna and Redbank Plains, the 34th annual edition of his handbook pertaining to bees and everything required in their up-to-date management. The present edition, of 48 pages, shows the vast strides that have been made in the honey-producing industry since the “Queensland Times” office printed the first issue over 34 years ago. Mr. Jones started beekeeping with a single swarm, obtained from the bush, during his easy school days, when little was known of this industry and its great possibilities, and today he conducts one of the largest and most successful bee concerns in Australasia. Anyone interested in this profitable and fascinating rural occupation should send for a copy of his catalogue as advertised in another page.

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), Saturday 25 August 1928, page 13



Redbank Plains, one of the earliest established cattle stations in Queensland, dating back 70 or 80 years ago, became closely settled by a vigorous type of farmer, who opened up a fertile area which has become notable for dairying, bee-farming, and extensive deposits of coal, and in its early history possessed a wealth of timber.

THE name “Redbank Plains” is a misnomer. There are no plains, and there is very much more black than red soil. Possibly, as an old settler says, the name came into use because the district adjoined Red-bank, the great coal and meat preserving works centre, some three miles away, on the Brisbane-Ipswich railway line. The Redbank Plains district is 20 miles from Brisbane, eight from Ipswich, seven from Goodna, and three from Redbank. It contains a large amount of forest country and a wide expanse of beautiful, undulating agricultural land. The forest country, just now a blaze of golden wattle bloom, is well provided with a variety of useful hardwood, and extends out for 20 miles or so towards Beaudesert. The agricultural area extends towards the hills of Ipswich and the upper Moreton district. This portion shows signs of long settlement, being well cleared and improved, with an abundant water supply in dams and wells, water being easily obtainable by sinking wells 10ft to 12ft.mel bonum 40-41


Practically all the old settlers are dead, but many of their descendants remain, still holding original lands.

Among the pioneer families’ names are Brennan, Jones, Pitt, Kerwin, M’Mahon, Yarrow, Butler, Rice, Griffiths, Ryan, Gardner, Maller, Hillier, Hogan, Wilkinson, Hoffmann, Cameron, Carroll, Mullen, Verrall, and Fitzsimmonds. The present population consists of 40 to 50 families, numbering perhaps 1000 souls in all. Some of the earliest settlers arrived in the district in the early ’50s, and an indication of progress is the fact that new settlers are gradually buying the agricultural lands.


According to local chroniclers, there was a time when Redbank Plains was one large stretch of maize cultivations. Then came a period when it seemed a vast cotton field, and next followed sugar plantations. Maize still grows plentifully, but cotton is little seen. Sugar has disappeared and with it the sugar mill that once flourished. Described as one of the richest farming areas within a radius of 20 miles of Brisbane, with holdings from 200 to 300 acres in extent, some explanation is needed why most of the district is now pasture for dairy stock. One explanation is that the younger generation is not attracted to farming with its un-certain seasons, and is lured away by the high wages to be gained at the collieries and at other industries in adjacent districts. But as one old settler, visioning the future hopefully, remarks, Redbank Plains cannot fail to come into its own, for even if farming fails, which is unlikely, the district includes one of the richest coal deposits in the State. Another hopeful aspect is that with the steady and continuous spread of settlement along the Brisbane-Ipswich line the pretty hills will surely attract attention as residential sites. In the early days, the forests in the district were famous for pine and red cedar. To-day these timbers are worked out, but there is a vast supply of hardwoods suitable for piles, house stumps, telegraph and electric light poles, and other various uses. The industry employs numerous hands in cutting and hauling log timber, and some 12 to 15 teams (horse and bullock), motor tractors, and lorries are con-constantly at work. The district is sadly lacking in good roads.mel bonum 42-43


Dairying, combined with the cultivation of fodders for the stock, is a progressive industry. About 30 settlers own Illawarra or mixed herds, milking on an average from 18 to 20 cows daily. The cream is sent to the Booval butter factory, while milk is sent to Brisbane for distribution. Some settlers are giving successful attention to market gardening, supplying the Brisbane and Ipswich markets. One, Mr. James Johnston, also has an up-to-date slaughter yard, and is growing cereals extensively, and Mr. W. Fox has a run of more than 1000 head of high-class poultry. A new settler, a Victorian, intends to combine with general farming the rearing of turkeys.


