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Kimberley Development Commission allocates $90,000 to support Walaja Raw Bush Honey expansion

In 2022, through its RED Grants program, the Kimberley Development Commission allocated Walaja Raw Bush Honey a $90,000 grant to support the expansion of their activity.

Walaja Raw Bush Honey: ancestral practices combined with modernity

Nested in the heart of the Kimberley, in the Gumaranganyjal country, Walaja Raw Bush Honey is a family-owned business which produces honey using the nectar of the native trees growing in the region. With more than 400 bee colonies, Walaja Raw Bush Honey is particularly famous for its Melaleuca honey. The company also uses the nectar extracted from the Grevillea Wickamii flowers as well as the Bloodwood tree to produce organic, high-quality honey… 

Benefiting from a land free of any disease or any industrial or chemical pollution, medicinal trees and flowers blossom and Walaja  – which means Honey in Yawuru – Raw Bush Honey incorporates the knowledge and ways of the Yawuru people to extract the most out of them in their honey. Blending these ancestral methods with new technologies and machinery, Walaja Raw Bush Honey brings together tradition and modernity. 

Walaja Raw Bush Honey also plays a part in the production of watermelon in the region. Indeed, every year, the company moves some of its beehives to the nearby watermelon farms to pollinate the melon – from which it extracts a light and floral honey.

Having deep connections to the Kimberley region, Walaja Raw Bush Honey fosters the region’s development while showcasing its abundant natural resources and preserving its cultural heritage.

Melaleuca honey, a health ally

The origins of Melaleuca go back several decades. Also known as the Australian tea tree, the Melaleuca tree is deeply rooted in the heritage of the Yawuru people. Indeed, it is believed that, for many years, the original custodians of the land used tea trees as a remedy for many ailments. 

Whether they crushed the leaves to extract the oil and inhale it to fight coughs and colds, brewed them in an infusion to treat sore throats or applied them on the skin for minor wounds, abrasions insect bites and stings, indigenous people would make the best of the medicinal properties of this ancient tree, using it in a variety of ways. 

Since then, the Melaleuca tree has grown famous in Australia and abroad for its diverse medicinal properties: wound-healing, sore throat soother, gut health support… Now used in different products (essential oils, powder, probiotics…), it remains essentially famous for the unique taste and aroma of its honey.   

At Roebuck Plains, where Walaja Raw Bush Honey is located, their honey comes specifically from the Salt Water Paperbark (Melaleuca). Scientifically analysed, the Walaja Raw Bush Honey possesses important antibacterial and medicinal properties making it a singular and particularly health-friendly product.

A growing activity and community thanks to the support of the Kimberley Development Commission support

In order to accelerate its development and expansion, in 2022, Walaja Raw Bush Honey took part in the 5th round of the Red Grants program initiated by the Kimberley Development Commission. 

As they won a $90,000 grant, Walaja Raw Bush Honey’s business adventure took a major turn. These funds allowed them to construct a purpose-built facility that leapt forward their commercial production. As their activity grew, they were able to create new employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal people hence giving back to the Kimberley community and contributing to the growth of the region. 

Thanks to the initial support of the Kimberley Development Commission, Walaja Raw Bush Honey received another boost from Coles, in 2023. A $320,000 grant that helps them create a purpose-built honey extraction facility with food-grade stainless steel machinery. This improvement helped them accelerate and diversify their production. Notably, Walaja Raw Bush Honey was able to extend its range of products bringing into the market a new premium Melaleuca honey.

Benefiting from the support of the Kimberley Development Commission as well as from the Australian-owned supermarket brand to expand its activity, Walaja Raw Bush Honey now hopes to be able to give back to the community. 

“We strive to advance our beekeeping techniques and offer more employment opportunities to Yawuru people, Njabi people: to local indigenous people.” David Appleby

With strong ties to the Kimberley region, Dianne and David Appleby are proud to contribute to the region’s growth while promoting the richness of its land and its heritage.

“Kimberley is a very special place. It’s unique It has so many beautiful ways to find natural medicinal properties from plants and the flowers they produce. They are certainly no other place than a place call home and Kimberley is certainly one of these unique places we call home.”, Dianne Appleby

RED Grants Program: Empowering the people of Kimberley

In 2018, the Kimberley Government initiated the Regional Economic Development Grants (RED Grants) program. Designed to provide support for a range of local projects aimed at stimulating economic growth and advancing the development of regional Western Australia, it was developed for nine years.

With a budget of $50.85 million to distribute, the RED Grants program allocates grants of up to $250,000 to projects that contribute to the region’s growth by boosting employment opportunities, strengthening skills and expertise within the Kimberley region, and attracting new investments.

Developed in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), this program backs up initiatives that align with the Kimberley Development Commission’s regional priorities and objectives:

  • Aboriginal economic development
  • Innovation and Industry Diversification
  • Growing primary production
  • Tourism
  • Workforce development and accommodation
  • Vibrant communities and innovation

Scheduled to run until 2026, the RED Grants Program has already allocated $2.9 in the Kimberley Region to support the development of various local initiatives, such as the Shire of Halls Creek and the Marine Biomedical. You can find the complete list of projects here.


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