Joža (Joe) Hart arrived to Australia by plane together with his family. Their life in Australia they started at the Bonegilla Migrant camp.

Joža’s father Karl had an interest in bees from a young age and had kept bees whilst living back in Slovenia. When they immigrated to Australia, Karl was happy to find the presence of bees here, stating he didn’t want to stay anywhere unless there were bees.
His children grew up assisting Karl with caring for bees and beehives.

As a result of his upbringing, Joza has always been passionate and enthusiastic about bees and beekeeping. His father now lives in Queensland, in Stanthorpe, a town that sits in the heart of the Granite Belt.

Joza lives in Lilydale, Victoria where he and his wife run a successful business with their own brand: Hart’s Honey, managing all aspects of the business from production to selling. He sells predominantly at food markets and to private clients.

He has multiple bee sites across Victoria, NSW and Queensland where they run several hundred bee hives. He states that having sites across the 3 states allows him to capitalise on the diversity of unique flora that Australia has to offer therefore allowing for the large range of honey varieties they can produce under their label. Currently, the varieties on offer are:  Several types of Ironbark including Blue top, Kaleaf and Coastal; Yellow gum, River red gum, Stringybark, creamed honey, Orange Blossom and Mixed Blossom. Joža is proud to say he never adds sugar syrup to the honey and doesn’t think the practice is necessary or common in Australia due to the warmer climate.
He states that most Australian apiarists would leave the bees enough of their own honey to feed themselves during the winter months. In addition, it is common practice to increase the number of supers up to 3 to 4 during summer and to reduce the number to 1 to 2 during winter to keep the bees warmer. This allows them to survive the winter in a better condition.

In Joza’s opinion, the Australian bee industry is one of the best in the world exempt from a lot of diseases that commonly affect bee colonies in other countries. This also means that Australia is a key exporter of healthy bees to these countries allowing the continued survival of the bee keeping industry around the world. In addition, he states that the quality and the taste of the honey produced in Australia is as good as or better than anywhere in the world. In response to a question regarding whether he’ll always have bees, Joza said ‘I will always keep bees even if I retire from the business to my property in Queensland’.

Recorded by Draga Gelt

Photo Gallery

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Photo – Joža Hart and Draga Gelt

Honey Bee Pastures

Passion for bees

Dandenong market