So far there is no township. Nevertheless, the district has its post office, telephone exchange, a store, a church, and picturesquely situated and commodious State School, with an attendance of 50 scholars under Mr. L. W. Harrison, headmaster, with Miss S. Bennet as assistant teacher. The school is No. 88, thus showing it to be amongst the earliest opened in the State. The first master was the late Mr. John Carroll, the father of the well-known cinema and theatre manager. Mr. Carroll died some years ago, but Mrs. Carroll is still hale and vigorous and has a high regard for the worthy and enterprising pioneers. The school, situated on a fine hill, commanding splendid views of the surrounding district, possesses a very energetic committee, of which Mr. S. Rice is president. The school also acts in conjunction with a Government Technical School at Goodna, where girls attend once a week to learn dressmaking and millinery.

After walking up and down the avenues of Mr. H. L. Jones’s bee farm, comprising 400 or 500 colonies of bees, listening to the interesting and informative talk of Mr. Jones on the habits of bees, and watching him and his son Mervyn handling frames and bees without gloves or veils, one is forced to the conclusion that bee culture is a fascinating occupation. Mr. Jones has a charming home, with his “farm” of bees in a large garden area.mel bonum 44-45

Mr. Jones considers that ideal conditions obtain in Queensland for bee farming and that the pollen and honey obtained from one Australian gum tree in bloom is worth a whole acre of garden flowers. Mr. Jones is enthusiastic as to the prospects of firmly establishing the honey trade with the English markets. His father and mother were early settlers and he was born on Redbank Plains 62 years ago. From early childhood, he has given deep study to bees. He has a library on bee culture, which contains some interesting old publications, one dated 1691 and another, a journal published in 1768, to which the then King and Queen subscribed.

Mr. Jones also carries on what he calls a “stud bee farm” for the production of high-quality queen bees. As an instance of the thoroughness with which this “stud bee farm” is conducted, it may be mentioned that Mr. Jones maintains records of the pedigree of his stock from which he supplies customers, not only in the Commonwealth but in various other parts of the world. He has orders for more than 1000 queens, ranging in price from 3/ to 30/ each, but he has some highly-bred queens for which he would not take £50 each. These queens are transmitted through the post, secured in tiny wooden and mesh cages, and in very few cases are mishaps or losses reported. Mr. Jones also has a sawmill and factory at Goodna for turning out accessories needful to the bee farmer.

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Tuesday 25 June 1929, page 6


June 24. For the second time within the past six months, the business premises of Mr. H. L. Jones have been broken into, Mr. Jones conducts an apiary at his residence at Redbank Plains, and sawmill and bee requisite supplies at Goodna. On Sunday morning. – about 8.30 o’clock, Mrs. R. Keane, who lives in a cottage close to the sawmill, noticed that a window had been removed from the store-room. She notified the police at Goodna, who acquainted Mr. Jones. On examination, it was found that two windows had been removed, and a large quantity of beeswax and a smoke lamp were missing. The value of these articles is estimated at about £7/10/. It is surmised that the burglary took place between midnight on Saturday and early on Sunday morning.mel bonum 46-47

Casino and Kyogle Courier and North Coast Advertiser (NSW: 1904 – 1932), Wednesday 22 January 1930, page 4


Between 30,000 and 40,000 bees for New Guinea sounds like something of an invasion, but that number was last week shipped from Brisbane by the

Marsina. Looked at in another way, however, the consignment is an ordinary trade one. It. comprises five full hives, each hive consisting of a queen and ten frames, and from 5000 to 10,000 workers. It has been found that more bees mean more cocoanuts, hence the importations. Plantation owners have been realising that the fertilisation of the flowers by means of bees has led to an increase in the number of cocoa-nuts produced, and for some time small consignments of queens or hives have passed over to New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and other places where cocoanuts are grown on a large scale. The consignment in the Marsina was for a mission station at Rabaul and represented a larger order than usual. It was sent from Mr. H. L. Jones’ Mel Bonum apiary, near Goodna. The summer pineapple crop in Queensland this season is estimated at 220,000 cases, which is a large increase on last year.

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Thursday 14 May 1931, page 9


The energetic efforts of the busy bee in its unceasing labours to provide the sweet, clear honey, which comes from the apiary of Mr. H. L. Jones, Goodna, continually holds the interest of the onlooker, for an observation hive is the main attraction of Mr. Jones’s exhibit. Honey extractors and all other appliances necessary in this industry are displayed for the edification of the public while two diplomas and medals from the Wembley Exhibition are proof of the true quality of the finished product.mel bonum 48-49

Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 – 1947), Monday 14 March 1932, page 9

Passing of a Pioneer

Known in many parts of Australia, and even abroad, as an apiarist, especially as a supplier of queen bees, and an authority on beekeeping generally. Mr. H. L. Jones, a Brother of Mr. Daniel Jones, the well known Queens land agronomist, died In the Ipswich General Hospital on Sunday night. The late Mr. Jones had been ailing only a short time before his death. One of his last public appearances was when he attended a gathering of Immigrants who arrived by the ship Saldanhan held at Mr. Daniel Jones’ residence, Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, recently. The late Mr. Jones was educated at old Normal State School and entered upon the beekeeping Industry shortly after leaving school, establishing himself at Redbank Plains and Goodna. He originated methods of queen bee and honeycomb production which earned for him commendation from experts in other parts of the world. In his younger days, he was a fine cricketer, playing frequently In Inter-colonial matches, and even In International cricket.

