Felines take to the catwalk in fashion extravaganza

Felines take to the catwalk in fashion extravaganza Sam Checo dresses her Mango backstage ahead of the cat fashion show.

Hamlet VIII sits on his perch at the front desk at the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

Aodhan, complete with fedora outfit.

Meet Merlin.

Saorsie was dressed in a “modernism outfit”.

A portrait of Hamlet VIII hangs behind Edwin Garcia, centre, as he works the front desk at the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

Aodhan, complete with fedora , is presented on the red carpet.

Merlin, dressed in a 1920s tail tuxedo and top hat on the red carpet.

Hamlet VIII walks past Edwin Garcia as he works the front desk at the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

Chief Cat Officer Alice De Almeida pets Hamlet VIII as he sits on his perch at the front desk at the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

Pedestrians stop to inspect Hamlet VIII as he sits on his perch in a window of the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

Aine, dressed as a flapper is seen backstage ahead of the cat fashion show.

Siobhan Moore dresses her cats backstage ahead of the cat fashion show at the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

TweetFacebookIt combined two facets of life that entrancemany –fashion and cats.

It was a cat fashion show at New York’sAlgonquin Hotel on August 2.

The event is a fundraiser for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, which helps support more than 150 animal shelters and rescues in New York.

Star of the annual feline fashion extravaganza was the hotel’s 12th residentcat, a ginger male with a suitably impressive name, Hamlet VIII.

Hamlet VIII made his party debut this year, perched in his treehouse at the front desk, strutting for guests in a sparkly silver bow tie.

Organisers said more than $10,000 was expected to be raised, fueled in part by $75-a-pop ticket sales and a silent auction.

International Cat Dayis celebrated on August 8, every year. It was created in 2002 by theInternational Fund for Animal Welfare.

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Wallsend MP fights to keep roads and maritime jobs ‘local’

PRINCIPLES: The NSW Opposition is unhappy with a government IT tender that is designed to replace hundreds of Australian positions with cheaper labour offshore, probably from India.HUNTER information technologyworkers fear for their jobs after it was revealed that Roads and Maritime Services was demanding its suppliers use overseas workers in their contracts, Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery says.

Ms Hornery tabled a notice of motion in the NSW parliament on Wednesday morning, calling on the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, to stop the tender from going ahead.

Confidential negotiations between the NSW government and a shortlist of contractors made headlines a fortnight ago, and while the government denied it had a “mandated requirement” for jobs to go offshore in the contracts, various documents pertaining to the work indicated otherwise.

Ms Hornery said she had been contacted by a number of Hunter people working for the department, who feared for their jobs if the contracts went through.

“The original stories said Indian IT workers typically earned $10 an hour compared to $100 an hour but the people our office has spoken with are on about a third of that rate,” a spokesperson for Ms Hornery said.

“The job can be done from anywhere because you just have to log onto the system to get your work done, although they do move around to various work sites as well.”

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery

The notice of motion called on the parliamentary lower house to note that “RMS have announced they will be sending 300 jobs overseas as a part of their IT contract and that a minimum of 20 per cent of jobs will be sent overseas in the first year and 30 per cent in the second year.

The motion “calls on the minister to put a stop to offshoring jobs”.

Asked by a constituent what Labor’s position was on the offshoring of jobs, Ms Hornery said: “There will always be work that is conducted overseas because it’s not done locally but we are not going to offshore any jobs that can be done in Australia.”


March 2017:Newcastle rail call centre under closure cloud

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Acne, warts clogging Qld emergency wards

Doctors are begging patients with minor ailments to visit a GP, not an emergency department.Patients with acne, splinters and warts are clogging Queensland emergency departments as doctors plead for them to instead seek help from a GP.

About 32 per cent of the 155,000 emergency department presentations in the state’s public hospitals every month could instead be treated by a GP, Queensland Health’s Chief Clinical Information Officer Keith McNeil said.

“We’ve had presentations for acne, hiccups, ingrown nails, blisters, warts and sunburn – not to mention the thousands of sprains and bruises our ED nurses and physiotherapists treat,” he said.

“Our outstanding ED clinicians work hard, saving life and limb, and ensuring people are treated in a timely manner (and) these non-emergency and less severe type presentations make it much harder to do that.

In the six months to June, 33 people sought emergency treatment for acne, 43 for an ingrown nail, two for nightmares and more than 2000 for splinter removal.

People also sought help for warts, nappy rash, new prescriptions and bruises.

Figures from Queensland Health for the month of June showed around 3900 people across the state walked out of emergency departments before receiving treatment because they were not prepared to wait to see a doctor.

However a spokesperson from Queensland Health said this figure represented just 2.55 per cent of the 153,000 patients who fronted EDs in that month.

