All this brings back memories of a surprising nature, that of the 1960 Mackay air disaster and as strange as this might seem, whenever we visit for some 'timeout' ourselves, I am struck at how often I reflect back to that boy hood experience.
Our family grew up in Mackay Queensland, where my dad had been one of the pioneers of the dairy industry on the Eungella range at Crediton. In 1960, I was 8 at the time of the disaster, a Fokker Friendship airline crashed into the ocean off Mackay which I remember vividly. It rocked the entire community. All 29 people on board lost their lives. (www.dailymercury.com.au)
I can clearly recall that night, although I was only a lad. My father took our entire family to the Mackay Harbour where the Royal Australian Navy had a ship (from memory a Destroyer) on hand and I can vividly recall seeing that ship go out through the Mackay Harbour with the sailors standing on lookout along the length of the ship.
Even today there is no certainty as to what occurred. Information in the Mackay museum indicates that it was a clear, moonlit night and there is conjecture that the moon's reflections on the water between the Island outcrops (out from Far Beach) may have appeared like the Mackay airport runway to the pilot, as the aircraft had circled and its wheels were down.
What was additionally traumatising for the Mackay community, was that even then, air travel was considered 'very safe'. No-one could have imagined that such a short, routine flight would have led to such a loss of life.
Laguna Quays Respite
I have often wondered as to why that Mackay air disaster on 1960 comes to mind whenever we visit the Laguna Quays Respite cottage.
Certainly being in close proximity to Mackay and Crediton has something to do with it, but more so, that from the veranda of the Laguna Quays Respite cottage the view of the peaceful and calm pristine blue Repulse Bay provides that same sense of certainly and serenity that the pilots obviously thought they had on that fateful night.
The Laguna Quays Respite project was initiated in February 2011 whereby we made it available for fellow missionaries to take a break while house-sitting. The cottage has been used extensively for this purpose (there is no charge). For those who fly into Proserpine, there is an AVIS rental vehicle for their use. It's been a joy in the Lord serve in this way.
Opened in June 2011 after several months of refurbishing, missionaries from SIM, CMS, WEC, SU, TEAR, BCS, UCA, YM, Wycliffe, BCA, MAF, AFES, CM, ASEF, Global Interaction and independent missions have already enjoyed taking 'timeout'.
In this past three months there have been several major improvements –
a. Huge car port - bbq - entertaining area
b. Cleaning and re-oiling front veranda deck
c. Underground power from cottage to car port
d. Stone steps front / back replacing timber steps
e. Six glass tables and chairs for the car port area
f. Coffee table near the back door on back patio
g. Thorough tidy up of back patio of paint tins
h. Repainted lounge, dining and kitchen
i. Lawn mower contractor
j. AVIS rental deal for visiting missionaries
This respite cottage is a gift unto the Lord. Missionary or pastor enquiries are welcome firstname.lastname@example.org 0487 245 207
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