Boots for Change Dinner

IMG_0156_2Helloooooooooo Everybody!

There is an update coming tomorrow about what we have been up to here at Fealy Family HQ over the last 8 or so months (eeeeek) since we last posted, but today I want to share a post that has been desperate to hit the blog for months now!

Here goes …………………………………….. Continue reading

Categories: Atherton Tablelands, Blue Sky Produce, Every Family Needs A Farmer | 2 Comments

Exciting News – A Nuffield Scholar in the house!



Nuffield Australia 2017 Scholarship winner


Matthew Fealy from Mareeba in Far North Queensland, receives a 2017 Nuffield Scholarship supported by Woolworths. He will investigate how the use of robotics in horticulture has the opportunity to revolutionise the industry.

Matthew has only recently made a career change into horticulture. He was a senior manager at a global travel agency for over a decade before taking on his current role as farm manager for a 153-acre family farm that produces mangoes, avocados and Tahitian limes for the Australian and export markets.

He believes that that the industry has significant labour costs and a dwindling labour supply, yet has little or no automation of repetitive tasks.

“Robotics, automation and mechanisation will not only alleviate the impending labour problem, it can also help improve profits and yield through better farm management practices,” he said.

“I see a (near) future where we can utilise advanced probes to facilitate precise fertilising and watering along with cutting-edge camera technology to assess tree health, crop and harvest forecasting, as well as maturity testing.”

As an active member of his local growers’ association, and a board member of the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA), Matthew continues to demonstrate commitment to the success of horticulture in Australia into the future.

“I have four children who I want to be involved in an exciting, rewarding, profitable horticulture industry. If there is a way I can help the industry, it is very much in my best interests to make it happen.”

The awarding of this scholarship will enable him to attend Automatica – International Trade Fair for Automation and Mechatronics in Germany. Matthew will also visit farms using robotics in Israel, the Netherlands and Spain. Visits to the USA and Japan will also take place.

Location: Mareeba, Queensland
Mobile: 0402 412 471
Scholarship report:
Returning Scholar presentation:

Matthew Fealy is sponsored by:

Categories: Every Family Needs A Farmer, Nuffield Farming Scholarship | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

The Next ‘Steve Jobs’ Will Be A Farmer


This is an article I wrote for the Queensland Country Life “View From The Paddock” Segment

My view from the paddock hasn’t been mango trees recently, instead it has been city lights and busy streets as I have been fortunate enough to attend both the Nuffield Australia farming conference and the GrowAg summit over the last few weeks.

At the risk of sounding corny – my take home from my time away from the farm, is that it is an incredibly exciting time to be involved in Agriculture.

The global trends of a rural to urban migration wave, combined with a hungrier world, a wealthier world, choosy customers and transformative technology make for a ripe mix in the Agriculture arena.

Innovation is a real buzz word at the moment, but that is rightly so and the challenge for Agriculture is how be involved in this ‘knowledge revolution’.  65% of kids in school today will work in jobs in the future that currently don’t exist.  Rural communities need entrepreneurs who will combat the ‘brain drain’ and build global businesses from their bedrooms, creating jobs and boosting rural economies.  

Innovation is about putting ideas and knowledge to good use.

Worldwide, agricultural productivity growth is slowing – the key to making the most of future agriculture opportunities is efficiency in production.  For this to occur, we need new technology coupled with an innovative culture.  There is much passion, talent and ideas in agriculture but not enough commercialisation, patents or venture capital to bring these innovations to market. 

We need to build an eco-system that supports an entrepreneurial mindset in rural Australia.

However – we must not lose sight of the fact that before you can innovate, you must get the basics right.  Production (ground prep, weed control, livestock management, timing) and business fundamentals must come before value adding, there is no ‘magic tool’ for sustainable and profitable farming.  The drivers of production and productivity in farming won’t change but there is huge potential for productivity growth – driven by technology, precision agriculture and big data collection.

Xavier Rizos, from the Westpac Innovation Garage was a highlight from the GrowAg conference. Rizos said ‘the next Steve Jobs will be a farmer’, and explained to delegates that one of the biggest innovations Steve Jobs delivered was not the technology itself…it was providing the product at a price people could afford.

We need to look beyond our borders for innovation and inspiration in ag so as not to run the risk of re-inventing the wheel.  

Equally important is the fact that we will have to take our consumers on this agri innovation journey with us to ensure they are informed of the benefits of increased quality, less waste and enriched sustainability due to innovations in their food and fibre production.

During one of the breakout sessions at the GrowAg event, we were asked to visualize Australian Agriculture in 2026 as robust, innovative, successful, well funded, abundant, affordable, and healthy. We were then asked to figure out how, specifically, this future came to be.

My answer?  We, the farmers of today, must commit and get involved in our industries, we must collaborate, we must converse with our consumers and we must embrace being creative.

The farms of the future will be owned by the farmers who get it right today.


Categories: Blue Sky Produce, Every Family Needs A Farmer | 2 Comments

OzTrail Lockyer Swag

As many of you will know, we won a bit of a big prize from OzTrail with this photo:



The major prize was an excellent tent, some top of the line camp chairs, and a bunch of really great gear from OzTrail.

Not being ungrateful in the least, but recognising that we actually would not use just about anything from the prize, we very humbly asked OzTrail if they would consider swapping the prize pack out for a few swags, being that we had been wanting to buy all the kids a swag each for some time now, in fact, we had pretty much made our mind up on the OzTrail Lockyer and it was only a matter of saving more pennies until we bought them.

