Mr Basil Sellers AM, businessman and philanthropist has been announced as the Well-Being Australia’s inaugural ‘Person of the Year’ as a way of celebrating Well-Being Australia’s 20th year.
Basil Sellers has been a massive support over so many years. Basil Sellers and I first met in 1988 at the Centennial Cricket Dinner in Sydney where he was the designated host of the table to which I was assigned as the Australian Cricket Team chaplain.
We met and immediately found common ground as Christian men, elite sport and as I was a former locomotive driver, an author of railway books, Basil’s dad was a railway engineer.
At that time I was envisioning an elite athlete respite facility in Moruya, two hours drive to the south coast - from the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. Basil Sellers saw this in line with his own philosophy having been an elite basketball representing South Australia. He donated funding toward its construction – Basil Sellers House.
It was opened in 1992 - the project was initially named Sanctuary Lodge but later re-badged by Rev Peter Nelson the AIS chaplain in AIS terminology, as Timeout in Moruya.
In 2003 Basil Sellers, a keen art collector, supported my Moruya art centre project, donating funding with the Basil Sellers Art Centre opened in fanfare where Basil Sellers announced a $10,000 Basil Sellers Moruya Art Prize for 2004. This was later increased to $15,000 as its success was such that the Eurobodalla Shire Council took over its coordination and expanded to other NSW Regional Shires.
Basil Sellers interview with the Australian Missionary News
In December 2005 we relocated to Tweed Heads due to my wife Delma’s elderly parent needs and where we established Basil Sellers Tweed athlete respite at the Surfing High Performance Domain Resort for the six AIS Sport Units in SE Qld.
In 2011 we established a missions’ respite cottage on the Whitsundays at Laguna Quays - Basil Sellers Laguna Quays Respite – and two years later the Basil Sellers Midge Point Art Prize. Basil Sellers inspected the respite cottage in 2014 and 2015 along with the Basil Sellers Midge Point Art Prize presentations.
Basil Sellers asked what provision was there for those mission families returning to Australia, needing not just rest and recuperation, but in effect triage. He asked me to send to his Sydney home four mission executives - I sent CMS, SIM, Global-Interaction, Pastor Care. That meeting took place 23 Sept 2015. MissionsInterlink took it up as a project with a former mission couple from Pioneers and the Aldinga Beach Retreat (1 hour south of Adelaide) was initiated under Ben and Robyn Maclean. It opened in November 2016.
Since then another mission respite has been launched in Tasmania (Bass Straight) run by Steve and Debbie Suba (Launceston) and now a fourth is being investigated for HillTops (MAF) in Cairns by Roger van der Veen who is part of Missions Interlink.
Basil Sellers said of these - “Looks like WE have started something”.
Young writer program
The young writer ministry commenced in 2009 in conjunction with Christian Today. In 2013 Basil Sellers agreed to make an annual Basil Sellers Award (financial) for the top young writer from Australia and New Zealand along with air fare helps. The young writer Brain’s Trust met with Basil Sellers in his Sydney home on 15 March 2015. Since then the annual Basil Sellers Awards have been a highlight at the annual conferences.
On 6 September 2019 the Australasian Religious Press Association premier award the Gutenberg – was presented to the young writer ministry – Press Service International - for 10 years of young writer literary promotion. Basil Sellers was recognised in this remarkable recognition, as was Christian Today.
On 2 May 2020 the young writer Brain’s Trust meets, adjacent to the Gold Coast Airport ‘Living Temple Christian Church’ (Tugun Baptist) to plan the 12 September annual young writer conference - where their photo will be taken with the Gutenburg plaque.
Basil Sellers has been invited to join the Brain’s Trust meeting so he too might be part of the Gutenberg photograph. The large plaque then shortly afterwards goes back to ARPA for the 2020 winner.
Mr Basil Sellers AM is the Well-Being Australia inaugural ‘Person of the Year’ - WBA celebrating its 20th year - a wonderful tribute.
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. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html