The process was kick started when Christian Today asked me to add to my daily column, a daily sport article and this led to me finding five young sport writers who met that need. Following on that success came additional young writers who covered - comment, music, IT, culture, recreation, theology, art and the like.
Two years ago the young writer program was extended New Zealand young writers, today there are 22 Kiwi's from Auckland, Cambridge, Wellington and Christchurch.
Then this year (2013) when the Basil Sellers Young Writer Award was developed, a group of seven Panellists were engaged in marking the young writers articles from late January through to the middle of August, prior to the September awards night in Melbourne.
Five of these seven Panellists were from Australia and two from New Zealand, Major Christina Tyson the editor of NZ War Cry from Wellington and the Rt. Rev. Brian Carrell retired Anglican Bishop (CMS) in Christchurch.
I knew Christina from the ARPA conferences (Australasian Religious Press Association) and one of the New Zealand young writers (Sophia Sinclair) working with CMS in Christchurch put me onto Brian Carrell.
This placed a heavy demand upon these seven Panellists, marking two articles every day over that seven month period and with the increase in New Zealand young writers, the solution to reduce the work load was to separate the Australian and New Zealand Panellist demands.
Likewise, the Basil Sellers Young Writer Awards was initially considered as an overall winner medallion and $1000 but that too became separated during 2013 with two separate Basil Sellers Young Writer Awards, one for New Zealand young writers and another for the Australian young writers.
Alison Barkley (Newcastle) won the 2013 Australian young writer award and Daniel Jang (Wellington) won the 2013 New Zealand young writer award.
The search then went out to look for additional Australian and New Zealand Panellists. There was a need for three additional Panellists for each group.
Three were transferred to other Panellist groups from off this initial 2013 Panellist group. These were Christina Tyson and Brain Carrell who moved sideways to the New Zealand Panellists and Peter Nelson the AIS chaplain moved sideways to the newly established Sport Panellists group.
The Australian Panellists work load for 2014 will be reduced by only marking the Australian young writers – usually enjoyed over a cuppa each morning. The task is to read the article and make an assessment out of 10 points.
The existing Australian Panellists include Debbie Suba (Launceston, a former missionary), Christian Today editor David Chang from Sydney and Dr Deidre Tronson a retired academic also from Sydney.
Then began the search for four additional Australian Panellists to make up the seven as Alyson Smith's (Melbourne) new work commitments prevented her from continuing.
The first to accept was Euan McDonald an evangelical Uniting Church Minister from Brisbane who spent many years in Mackay. Here he hosted many of our Country Town Tours over 14 years and whose son Ian McDonald was one of the original young writers, now stepped aside.
Aria is a Canberra high school teacher and recently was part of a Canberra senior high schoolers study tour of India co-ordinated by Operation Mobilisation. Aria is a good friend of Deidre Tronson. The connection gets thicker, as Aria's husband Bill was in the same year at Canberra's Narrabundah high school (now College) as was my brother Kim – I was three years younger than both Kim and Bill.
Bruce is an evangelical retired Uniting Church Minister. Bruce was a Planning Consultant for much of his professional life and came into the Christian ministry later in life serving the Milton Uniting Church community for many years. We have a mutual connection with our daughter and their son marrying and we enjoy our delightful grand children.
Dr Clive O'Connor
Clive O'Connor is an Attorney at Law whose has an interest in Marine Law. He sailed solo from Sydney to New York in the 1960s. He has assisted Well-Being Australia over many years with his legal expertise. His legal practise in Sydney was soon taken over by his farming interests in the Armidale (New England) region which gave rise to relocating. His wife Margaret was recently elected to their local Shire Council.
The Australian Panellists for 2014 have now been established -
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at