Launch of John Lane Mullins Scholarship

The John Lane Mullins Scholarship was established in 2016 in recognition of Lane Mullins’ philanthropic support and legacy towards the College.  It was awarded for the first time in 2017 and officially launched at an event on 30 March.

During his lifetime, John Lane Mullins (1857-1939), a great supporter of Sancta Sophia College, donated part of his collection of books to the College. Following his death, the remainder of his library of books on Australian history and exploration, and Australian literature was left by his four daughters to the College.

In 2015, the College Council approved the sale of the books, and the proceeds form the endowment for a scholarship to be named in honour of John Lane Mullins. The terms of the scholarship recognise John Lane Mullins’ career, interests and patronage. It is awarded to students (current or newly entering) who are engaged in the study of Australian history, literature, fine arts, music or politics. Lane Mullins was a significant supporter of the Catholic Church, so evidence of the applicant’s Catholic faith may determine the chosen scholar. 

The inaugural recipient is Markarid Sarkissian, Second Year Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) with major in English.

The sale of the John Lane Mullins collection, which was housed in both the Sancta Library and at Fisher Library, occurred on Monday 1 June 2015 in Melbourne by Australian Book Auctions. This was the culmination of much hard work done by The Treasures Committee which consists of Shayne Brown, Dr Sue Kelly, Sr Mary Shanahan and Jane Burns. Early in the process, The Treasures Committee spoke with John Lane Mullins’ grandson, Peter Tansey, to inform him of the College’s intention and he was keen to see the value of the books redirected into scholarships to benefit the students of the College, which was very much in line with his grandfather’s views.

A talk on John Lane Mullins addressed to the Catholic Historical Society in 1959 by Fr. C.J. Duffy perhaps best explains the view John Lane Mullins took of his books:

“a particular quality of the culture of John Lane Mullins needs mention. There was nothing of the selfish pride of ownership that is found in wealthy art lovers, or of a consciousness of artistic class distinction in his.  Let me bring him and his thoughts on life and art down into the market place by quoting from an interview reproduced in the Telegraph 12.4.35.

I stress the importance of sharing with others. The pleasure aroused by the possession of a good book or a fine painting should be passed on. There is no real satisfaction to be derived from keeping the book locked in a library, or the painting tucked away out of sight of your friends. The privilege of possession is not enriched by the practice of selfish isolation, but rather in the sharing of all treasures.’”

Images (top to bottom):

Inaugural scholar, Maggie Sarkissisian

Peter Tansey (Lane Mullins grandson) and his family: Caitlin Douglas, Jennifer Tansey, Maggie Sarkissian, Peter Tansey, Dr Marie Leech and John Tansey

The family of John Lane Mullins