Mr. Jones took a keen Interest In the affairs of his district, and for many years was a member of the Purga Shire Council, occupying the chair at different times. When that and other shires were merged Into the Moreton Shire Mr. Jones was elected chairman of the first council. He was 66 years of age. He leaves a widow, one son, Mr. Mervyn Jones, and three daughters, one of whom is Miss Audrey Jones, well known In musical circles. In addition to his brother referred to above, there is another brother, Mr. James Jones, of Goodna.mel bonum 50-51

Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 – 1933), Monday 14 March 1932, page 12

Mr. H. L. Jones.

The death occurred in the Ipswich Hospital on Saturday night, after a brief illness, of Mr. H. L. Jones, of Redbank Plains, who had a wide reputation as an apiarist and as an authority on matters connected with the bee-keeping industry. After leaving the Normal School, Brisbane, as a young man, he established the Mel Bonum Apiary, at Redbank Plains and Goodna, and for many years he regularly sent queen bees, by post, to customers in all parts of Australia, and as far afield as New Zealand and South Africa, and occasionally to Europe and America. He had an extensive library on beekeeping, and established methods of working in connection with the production of queen bees and honeycomb that commended themselves to experts in France, the United States, and other places where the industry is on a progressive footing. The late Mr. Jones took a keen interest in everything that concerned the welfare of the district in which he lived. He was a member of the Purga Shire Council, and when that and other councils were combined in the Moreton Shire he was elected the first chairman, a position he retained till recently when he voluntarily relinquished the work to give place to a younger man. A lover of Nature, he had travelled extensively and was well acquainted with most of the mountain resorts in Southern Queensland. Mr. and Mrs. Jones were hospitable entertainers at their picturesque home among the hills overlooking the plains, and many friends will regret to hear of his death at the age of 66 years. Deceased was a brother of Mr. Dan Jones, of Brisbane, and Mr. James Jones, of Goodna, and leaves a widow, one son (Mervyn), and three daughters, one of the latter being Miss Audrey Jones, well known in musical circles. The late Mr. Jones was a prominent cricketer in his early days, and had played in inter-State and international elevens.

mel bonum back cover

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Monday 14 March 1932, page 6


In the death on Saturday of Mr. H. L. Jones, of Redbank Plains, Ipswich district lost one of its best known and most highly respected residents. A native of the Plains, he was an ardent worker for his district. Mr. Jones, who was 66 years of age, was an enthusiast in all his activities, which were many, and he had a reputation for efficiency and straight dealing. He built up a fine home in his native district and many visitors have been charmed by its surroundings—its fine orchard and its modern attractions. Redbank Plains and Goodna districts came first with the late Mr. Jones, who was always ready to help in any move for their advancement; but he was not parochial in his outlook. He took an interest in the wider field of politics and his views were always strongly in favour of assistance for the man on the land. Many years before politicians preached that Australia’s progress depended upon the welfare of the men engaged in primary production, Mr. Jones strongly advanced that sentiment on every possible occasion. Yet he recognised the claims of the industrialist and his right to organise for his own protection and advancement. Many years ago Mr. Jones made beekeeping a special business, and he became one of the leading apiarists in the Commonwealth. Queen bees and the productions of his hives, with equipment, have been sent all over Australia, and he was recognised as an authority on all phases of the subject. He established that business at Goodna and carried on successfully for a long term. For some years he had a sawmill also at Goodna. From the Redbank Plains home the products of his orchard, especially mangoes, had a wide reputation. His brother, Mr. D. Jones, made a speciality of cotton, and for some time was engaged by the Department of Agriculture as a cotton expert. The late Mr. H. L. Jones had a creditable record in local authority work. He was a member of the old Purga Shire Council before the shire was absorbed in the new areas constituted under the Greater Ipswich scheme inaugurated in 1917. He was Chairman of the Purga Council for a term. In 1917 the late Mr. Jones became the first Chairman of the Ipswich Shire Council. Soon afterwards its name was changed to Moreton. He held that position for nine consecutive years, winning it again when the local authority law was changed in 1921 to provide for the election of chairmen as well as councillors by the votes of the electors. In 1930 the late Mr. Jones did not offer himself for re-election. As an official and member of the local authority, as well as in his capacity as a citizen, the late Mr. Jones was ever ready to help in all war efforts. Any proposal for the comfort and encouragement of the men who went away to fight or had returned was sure of ardent support from the late Mr. Jones, and his practical patriotism was marked in many ways. He was a valued helper as an exhibitor and in other ways of the Q.P. and A. Society and the Chamber of Manufacturers, for he was a keen champion of local industry. In sporting, his favourite game was cricket, and in his younger days, the late Mr. Jones was one of the best left-hand batsmen in the district. His association with sport was marked by the same “cricket” spirit that he showed in all his activities. The late Mr. Jones leaves his widow, one son, and three daughters. His son, Mr. Mervyn Jones, is well known for his prowess in tennis, and Miss Audrey Jones, the blind pianist, is recognised as a clever musician. Mrs. E. Evans and Miss Valma Jones are the other daughters. The funeral will leave Reed’s parlour at 11 o’clock this morning for the Ipswich Cemetery.

Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), Friday 25 November 1949, page 2


What is believed to have been the first consignment of Australian bees ever sent to India, was airmailed on Tuesday by Mr. H. M. Jones. of “Mel Bonum” apiaries, Goodna. Mr. Jones. who is a noted breeder of bees, said the consignment consisted of one queen bee and 30 attendant worker bees. They were packed in a small wooden cage, with sufficient food to last three or four weeks. However, he expected that the bees would be delivered to Mr. Wrencke. Kurseong, North Bengal, within a fortnight. Mr. Jones explained that he fed the bees on a mixture of icing sugar and honey. The bees, which are the Italian species, apis mellifica, produce a much larger cell than the Indian bee and Mr. Wrencke is importing them in the hope of improving Indian honey standards. The cost of airmailing the consignment was 5/-.

All newspaper articles sourced from Trove.  

About the Author

The owner of Mt. Coramba Apiculture, Glenn Locke, has had the beekeeping urge since the early 1980’s as a 14-year-old teenager.

The Warwick (QLD) high school agriculture department had a few beehives and beekeeping was taught as a subject.  Glenn’s agriculture teacher Jim Caird let him have a nucleus hive, and the addiction started.

The move to the mid-north coast of NSW and particularly the beautiful Orara Valley means that Glenn now has the space to commence beekeeping again. Glenn has managed beehives in the Orara Valley since 2009.

Glenn is now concentrating on building his beekeeping business producing nucleus hives and queen bees for sale.

We also supply high quality local, raw honey.

Visit our online store.

Do you have any more information about the Mel Bonum apiaries or Mr. H. L. Jones?

Leave a comment below or Contact us. 

old beekeeping smokers

8 responses to “The Mel Bonum Apiaries – Goodna, Queensland”

  1. Helen McCosh says:

    Just thought you would be interested to know I am a granddaughter of. H.L. Jones.
    Daughter if Henry Mervyn.
    Have very much enjoyed reading your web page. Thank you. We are proud of our H.L.
    An amazing man of many parts.

    • cp-admin says:

      Thanks Helen. The catalogue sparked my interest & Trove provided the material. We owe a lot to the old-timers who paved the way. Best wishes, Glenn Locke

  2. Tim Wilson says:

    I am a great-grandson of Harry Jones (his daughter Queenie was my grandma). I recently joined the Nepean Beekeepers Society with a view to establishing a hive or two at my home in the Lower Blue Mountains. It runs in the blood I guess! Many thanks for your painstaking research

  3. Lucienne says:

    Hi, I lived in Redbank Plain as a child (1959-1965) and Mr Jones (not sure which one) had hives on our hobby farm. He was a kind man and knew that we played in his shed where he had extractors, equipment and his bees. My name is Lucienne and my mum was Mrs McLean. We had at least 50 mango trees so for sure the bees would have enjoyed the pollen. My memory of Mr Jones was quiet, friendly, gentle though I must admit we seldom ran into his company. All the best Lucienne

  4. Christopher Harrington says:

    It would be interesting to know how H.L. Jones operated this so called “stud farm,” given that artificial insemination was a much later development? How could “pedigree” be assured. Did he erect sex-domes like Gregor Mendel, or did he tether his Queens to silken threads like his American counterparts, or did have his own Australian method?