“This is half of the five per cent benchmark that was set a number of years ago by the Queensland Emergency Department Strategic Advisory Group, after clinical consultation, as an internal measure for Queensland public hospitals,” she said.

She added that almost all of those who left were the lowest level category five patients with minor ailments.

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How to change tack from daydreamer to adventurer

RICH LIFE: Businessman, adventurer and author Graham Murphy at lunch with Scott Bevan. Picture: Simone De PeakTHE winter westerly is whipping along the harbour front, clawing its way through layers of clothing,chilling the skin and bones of anyone on the foreshore.

“It’s cold out there,” I offer to Graham Murphy, as we sit in the sheltered outdoor area ofHoneysuckle Hotel.

Then I realise my definition of “cold” and his are probably poles apart.

“I still feel the cold,” Murphy says, as he orders fish and chips.“So no special benefits fromhaving been down in Antarctica.”

Back in late 2003 and early 2004, Graham Murphy experienceda new meaning of “cold”. He also livedthe definitionof “adventure”, when this businessmanfrom Maitland joined the crew of renowned Lake Macquarie-basedsailor Tony Mowbray for a perilous voyage to the ice continent.

“I broke the mould and stepped out of my comfort zone big time with Tony,” says Murphy. “Anything after that was going to be easy in life.”

“Solo Globe Challenger” negotiating an iceberg in Antarctica. Picture: Courtesy, Graham Murphy

GRAHAM Murphy’s early life was far from easy.

Murphywas born in 1953, the youngest of three children, and he was raised in a public housing development in Sydney’ssouth-west. Hisparents separated, with his mother leaving the family home,when he was 12.

Grahamchose to stay with his father, despite his heavy drinking, “because home was home”.

“From that point, I had to be self-sufficient. I sort of took over the running of the household, I did the shopping,” he recalls. “So you become independent, resilient, I guess. You become hard-working at an early age.”

While thosecircumstances compelledhim to develop qualities that he would need as a sailoralmost 40 years later, Murphy says he wasn’t an adventurous kid.

“I think it was about struggle more than adventure,” he says. “It was more about keeping your head above water.”

Murphy left school just before he turned 15 and worked in a string of jobs, before joining the Postmaster General’s Department (a precursor to Telstra) as a lineman.

When he was 23, Murphymet his life partner, Sue, at his older sister’s house: “I walked in the door and went, ‘Wow!’.”

Businessman and author Graham Murphy. Picture: Simone De Peak

Murphy’sjob led them to the Central Coast then, in the early 1980s, to Maitland. The couple had two children,Amy and Brad,and Sue had been waitressing to help the familyget ahead.

But with the move to the Hunter, Murphy recalls her partner telling him,“I’ll clean toilets before I waitress again”.

As it happened, he connected a line for a cleaning business, which was seekingworkers. So Graham arrived home with the news,“Guess what I’ve done. You wanted to clean toilets. I’ve achieved that for you!”.

A short time later, the couple began their own cleaning business, with Graham grabbing the scrubbing brush after finishing his day work to help Sue.

These days, Gabes (an acronym for “Graham, Amy, Brad, Employees, Sue”) has more than 100 staff, cleaning and maintaining commercial properties, including buildings along the foreshore where we’re sitting.

So who cleans the toilets at home?

“Sue does still,” replies Murphy. “She does it far better than I do.”

By May 2003, life was pretty good for Graham Murphy. He was about to turn50, his family business was building. He was in a happy routine. Thenhe heard Tony Mowbray being interviewed on the radio.

Murphyhad listened toMowbraybefore. Heand Amy had attended one of the adventurer’s talks, after he returned from his solo around-the-world voyage in 2000-2001. Murphy had even bought a commemorative poster to hang in his boardroom.

Tony Mowbray celebrates at the end of his epic solo around-the-world voyage in 2001. Picture: Ron Bell

Now Mowbray was talking on the radio abouta new adventure: to sailhis yacht, Solo Globe Challenger, to Antarctica,to visit the huts builtby Sir Douglas Mawson and his expedition teamin 1912.

And hewas looking for crew members.

“I would like to do that”, Murphy said to himself, secure in the thought he wouldn’tactually do it. “Because as a non-sailor, you don’t think about the things you can do outside your comfort zone.”

He told Sue about the new Mowbray adventure.

“And that was it for me. I’d lived the trip already,” says the self-described daydreamer.

AUTHOR: Graham Murphy, with his book on the table, and Scott Bevan at lunch.

But it wasn’t enough for Sue. She phoned Tony Mowbray.

“And he rang me and said, ‘I understand you want to go to Antarctica?’,” recalls Murphy, whose answer was blunt.

