Stanko was born in 1939 in village Smokvica, Primorska (Littoral Region of Slovenia).

He arrived to Australia in 1961 and stayed with his aunty and uncle at Footscray.

He told us:

“For 40 years I am hooked on beekeeping. I am member of Slovenian Beekeeping Society.

In 1994 I established a Bee-Keeping School at the Slovenian Club Jadran at Diggers Rest, which is still running.

I am also subscriber to the Australian Bee Journal, Victorian members Journal and has interviews for many local and Victorian newspapers.

Victorian Apiary Association exists for 118 years and I attend the meetings since 1978.

My father kept bees as a hobby.

I love bees. The beekeeping was always in my heart.

I have council permission to keep 2 beehives at home and 5 beehives at a property of 5 acres.

I take bees to the pastures to Wedderburn, 200km away, towards Mildura and also to Gippsland, East of Melbourne.

Gippsland often has droughts and the bees have nothing to feed on.

The best pastures are in the state forests.

The bees in Mildura are on private properties and the fee of $65.00 applies for each beehive for the term of 3 weeks.
At the time of flowering of almonds, up to 25 beehives are housed there.
Bees come from NSW and Queensland.
I exhibit my honey and honey products, as well as wax items at various exhibitions and competitions and at the Royal Melbourne Show for number of years.
The Slovenian Festivals are staged every two years in Victoria and I always participate.
Local paper Leader reports on those occasions and always fascinated with the “bee beard”.
I have received many trophies, Certificates and acknowledgements.
I have thought many Slovenians and members of other nationalities beekeeping.
They all enjoy the bees and are proud owners of them, many also owners and admirers of the popular Carniolian Grey Bee - Kranjska sivka.”

Stanko has established a Beekeeping School at club Jadran in 1997-1997.

His motivation was:
"I have seen Australian Apiary Associations with centres in Gippsland, Ballarat, Mildura and Melbourne. They had no building or anything else to show to the public. They had no money.
Perhaps they could as local council for hiring some of the Crown land to build a simple hut - nothing.
The first leader of the Apiary Association was a German member in 1998, who first started with the bees.
I just by chance went to Bendigo and stopped at the Slovenian Club Jadran in Diggers Rest for a glass of beer.
The German man suggested the venue for the Beekeeping centre.
I have parted from the Melbourne Beekeepers Association.
We formed a Slovenian Beekeepers Association: I was the leader, Peter Mandel was the first secretary and also suggested the name: Čebelarska šola "J" - Beekeeping School "J" (meaning Jadran club).

The beekeepers attending the meeting at Jadran beekeeping school were of diferent nationalities, not just Slovenians: Slovenians - 5; Croats -10; Russian - Bee Doctor - and 5; Australian - 3; Bosnians - 3; Germans - 3; Austrian - 1; Slovaks - 3; Romanins - 4; Chine - 2; Somalia - 1; Lebanon - 1;French - 1, the President of Melbourne Section, who showed us a video of Apemandia - Annual World Festival being in a different country every year. In year 2002 it was in Australia.
I attended the The Apemandia in Canberra.

A Russian German is a fanatical beekeeper from Königsberg, renamed Kaliningrad in 1946 in memory of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Mikhail Kalinin. The remaining German population was forcibly expelled between 1947 and 1948. The conquered territory was populated with citizens of the Soviet Union, mostly ethnic Russians.The German language was replaced with the Russian language. In 1950, there were 1,165,000 inhabitants, which was only half the number of the pre-war population.

Slovenian Embassy in Canberra is organising a special celebration for the INTERNATIONAL BEE DAY in May and I will participate with a basket full of beekeepers' goodies.

Our Beekeeping School "J" holds meetings every second Thursday of the month. Usually we have a different speaker every time.
My speach was: Autumn managing of bees.
We also have practical sessions - sample: a beehive and work necessary.
Every month we have reports as:
a. what is flowering at the time
b. What will flower next
c. Suggestions for the pastures
d. Council permission for Crown land

We talk of good pastures, of draughts, giving water to bees in large politerine boxes, equipped with a "float" for bees to settle on and drink.

We all believe in Slovenian ttradition of beekeeping. Slovenia has everything very organised.
Australia supports the Beekeeping Schools.
We also get some public exposure: Radio SBS, 3ZZZ, 3AW and local newspapers - Leader newspaper.
I - we participate at the beekeeking festivals and SSOV festivals at Slovenian Associations in Victoria: Planica, Eltham, Jadran, Geelong.

For the future we hope people and the beekeepers will continue to lead and participate.
Sometimes we are dissapointed, but hoping for the continuation.


My bees are almost always on private properties - in agreement with the owner."

More about Stanko

Recorded by Draga Gelt


Photo Gallery

For enlargement click on the photo

Photo - Maria Iskra and Draga Gelt

Certificates and Trophies

Beekeeping Journals