Mid North community mourns loss of Graham Lines

As bees migrate across Nelshaby each morning in soft morning light, the memory of Graham Clarence Lines is carried into a new day.

The 66-year-old Nelshaby beekeeper and cattleman, affectionately known as “Beeman” by his family and friends, is being mourned across the Mid North after he was killed in a car crash on Augusta Highway on June 23.

For members of the South Australian agriculture community, the humble ‘GCL’ badges attached to each piece of his beekeeping equipment will be a reminder of his passion for the industry he dedicated his life to.

Born and raised at Crystal Brook, it was his introduction to beekeeping during his education at Urrbrae Agricultural High School in Adelaide which sparked his lifelong passion.

Graham’s cousin Anthony Lines said his late relative was so taken by beekeeping as a teenager that he took his first two hives home during the school holiday break.

Mr Lines said Graham’s passion knew no bounds.

“At the peak of his business he had more than 1000 hives operating and had 1000 more in the shed ready to go,” Mr Lines said.

After starting beekeeping sites at Port Pirie and Coonamia, he settled in Nelshaby where he spent the past 20 years.

He was a regular at Harry's Homemade Fine Foods at Nelshaby where his love for his friends and food met. His honey remains proudly stocked on the shelves there.

The “Beeman’s” famous truck “Red Devil” made inroads into the lives of many across the state, with his bee pollen sites scattered far and wide from the south-east to the west of the state.

Mr Lines said that members of the beekeeping community would remember Graham as generous man with an uncanny memory for family connections across the state, while also being passionately protective of his bee sites. 

His love for beekeeping extended beyond his business, Yummy Bee Honey. He was a strong advocate for the Australian beekeeping industry and a fierce defender of the rights of producers.

With the product of his labour of love sitting proudly on shelves across the country, Mr Lines said his memory “would live on in the hearts of everyone” in the most appropriate way possible.

As for the bees which he cared for so diligently over many years, their migration honours the life of a man dedicated to his craft.