“No! No, I really don’t want to go!. I’ve lived that dream while I’ve been working and driving.”

But Mowbray invited him to meet on the yacht on Lake Macquarie.

Murphy accepted: “ The intrigue was there. It was more about, ‘What can he offer, what he can say that would entice me to really want to go?’

“I’d never stepped foot on a yacht in my life until that day I went down for the interview.”

Murphy remembersMowbray’s first words – “If you come on this trip, there’s a real chance you won’t survive” –but that didn’t worry him because he wasn’t going.

“I’m just going down to find out if I was good enough to go but not ever really expecting to be selected.”

WONDERLAND: Graham Murphy with penguins. Picture: Ron Webb

The nextday, the skipper phoned and toldGraham he was the sort of person he wanted to come along: “As soon as he said that, the whole ball game changed. I was good enough. I was able to stand up and be counted, as good as the next person.

“Growing up in my environment, I’ve always had an inferiority complex,‘I’m never really good enough’.”

Murphysailed with Mowbray to Broughton Island. He did a snow survival course. He sailed from Lake Macquarie to Hobart.

All the while, Murphy still wasn’t certain if he would –or could – sailwith four others to the bottom of the world. He was fearful of water, of huge waves. He could die out there.

Which is one reason why, just a few days before sailing to Hobart,Murphy finally married his great love of more than a quarter of a century: “I always promised before I died, we’d get married.”

Graham Murphy. Picture: Simone De Peak

Murphy never did ask his wifewhy she contacted Mowbray in the first place. But he figures it was her giving him the chance to go on this adventure, if he wanted to.

“She’d done her bit by opening the door or leaving it ajar, and she was kind of hoping the door would shut before I got through it,” he muses.

“Even up until the last day when my apprehensions were such that I said to her in Hobart, ‘If you ask me to stay, I won’t go’. She said, ‘No, I can’t do that’.”

“Were you hoping she’d do that?”

“I kind of was, because the butterflies in the stomach were enormous. The sick feeling. All of a sudden, the water was real.”

Indeed, from December 19, 2003, the daydream turned into a beautiful, terrifying, arduous reality for about amonth.

Building seas as a storm approaches, as seen from the yacht “Solo Globe Challenger”. Picture: Courtesy, Graham Murphy

Murphy and his fellow adventurers had to pick their way among icebergs and were tossed around in storms.

When the 43-foot yacht wasknocked down in massive seas, Murphy broke a few ribs and desperately held onto the idea of survival.

“You didn’t think about dying at the time,” he says,“because you always had faith in Tony and the boat.”

He split his head. He experienced seasickness and homesickness.

Graham Murphy and his fellow adventurers outside Mawson’s huts in Antarctica in 2004. Picture: Courtesy, Graham Murphy

And there was theincessant cold:“The whole time, your whole body is quivering from cold. It just doesn’t go away, and you can’t get warm no matter what you’re doing until you get into bed.

“And you’re only there for such a short while, and then you get out and put the same wet clothes back on.”

Then there were the pinch-yourself, life-affirming moments:the elation of stepping onto the frozen continent for the first time, and “onto solid ground”; seeing artefacts fromthe Mawson expedition, and opening the door on one of thehistoric huts, “on living history”, only to be confronted by awall of ice.

“Solo Globe Challenger” in Boat Harbour, Antarctica, with Mawson’s hut in the foreground. Picture: Courtesy, Graham Murphy

By the voyage’s end, Graham Murphy had learnt a lot about who he was and what he was capable of.

“How long you can go without bathing,” he chucklesabout one lesson.

“I think I can achieve anything. I think if I can do this, I can do anything in life. And I think that was one of the major things that I learnt.

“My wife said when I got off the boat and when I got home that I was a physical and mental wreck.

Graham Murphy in Antarctica, 2004. Picture: Courtesy, Graham Murphy

“I think I was extremely hard to live with, I think I remained aloof.”

Yet as he processed what he had experienced, Murphy began talking about the adventure. And now, 14 years on, he has written about it, publishing a book, “Safe Return Doubtful”.

What began as an audio diary for his family has blossomed into words and images on the page, as its author makes hisnotch in history to say, “I was there”.

“I wanted to have a record of who I was and what I’d achieved in life, and what I’d done,” he explains.

Just last week, while visiting the Maritime Museum of Tasmania,Murphy saw his book placed between Mawson’s memoir, “TheHome of the Blizzard”,and Peter Fitzsimons’ biography of the explorer.

“That, to me, was the most exciting moment, seeing my book between some great authors and explorers of Australia.”

Graham Murphy now refers to himself as an adventurer. But he says everyone hasthe makings of being an adventurer.

