Local property developer John Lyons the co-sponsor of the Midge Point art prize met us at Proserpine airport at 11.00am and served as our guide for the day, dropping us back to the airport at 3.15pm for our 3.55pm flight.
The first port of call was a tour of the Laguna Quays Resort which in recent months has been taken over by the Chinese company "Fullshare" and already an enormous amount of cosmetic work has been undertaken to sharpen up the tourism facility.
The famous Laguna Quays Resort golf course is almost back to what it was in its prime, the lawns are mowed, the gardens have been attended to, the entrance road resealed, some of the buildings have been refurbished – there is a lot to do still but it must be said, the show is on the road including dredging of the marina. The master plan includes a number of 5 star hotels and conventions centres with world class golf courses and an additional marina.
Mr Basil Sellers observing the marina at Laguna Quays Resort
Basil Sellers Laguna Quays Respite
The next port of call was the Laguna Quays Respite cottage which backs onto the Laguna Quays Resort. The facility was opened in 2011 as place for missionaries and mission people to take 'time-out' as a no-cost break.
The respite cottage has received an astonishing response and on many occasions, as was the last change over, one mission family left after their break away in the morning and the following mission family arrived that same afternoon. There is no charge but most leave a token gifting to meet electricity costs and the like.
Basil Sellers and Mark T in the entertainment area
It has a 'beach house' scenario whereby each mission family leaves the cottage spotless for the next mission family. The bathroom is cleaned, as is the kitchen and lounge, the linen washed and folded on the beds, the oven is cleaned and even the lint in the dryer and washing machine cleaned out. As it is a small beach house type – these tasks are not onerous – and the system works well.
The cottage has a view of Repulse Bay and the remarkable Midge Point beach is only a short drive away. There are small shops nearby, as well as The Point Tavern, a 15min drive to Proserpine airport and a 20 min drive to the supermarkets in Proserpine and a further 15min to Airlie Beach, the entrance to the Whitsundays.
Basil Sellers with Jill Leipertz (2013 art prize winner) and Gina Passfield (2014 winner).
Luncheon with the 8 Finalist Artists
The eight finalists were delighted to meet Basil Sellers who had assisted me in initiating the Midge Point Art Prize last year. Amongst the artists was last year's winner Jill Leipertz and this year's winner Gina Passfield. Mr Sellers explained at the luncheon how art had become his passion and now it has been his joy in helping two small communities (Moruya in NSW) and Midge Point (in Qld) establish art prizes. Mr Sellers spoke of his $100,000 Sport-Art Prize in Melbourne at the Ian Potter Museum of Art (Melbourne University) to have art recognised in a different medium.
Over the luncheon, in turn, and two at a time, the 8 finalists each had 15 minutes with Mr Sellers. This provided each artist quality time with Basil over the 90 minute time.
Basil Sellers with the 8 finalists of the Basil Sellers Art Prize
Friends of Well-Being Australia
At 2.00pm the Midge Point friends of Well-Being Australia met with Basil Sellers whereby he thanked everyone for their service to the respite ministry and opened a discussion as to the benefits the missionaries realised on their visits and more so, missionary society strategies for returning mission personnel.
Mr Sellers received a welcome response to the first, but could shed little light on the second, such that I am currently arranging for a denominational mission and a non-denominational mission representative (of each) to meet with Mr Sellers in early September so as to brief him. There might be a need for additional respite facilities.
The day was very special day for Well-Being Australia and moreover it gave Basil Sellers his first visit to the region, indeed his first this far north of Queensland.
Basil Sellers with the Midge Point community respite ministry helpers
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 mentors young writers and 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 www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html