Tweed Heads has a very strong arts community. This spills over to the wider Tweed region with the Shire's Regional Gallery in Murwillumbah and to the artscape shops of Coolangatta and Kirra.
Well-Being Australia's chairman Mark Tronson, an artist himself, says that the WBA 'Art Ministry' has developed good relationships with many institutions over the past fifteen years with art displayed at the Calders Restaurant at Kingscliff TAFE, to art at both Peppers and Mantra Salt, promotion in the Gold Coast Visitors Guide.
Cooli's Steak and Seafood had two Well-Being Australia Art Ministry free standing paintings on display as fund raisers for a twelve month period before the GFC hit. And hit it did, for numerous Coolangatta and Tweed Heads businesses found the going tough especially with closed borders
Yet, this restaurant not only won that covetous award, the were also giving cheap breakfasts Saturday and Sunday morning's and offered to provide an even cheaper breakfast for local Christian youth groups. Instead of going down to Maccas, they could come to Cooli's Steak and Seafood for an old fashion bacon and eggs. .
Mark Tronson who paints under the name 'Tronson du Coudray – the missionary painter' who initiated this Art Ministry way back in 2000, has always found willing partners for fund raising art in various restaurants and resorts.
Prior to moving to the Tweed in December 2005 to duplicate the Well-Being Australia respite ministry from Moruya on the New South Wales south coast, he established the Basil Sellers Art Centre in Moruya and the Basil Sellers $10,000 Bi-Annual Art Prize, now $15,000.
First, the GFC hit many Tweed Heads and Coolangatta business houses let alone the service industry such as restaurants. A recent Tweed Heads resident, a neighbour of Mark Tronson, a brick layer by trade, could not get enough work – he returned to Sydney.
The Tweed Shire has the highest seniors percentage of population in New South Wales and tradesman realise they cannot charge too much for their work as the money is simply not available.
Nonetheless it falls on the wider community to help pick up the pieces. It affects schools, hospitals, Centrelink services, welfare agencies and the like.
Then Covid 19 struck in March 2020. The Qld Borders closed. Not once, not twice, not three times, then regional restrictions and lockdowns. Coolangatta (Qld) and Tweed Heads (NSW) were hit harshly with the border closures. The Roxy Pro International Surfing annual February fixture this year moved to Sydney – a massive loss of finance, tourism, industry, transport, food and accommodation.
The Red Shield Appeal took over the May Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce breakfast with a massive crowd. Tronson du Coudray donated a small art work for auction raising $700.
Mark Tronson says that the Scriptures place a great deal of emphasis on justice, a theme that many Christians hold dear and exercise their right of speech. It is to this area that upright people call upon the government of the day along with big business to help create a society in which every person might live with dignity.
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 25 books, and enjoys writing. 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 Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html