IN an age when the power of the internet can fund full-budget Hollywood movies, author Regina Lane hopes those with a passion for local history can help publish her story of Crossley’s landmark church.
Lane has launched a fund-raising campaign for the memoir Saving St Brigid’s using Pozible, an online “crowdfunding” platform used to help individuals and community groups fund their projects.
In the next 47 days people can visit www.pozible.com/savingstbrigids and pledge some of the $15,000 needed to help transform Lane’s finished manuscript into a hard-copy book. In return, backers are offered various rewards matching their level of funding commitment, and no money changes hand if the project falls short of its funding goal.
Saving St Brigid’s traces the Lane family’s migration from Ireland to Killarney in the south-west after the famine of the 1840s. It tells the story of her great-grandfather, who joined the committee to build the church, and her grandparents and parents’ ongoing commitment to the faith and community life of St Brigid’s.
Lane also tells her account of growing up as one of 10 children in an Australian Irish Catholic family and why she, her family and her community stood up to fight to save the church.
“When I learned that it was my great-grandfather, Dan Lane, who had stood on the steps of St Brigid’s nearly 100 years ago and told the congregation that they wanted to leave a legacy, I was profoundly moved and I felt a great responsibility to uphold that legacy,” she said.
“This is the story of how we did it. It’s my legacy to the next generation, and those that come after it, so that they too can remember how our ancestors survived and flourished in this corner of south-west Victoria — in what some say is the most Irish district of all of Australia.”
After a long public campaign, the church was purchased by the Friends of St Brigid’s Association in 2009. Regular community events help to pay the monthly mortgage, but it hasn’t been easy, the author said.
“It’s a hard slog. We are lucky to have such dedicated hard working people in our community. I hope my book will pay tribute to their incredible efforts and take their story to the nation.
“I’m not sure what was more exhausting — saving St Brigid’s or reliving it all when I wrote the book about it.”