Smudge Eats: The Urban Beehive

[Originally published on Smudge Eats, October 2015]

The Urban Beehive, Sydney

- by Camilla Sampson

Bees are a vital part of our living environment and two ecologically conscious Sydneysiders decided they needed to help make a difference in the rapidly reducing bee population.

The Urban Beehive was set up in 2010 by Doug Purdie and Vicky Brown. Vicky has been working with bees for 15 years, and she had always dreamed of keeping bees in an urban environment. Doug read about the decline of bees in 2008 and joined the NSW Beekeepers Association before becoming its president for three years. It was here Doug teamed up with Vicky and The Urban Beehive was born.

Their aim: to set up urban beehives all over the city to help boost the environment, pollination and number of honeybees in Sydney. Together they promote the genetics of wild bee populations by capturing feral bee swarms to populate beehives. They’ve installed beehives in private and community gardens, and on rooftops around the city, from Bondi to Manly, and everywhere in between, including the Botanic Gardens.

In Manly, Belgrave Cartel hosts an Urban Beehive on its rooftop. It’s a cafe and wine bar focussed on just being themselves and making customers feel like they’re part of the family. They are also building their own herb garden alongside The Urban Beehive, and hope to incorporate both of these fresh products into the menu. Belgrave Cartel believes Doug and Vicky’s initiative is, “helping build awareness of the situation, and at the same time producing delicious honey for us to sell and use in our menus”. In linking Urban Beehives to restaurants and bars throughout the city, Doug and Vicky are helping the bees, our ecosystem’s future and providing us with many tasty morsels.

The Cornersmith Cafe in Marrickville also has beehives on the rooftops of its Picklery and Cafe. A small, family-run café, its philosophy for food focusses on sustainable and ethical food production. The chefs source produce as locally as possible, and work with what is in season. Honey is drizzled across various dishes on their menu, making up delicious combinations such as labneh, figs and cornersmith honey with toasted almonds on sourdough. Aside from using and selling the honey themselves, they run workshops with Doug and Vicky so you too can learn about the bees.

This September the Urban Beehive even opened its first beekeeping shop, the first of its kind in the central Sydney area. Here you can acquire the equipment to become a beekeeper yourself. Something Doug and Vicky hope many Sydneysiders will do to help protect the future of bees.



The Urban Beehive Shop, 101 Baxter Road, Mascot 2020
Wednesday to Friday 9am – 5pm
Saturday 9am – 4pm

The Belgrave Cartel, 6 Belgrave Street, Manly, NSW 2095
Monday to Tuesday 6am – 2pm
Wednesday to Friday 6am – midnight
Saturday 7am – midnight
Sunday 7am-  10pm

Cornersmith Cafe and Picklery, 314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, NSW 2204
Monday to Friday 6.30am – 3.30pm (Open 5.30am-11pm on Thursday)
Saturday 5.30am – 11pm
Sunday 7.30am – 3.30pm