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Regina Lane

inducted 2017 Service

About Regina Lane

Regina Lane was raised the ninth of ten children, on a dairy and spud farm in Tower Hill. She was named Regina, after the Queen of Heaven, and Brigid, after the patron Saint of her local church, St Brigid’s, in Crossley, where she attended Mass every Sunday. Her parents, Mick and Loretta, played such a leading role in the restoration of the Crossley hall in the 1980s and 90s, St Brigid’s to Regina, felt like a second home.
Regina attended St Patrick’s Koroit, before joining Emmanuel College in 1993.

Regina has fond memories of Mrs. Hulin Browne and Mrs. Sprostyn and the opportunity to participate in eisteddfods, debating and Youth Parliament – a YMCA program Regina volunteered on for six years during university, and eventually directed in 2003.
Year twelve history had a defining influence. Regina credits Mr Toomey with sowing a seed by lending her a copy of his book, The Fatal Shore. It was an ‘awakening’ Regina says. As a result, she studied Aboriginal history at Melbourne University, shocked to read first-hand accounts of the treatment of local Aboriginal people at Framlingham. It wasn’t long before she joined Students for Land Justice and Reconciliation in the year 2000. This was beginning of the Decade of Reconciliation – a movement Regina has long been involved with.

The events of August and September 2001, turned Regina’s attention to refugee rights. In her final year of her Arts degree, she joined a desert protest at the Woomera detention centre. It was a turning point. She was offered a job with the Brigidine Sisters and later, the Catholic Commission for Justice, Peace and Development at the Melbourne Archdiocese. Here she learned the ropes of campaigning and lobbying, and on a weekly basis, spoke in school assemblies and Sunday mass, based on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

A trip to Uganda with Caritas prompted Regina to enrol in a Masters of International Development – which earned her a job at the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) in London in 2007. There she coordinated a mass rally for 10,000 people against global poverty, on the River Thames, called ‘The World Can’t Wait’.

From London to New York, Regina worked at UN headquarters and planned her career in overseas aid and community development. But life had other plans.
In 2009, on a brief trip home, Regina was shocked to find St Brigid’s on the market. It was a watershed moment. Her mother’s well-worn mantra that ‘you only get out of your community, what you put into it’ suddenly rung loud and clear. Community – even in the first world – is not just a given; you have to fight for it, Regina realised. She decided to stay, and fought day and night alongside her family and community, to uphold the legacy of her ancestors; indeed her own parents.

What began as a potentially divisive, small local issue suddenly became a national news story, in a battle that went all the way to Rome.

This story is the subject of Regina’s memoir, Saving St Brigid’s, dubbed by The Age as a ‘once in a blue moon book’, which ‘blows your socks off’. Launched by the Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine and musician Shane Howard, the book earned her national attention. More recently, Regina appeared on RTÉ, Ireland’s national radio broadcaster, and was reviewed in the Irish press.

Regina donates the proceeds to help pay off the monthly mortgage to keep St Brigid’s in community hands. Despite living in Melbourne, Regina is a regular at St Brigid’s vibrant cultural and community events, and is actively involved in preserving the district’s rich Irish heritage. Under her publishing imprint, Bridin Books, Regina published a second book on the district, called The Church on the Hill –a history of 100 local Irish families.
After St Brigid’s was saved, Regina campaigned against climate change for the national grassroots organization, GetUp. She then worked at the Australian Conservation Foundation towards a ‘new economy’, becoming a founding director of the Australian National Development Index – a project which aims to go ‘beyond GDP’ towards a more holistic measurement of national progress.

In 2014, on the back of her book, Regina became Director of Publishing at Melbourne’s Garratt Publishing. We welcome Regina Lane, activist, campaigner for social justice ,author and publisher to the Inspiring Alumni.

View Regina's biography below:

Regina Lane

Class of 1998