Bees then and now
On April 1st 1976, an unusual request was made to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Billy Snedden. It was from the Member for Holt, William Yates, asking to bring some beehives to keep in the House of Representatives Garden. Thinking this was some kind of April Fools' Day joke, Snedden agreed to it. Soon, beehives arrived in the Gardens and Yates, an avid apiarist, could be seen roaming the halls of Parliament in a beekeeper’s outfit! Once the joke, or lack thereof, had been realised, proper approvals for the bees were then sorted out, and they became known as the ‘privileged bees’. The honey that the bees produced proved popular with politicians of all parties, and were even used to sweeten up opponents. While Yates’ bees left the Gardens when he left politics, more recently beehives have returned to the House of Representatives Garden. In 2019, a hive of bees found a temporary home in the Gardens as part of a three month trial to help pollinate the flowers.