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Archive for February, 2019

Fate of missing 18th century explorer could lie in Great Barrier Reef

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

It’s the high-seas mystery that’s confounded historians for almost 200 years: what happened to the famous French navigator Comte de La Pérouse
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La Pérouse disappeared without a trace in 1788 – along with two ships and 225 officers, sailors and scientists – while exploring the Pacific for King Louis XVI. Now, a Canberra researcher says the answer to this cold case could lie at the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef.

Anthropologist Dr Garrick Hitchcock of the Australian National University believes he has stumbled across a clue suggesting the last survivors of La Pérouse’s voyage were wrecked on the “graveyard of ships” – the Great Barrier Reef, near Murray Island.

Portrait of French explorer La Pérouse. Photo: ANU

“La Pérouse’s voyage of discovery in the Pacific is recognised as one of the most important of its era, rivalled only by the work of Cook,” Dr Hitchcock said.

But, after setting out in 1785, La Pérouse’s ships Astrolabe and Boussole were both wrecked three years later on Vanikoro in the Solomon Islands.

The survivors who made it to shore spent several months constructing a small “two-masted craft” from timber salvaged in the shipwreck and launched it in a bid to return to France.

“What became of this ship and its crew, desperate to return to France, has been an ongoing mystery,” Dr Hitchcock said.

Portrait of French explorer La Pérouse. Photo: ANU

On his way to the guillotine in 1793, it’s said King Louis XVI himself asked: “Is there news of La Pérouse?”

It was while digging into the history of Torres Strait that Dr Hitchcock came across a new lead – an article published in an 1818 Indian newspaper, The Madras Courier.

It tells the story of Shaik Jumaul, a castaway Indian seaman who survived the sinking of Morning Star off the coast of north Queensland in 1814. Jumaul lived on Murray Island for four years before being rescued by a merchant ship.

He told his rescuers he had seen muskets and cutlasses on the islands, which he didn’t recognise as being of English make, as well as a compass and a gold watch.

When he asked the Islanders how they came across these things, they told him a ship had been wrecked off the Great Barrier Reef, in sight of the island, about 30 years earlier.

New clue may reveal the fate of famous French explorer Comte de La Perouse. Photo: ANU

Boats with crew had come ashore but they were eventually killed as fights broke out with the locals.

“The chronology is spot on,” Dr Hitchcock said. “It was 30 years earlier, in late 1788 or early 1789, that the La Pérouse survivors left Vanikoro in their small vessel.”

According to Jumal’s account, the only survivor of the shipwreck was a small boy, who was saved and brought up by the local people “as one of their own”.

Outlining his theory in The Journal of Pacific History, Dr Hitchcock wonders if that child could be Françoiss Mordelle, a ship’s boy from northwestern France listed in the La Pérouse expedition crew list.

He said historians and maritime archaeologists were not aware of any other European ship being in the region at the time.

“This means that this is the earliest known shipwreck in Torres Strait, and indeed, eastern Australia.”

While the article was later reproduced in newspapers throughout Britain, France and Australia, where observers noted the parallels to the La Pérouse expedition, it has largely been forgotten and its clues missed.

Dr Hitchcock now hopes a future recovery of artefacts from the wreck site – yet to be discovered on the Great Barrier Reef – could solve the mystery of the doomed voyage once and for all.

Studded with reefs, rocks and sandbars, the Torres Strait region has seen at least 120 ships come to grief in its waters.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Couple flip out over home renovations

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

Couple flip out over home renovations SMART: Serial renovators Aaron and Shona Edwards have started a business “flipping” properties to improve their sale value. Picture: Marina Neil
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BEFORE: Aaron and Shona Edwards performed a “strategic makeover” of 20 Grayson Street, Kotara in a “stressful” but “rewarding” six-week period.

AFTER: Aaron Edwards has a knack for visualising an improved layout and says seeing the finished product is a huge reward for the effort.

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

BEFORE: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

AFTER: 20 Grayson Street, Kotara

TweetFacebookThe Block, but in fact Fletcher husband-and-wife renovation team Aaron and Shona Edwards do it witha lot lessdrama.

The Fletcher couple have been “flipping houses” for the past 11 years.

It started with what they thought would be “an investment property” in Brisbane and turned into a passion.

Now, nine transformed houses later, they have started their own renovation and staging business, Smart Makeover.

They found, unlike many people who swear they will never renovate again after their first attempt, they loved it.

“We did really well out of our first property,” Mr Edwardssaid.“It was owned by a hoarder, so there was that much stuff in it and it had been on the market for about six weeks with no offers.

“People would walk in and be overwhelmed and just walk straight out. I could see the potential in the property whereas others couldn’t, so we got that cheap.

“We went through and did minor cosmetic renovations and did really well out of it.”