We were over the moon to be told that OzTrail were more then happy to send us out the swags instead, I really wish we had of videoed the kids reaction when we told them the news, priceless. When they arrived, we set them up, in their bedrooms, and they slept in them for a week! Continue reading

Categories: Camping, Modifications, Planning, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lake Tinaroo – Barrabadeen Campground


It’s a lovely overcast afternoon here at Blue Sky – as close as we are going to get to a rainy day in Mareeba, so perfect blogging weather!  Those of you who follow us on instagram and facebook will know that on the ANZAC Day long weekend we had a terrific time camping with all the extended family at Camp Barrabadeen, Lake Tinaroo.  Camping at Lake Tinaroo was on our ‘hitlist’ for this year so it is awesome to have ticked another little adventure off.  Camp Barrabadeen is owned by the Scout Organisation and we have camped here many times with the kids as part of their scouting activities so we knew it was a top spot.  Hot showers, toilets, firepits, pretty level and shady sites right on the water, ability to hire canoes and you can launch your boat from right in front of the campsites – it doesn’t get much better than that!  It is a little expensive – $10 per person per night – kids under 6 free, but the money does go to a good cause! Continue reading

Categories: Atherton Tablelands, Camping, Qld Camping, Tropical North Queensland | Leave a comment

Led Lenser SEO7R LED Headlamp

Following in the theme of our “reviews” only being for truely stand out products, here is another essential bit of kit in our camping box.

Led Lenser SEO7R

Led Lenser SEO7R

So like everyone, we have all bought the $5 LED torch at the counter of BCF or the local hardware, right? (go on, admit it). Well, how long did it last? How long did the batteries last? Oh, and here’s a good question, did it actually put out ANY light??

Ok, so after swallowing your pride and realising a $5 torch is actually worth about -$50 (time to buy new batteries, time spent banging it on the side to make it work, time plastering your shin from that half wall you fell down because you couldn’t see jack whilst using it) you splash out and buy a $30 torch. Things are great, life is grand, and you can see on the “bright” side again, yeah for you……. So you put that torch back in the camp box only to pull it out again 6 months later on your next camp, only to realise the batteries are flat, they have leaked everywhere inside the torch, and you are now 7 hrs from the nearest store.

Enter, the SEO7R. Continue reading

Categories: Camping, Planning, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fealy Family Update


I feel like all I do on the blog these days is apologise for the long stretch is has been since we last blogged! Gah!  Anyway, we are here and still kicking along.  Things are busy, so busy in our little Fealy Family world.  To be honest, I think we have let things get out of whack a little – family time seems to have been pushed out due to farm stuff, scouts stuff, my volunteer/work stuff, kids stuff – so much stuff!  When we headed off on our trip to travel oz, we did it to try to simplify our life and change some habits – this was fairly successful on our trip and we had planned to try to keep some of that simplicity in our life when we moved to Blue Sky, but we’ve let all the ‘stuff’ creep back in.  I don’t really know what the solution is – it all feels important, we’ve no idea what to let go of, but as a start, now that the craziness of mango and avocado season has finished, we are trying to prioritise some family time again.

So here’s a bit of an update on the Fealy Family as at April, 2016.   Continue reading

Categories: About Us | 8 Comments

Nature Play

Jack amusing himself in the campground. Continue reading

Categories: About Us, Camping | 3 Comments

Celebrating 3 years of Blogging!

blogging-success-2013-green-wood-1t4tkvsHello Everyone.  Things have been a little bit of crazy busy (in a good way) in the Fealy Family recently – gah – bring on the end of the avocado season and hopefully a slow down in the Easter School holidays!  We’ve landed in March 2016 already which is a bit of a milestone month for us as that means we’ve been blogging on this little ‘Are We There Yet?’ blog for just over three years now – wow – that’s a lot of rambling away on the keyboard!  Thanks so much to all those who are still following along – I know that this blog doesn’t fit nicely in any real niche – we’re not true travel or camping bloggers – there are too many posts about kids birthdays and parenting moments and other ‘fluff’ for that.  However – we’re not true lifestyle/parenting/mummy bloggers, nor are we totally just farm bloggers.  I don’t really know where we fit – ‘Are We There Yet?’ is definitely a mish mash of all of these things and while the statistics say that not fitting nicely into a blog ‘category’ means we will never make it big in the blogging world – we’re ok with that, as the aim of this blog has always been about ‘making memories of us’ and we’re a pretty crazy, mish mashed kinda family! Continue reading

Categories: About Us | 4 Comments



So I had set myself the goal of finishing all the posts about our ‘Fealy Family Adventure 2015’ by the end of January.  I’m hoping that finishing this last post off by the end of February kinda gets me over the line? Sort of, maybe?  No, not really, I know.  Anyway, we are right in the throes of planning ‘Fealy Family Adventure 2016’ now, so definitely looking forward to some new posts later in the year!

Ok, right – where were we? After a wonderful few days at Elim Beach, we dragged ourselves away with the promise from Matt that we would find a beautiful spot on the Palmer River near Maytown to set up for the next few nights.  Just for the record – I had voted to stay a few more nights at Elim, but Matt loves freshwater far better than the beach so he was keen to head off and find a little spot of paradise all to ourselves! Continue reading

Categories: Camping, Qld Camping, Tropical North Queensland | Leave a comment

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