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History

The Reichstein Legacy

Lance Reichstein established the Foundation in 1970, reflecting his strong sense of duty and compassion.

Lance was born in 1900 in Morchard, South Australia, the youngest of six children. The son of strongly religious (German Lutheran) parents, his childhood was strict and sombre. Education, religion, independence of thought, commitment and dedication were highly valued in the Reichstein household – and Lance excelled. A scholarship allowed him to complete a school education, to continue to the University of Adelaide and then to have a long and successful career as an engineer, industrialist, entrepreneur and civic leader.

Lance founded Industrial Engineering Limited in 1928 in the western suburbs of Melbourne, and through risk taking, innovation and a growing post-war economy, IEL became one of Australia’s leading heavy engineering and manufacturing firms.

During the fifteen years he served as a Councillor of the City of Melbourne, Lance’s campaign slogan was The Man of Action.

He was also a man of strong principle and insight, and instinctively understood a moral obligation to exercise power and wealth for the whole community. When he died in 1980, Lance left an additional gift of $6 million to the Foundation for this purpose.

Since then, under the leadership of his daughter Jill Reichstein, the Foundation has leveraged this asset to invest over $15 million in 1500 projects that have empowered the disadvantaged; promoted human rights and equal opportunity; and achieved greater environmental sustainability.

Jill is described by the Australian Financial Review as the nation’s ‘Change Agent Provocateur’.

Learn more about the Reichstein Foundation 

40th anniversary of the Reichstein Foundation: Speech by His Excellency The Honourable Alex Chernov

40th anniversary of the Reichstein Foundation: Peter Seidel’s Speech at Government House. Peter Seidel is a leading Australian public interest lawyer