Their most recent project, at 20 Grayson Street, Kotara, looks set to be their most successful.

The pair gave themselves a six-week period to transform thehome they bought in 2015. They have just listed it with PRDnationwide Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and it will be taken to auction by Michael Hardy on September 24. The couple hope to clear $250,000 in profit.

“Our two biggest secrets arebuy under market value and do a smart makeover,” Mrs Edwards said.

“Most have been short. There was only one we did which was a 12-month renovation and we lived in it. That one was tough and we won’t do that again.”

They have learned new “tricks and hacks” along the way and have started a blog sharing them for people doingDIY renovations.

“There are always possible blowouts,” Mrs Edwards, a trained primary school teacher, said.

“One property we pulled out the kitchen and the whole floor was just wet and had to be started again, so you never know exactly what you’re going to get, and it’s a challenge.

“This last one was stressful, I’m not going to lie, but we loved it, andI feel like I’m living my passion now. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

There was only one bone of contention –a shelving issue in the laundry which they transformed into a butler’s pantry.

But other than that they agree “we think a lot alike” and the end result is always worth the effort.

“My passion is turning it around, just from the original house to the finished product,” Mr Edwards said.“Seeing that is great.I love it.”

They will use their latest project to show clients what can be done in a short time frame.

“A lot of people overcapitalise,” Mr Edwards, a maritime worker,said.

“A lot of people go in without knowing the market to which they are renovating to.They do it to their expectations or their style.

“We’ve done well out of what we’ve done and we’ve learned from our mistakes.

“The 12-month project, it blew out, so that’s where we decided to hone in on timings. We overcapitalised because that was going to be our forever house … we did things to our standard there that exceeded market expectations, so it ate into our profit when we sold.

“That gave us that little bit of education.”

Fly beyond the cloud

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

Focus: “Life can be broader once you discover that the world we live in was made up by people no smarter or special than yourself,” says GreenBe founder David Catalovski.
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GreenBe is on Westpac’s top 200 Australian “Business of Tomorrow” list. What does it do?

GreenBe is a game-changing tech startup, and the onlysoftware solution of its kind in Australia. The cloud software is helping governmentsand utilities, such as councils and energy companies, todeliver transformative digital solutions that connect,engage and inspire citizensto change their behaviours. For example, the award-winning City of Melbourne web and smartphone apps (seemelbourne.greenmoney南京夜网419论坛) we provided have allowed the City of Melbourne to deliver a localised sustainability rewards and education platform allowingresidents, city workers and students to earn points in their online account for taking simple green actions like ditching the car or using a reusable coffee cup. Member points are then redeemed at businesses (which provide ‘rewards’), for city-wide discounts on restaurant meals, entertainment and services.

Name a recent project?

We worked with a Western Sydney local government with 110,000 household customers.Government is viewed as notoriously slow to embrace technology, so we were starting from a low base, but it has really transformed their entire digital experience into a Google-esque organisation with seamless services and programs for ratepayers.

And the outcomes?

They transformed into an innovative customer-focused organisation. The Googles and Amazons of the world have raised the bar for all types of industries; organisations now focus on the total customer experience and government is no different. Everyone now understands the difference between a great and poor customer experience.

You did law and commerce at the University of Newcastle. Your first job?

I was in a similar situation to many Newcastle graduates. I wanted to stay close to home but the lack of opportunities forced me to move to Sydney where I started as a graduate for a large national firm. Coming from a regional town, I had the pleasure of finding myself in courtbefore judges and briefing barristers after my second week. It was a steep learning curve but gave me confidence and I discovered what I was capable of professionally. Had I stayed locally, I may not have.

Why did you start GreenBe?

I was quite comfortable as a lawyer but I just couldn’t see myself doing it for the next 30-plusyears. I knew I could use my problem solving and analytical skills to start a firm that could tackle real world problems rather than representing faceless corporates. I had been an early adopter when it came to technology, having my first computer from a young age and it just came naturally. Building a software company was the logical step outside of law.

Your core demand?

The software business is quite binary: your solution either solves a problem for your client or it doesn’t. Most of our demand comes from government and utilities that are leaders on the innovation front and trying to push things forward to get an edge on competitors.

Is competition stiff?

Software is a winner takes all market. That said, government software is even more competitive as it’s dominated by the Oracles, IBMs and Microsofts of the world who have unlimited resources. Looking back, I guess it was my Novocastrian naivety that led us to believe that we could build complex software solutions and work with large organisations. It’s a lesson to anyone who is held back by a fear of failure – we miss 100 per cent of the opportunities we don’t take.

Is your software unique?

We’re in a niche space in Australia as we don’t have many competitors and the barriers to entry are high with government and utilities. Each customer is unique and some involve a lengthy tender process. Often clients needbespoke customisations.It would be easier if our solutions were a simple tool that does something specific, but our solutions are complex because businesses are complex.