“I think [it’s] anybody who is prepared to step out of the comfort zone,” he explains.

“Somebody who goes on a camping trip for the first time, because they’re so used to staying in motels, is an adventurer.

“It’s an adventure if it’s something different to what they normally do.”

Penguin outside Mawson’s huts. Picture: Ron Webb

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Maritimo design plan revealed to Sydney

NEXT EVOLUTION: The aggressive lines of the X50 make this vessel the envy of all nearby.Boat builders Maritimo unveiled design plans for the new X50 at a special press event at this year’s Sydney International Boat Show.

Maritimo X-Series lead designer, Tom Barry-Cotter said the reveal of the X50 would see the shipyard’s momentum continue and he said additional models in the X series range are also in development.

“We are leading the industry into new design territory of what is possible in sport yacht and motor yacht design, and pioneering new thinking and re-writing the rules in every facet of the company,”Barry-Cotter said.

The Maritimo X50 design incorporates an innovative aft accommodation space accessible from saloon and swim platform deck.

The customisable aft cabin can be optioned and utilised as a beach club with ensuite, twin single stateroom with ensuite or 3.2 metre tender garage.

The design and construction of the vessel means the X50 will have the potential to reach speeds in the vicinity of 36 knots with exceptional cruising economy, trim and handling characteristics.

“The X50 will deliver class leading fuel economy and range, high speed cruising capabilities and the latest technology from the world leaders in shaft driven performance,”Barry-Cotter said.

He said the X50 has gone further than ever in the analysis of waterflow over the hull.

All underwater components have been heavily examined and designed with an obsessive consideration of drag reduction, creating maximum efficiency from the hull profile.

A critical performance factor inherent in all X-Series hull design, is the ability to neutrally balance the hull through the planing range.

Volvo Penta D11 670mhp or 725mhp power units are further forward to neutrally balance the hull and minimise shaft angle, resulting in increased efficiency from the 5 Blade Nibral propellers and a flat efficient planing attitude, this is made possible by incorporating additional accommodation aft of the engine room.

Maritimo’s patented engine room moulding technology provides more strength and weight reduction with added serviceability and reliability.

“There is ample space to work with the boat systems and engineering compared to any other vessel in its class,” Barry-Cotter said.

In addition to the trademark X series aft accommodation the new X50 has two large staterooms and ensuites in the forward accommodations.

The VIP stateroom design features a unique offset queen bed with VIP ensuite with dual access from stateroom and companionway.

The X50 also features a large full beam master stateroom with queen bed standard (king optional), desk, day bed, and spacious ensuite.

Maritimo being recognised for large household galley designs, has incorporated a spacious galley with island bench, upright fridge freezer, full height pull out pantry and microwave oven.

It also has a dish drawer, garbage receptacle, and multiple storage cupboards and drawers, suitable for all types of meal preparation and entertaining.

The performance inspired dashboard and helm, with optional second helm seat and available joystick docking systems, are designed for both comfort and control, instilling the overwhelming impression that it is designed to be driven.

Barry-Cotter said the design challenges of attaining the degree of accommodation space in the X series project were extremely complex, however the Maritimo team has delivered a result that is so simplistic and effective in its design solution.

The X-Series has attracted widespread global media and market attention, being embraced by boat buyers, and heading to home berths throughout Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe and Asia making it Maritmo’s most successful first release model to date.

Hype and anticipation is certainly building around the X50 features, and its undeniable price point ($1.398m).

Jack O’Rourke is a contributor to Ocean MediaSafety mandateThe Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has announced that, as from January 1, 2021, it will be mandatory for certain types of commercial vessels to be fitted with float-free EPIRBs. According to AMSA, the change is in response to incidents in which commercial vessels sank quickly and the master and crew were unable to deploy an EPIRB in time.

“If a vessel rapidly capsizes or sinks, the survival of the passengers and crew depends on the transmission of a distress signal,” Brad Groves, AMSA general manager of standards, said.

“A float-free auto-activating EPIRB can send a call for help within minutes of being submerged in water, without any action by the crew.”

Mercury risingMercury Marine used the Sydney International Boat Show to stage the global launch of its new Mercury Diesel 3.0L engine, its third major engine launch of 2018.

The new engine, billed as a replacement for the V6 TDI diesel model, is available in five versions: 230hp and 270hp (inboard and sterndrive) and 150hp, sterndrive only. The latter may also be available as an inboard version at a later date if there is demand for it.

Features of the new engine include common rail fuel injection, water-cooled variable geometry turbocharger and compatibility with the Mercury’s SmartCraft protocol. The engines can also integrate with Mercury’s Joystick Piloting for Inboards (JPI) and Joystick Piloting for Sterndrives (JPS).

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