As the Footplate Padre I attest this article is a railway whinge, but a fair one and I still don't know to whom I should write a letter of complaint. I set the scene as this is important, to get the full impact of the story.
Some time ago my wife Delma and I were packing the 2000 model dual cab Holden Rodeo for our road trip from Tweed Heads to Laguna Quays (Whitsundays) to set up the Basil Sellers Laguna Quays Respite facility. This is the third such facility that Well-Being Australia provides for elite athletes and missionaries. The other two are in Moruya on the NSW south coast and Tweed Heads on the north coast.
We needed to be in Laguna Quays by the 15th February 2011 as settlement was on the 16th and it was their task to do the pre-settlement inspection and then initiate setting the cottage up for rest and respite. We developed this highly specialised respite ministry over 18 years from when the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra started utilising the Moruya facility "Basil Sellers House" from 1992.
Delma and I established that facility and over the next 14 years developed it into a functioning ministry and then at the end of 2005 relocated to Tweed Heads to establish Basil Sellers Tweed for SE Qld AIS elite athletes and the cricket fraternity he'd been the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years retiring at the end of 2000 moving sideways to Life After Cricket.
As the Footplate Padre, with camera at the ready, we headed off 9.00am Sunday morning readying ourselves for essentially two and a half days travel, moreover in Queensland, the main north railway line runs largely parallel to the highway, a railway photograph's dream. Sounds a lot like me folks …. there was not one train they saw all day Sunday.
We stopped for the night at Miriam Vale where the railway station is behind the motel. The publican where he had dinner said there were 28 trains a day roar through. We didn't see one. Next morning off we went again, all the way to Mackay and not a train in sight.
They did see the Rockhampton Diesel Depot from a distance and a 1950's 1100 Class in its blue livery in a storage state.
Mackay to Bloomsbury again the track runs parallel to the highway and not a train. They even took a load of rubbish to the tip two days later and crossed the Bloomsbury level crossing and again not a train in sight. This was a full two and a half days on travel beside the railway line and we did not see a train.
My camera was crying out in despair. Who should I have written to so as to complain?
Life is a bit like this sometimes. Remember the story of Jacob who worked for seven years for his father-in-law to be so as to marry Rebekah his daughter only to find that on the wedding night he was given Leah the elder daughter. Sometimes things don't quite turn out as we'd thought.
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