Hardest part of work?

You constantly need to be innovating to build a competitive edge, especially when you’re competing against Fortune 500 companies.The minute you stop, you stop delivering value to customers. Every day we ask how can we improve what we deliver to make customers’ lives easier and improve their emotional experience so they remember how we made them feel.

The most rewarding?

Working with amazing young people who have a passion for the work they’re doing to the point of obsession. It’s a key reason why we opened an office in Newcastle’s CBD. We want to tap into the enormous amount of local talent coming out of the Hunter.

Best advice in business?

The same advice you can apply in life. At school, I was taught to get a job, save, don’t rock the boat too much and do that for 50 years. But life can be much broader once you realise the world we live in was made up by people no smarter or special than yourself. If you’re willing to work andconstantly learn, you can change and influence it, and build your own things that change lives. Once you learn that, you’ll never look at the world the same again.

David Catalovski

Das Hund Haus raffle winner’s last minute gamble pays off

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

Cheers: James Sneddon with Guy Ashford, his wife Lisa and their son Rhys, who will “have to get his RSA”. Picture: Marina NeilFORMER 2HD general manager Guy Ashford is the new owner of Das Hund Haus, after buying the winning ticket ina raffle for the Hamilton business just hours before it was drawn.
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‘’It’s surreal, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would win,” Mr Ashford said.

“Ï’ve never won a chook raffle –I’ll spend $17 on Lotto and feel good getting $5.20 back. This is absolutely the best $25 I’ve ever spent.”

Mr Ashford, a married father of two who is now regional manager for Bartercard, bought the $25 two-for-one meal voucher –which gave buyers five free entries into the lottery to win the restaurant and bar plus $30,000 cash – about three hours before sales closed at 5pm on Thursday.

“We [my colleagues and I] were joking if we won we would not be coming to work tomorrow,” Mr Ashfordsaid.

“Then I went home, had tea, put the jammies on and was in front of the tv –I forgotall about tonight.”

Das Hund Haus founder James Sneddon uploaded a file of the names of all12,621 voucher buyersto website random.org, which selected Mr Ashford as winner around 8pm.

Calls and text messages started trickling in, including from one friend in Brisbane who learnt of the win via someone following the campaign online in London.

“I decided I better get down here,” Mr Ashford said.

“We’re not going to talk business tonight, we’re just going to celebrate.

“I’ve got no idea what I’m going to do, I’ve never run a restaurant before.

“I’ll be waking up on Friday and going online to check I hadn’t just been eating too much chocolate, which gives me weird dreams.”

The business was raffled with 33 months on the lease, no debts andless than 20 litres of alcohol.

The liquor licence will be transferred to the new owner.

TheNewcastle Heraldreported in April Mr Sneddon had decided to sell the business by raffle after Australian couple Doug and Sally Beitz raffledtheir Micronesian island resort.

Hesaid he had listed the business – which he estimated was valued at between $150,000 and $225,000 –for $200,000 earlier this year, but was unable to reach a deal.

Mr Sneddonsecured a permit from Liquor and Gaming NSW to hold a trade promotion to sell the $25 vouchers.

He will spend the money he collected from voucher sales developing his new business Stigma Health, an online sexual health clinic

The sale comes in the middle of a big week for the entrepreneur.

He and fiancee Pip Cave were told on Wednesday they were expecting a baby boy, due March, and he will mark his 30thon Sunday.

Creek triggers missing from flood plan

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

Colin Webb, Robin Macdonald and Brian Wilson died during the superstorm that hit Dungog on April 21, 2015. An inquest into their deaths began at Newcastle Courthouse on August 29, 2015.Dungog’s new flood plan doesn’t outline the flash flood trigger points for the creek that caused a major inundationduring the 2015 superstorm, a court has heard.
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But the State Emergency Service says it will work with Dungog Shire Council to update the plan, which went on public exhibition earlier this year.

SES Hunter Region controller Stephen Hart gave evidence on the fourth day of the inquest into the deaths of Colin Webb, 79, Robin Macdonald, 68, and Brian Wilson, 72, at Newcastle courthouse on Thursday.

The trio died during a flood on the morning of April 21.

The court heard that the flash flood started at 5.05am after Myall Creek backed up.

The Williams River did not peak until after the flash flood.

But the court heard that the new Dungog flood plan principally dealtwith triggers –or causes –behind river flooding.

The planmakes several references to Myall Creek and points out that it can flood independently of the Williams River.

However, the court heard the plan doesn’t include information about the creek’s trigger points.

Mr Hart said the SES was preparing a flash flood action card for the Myall Creek and would work with council to update the 2017 flood plan.

The inquest, before Deputy State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan, continues.

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