Enlivening our Present by Illuminating our Past

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    Venues
    The BMI, a place where events happen in Ballarat in magnificent, historical spaces.
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    The Library
    We are a subscription library with low annual rates that allow a generous period of loan for books off the shelves, while also allowing access to the reference section and newspaper collections for research and browsing. Our helpful library staff provide a personal service.
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    2015 Annual Report
    This annual report was presented at the 156th Annual General Meeting, held on Wednesday, June 24th.
    The report
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    Education
    Enlightenment gained through learning, sharing and exploration.
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  • Venue_Banner
    Venues
    The BMI, a place where events happen in Ballarat in magnificent, historical spaces.
    View Info
  • Library_Banner2
    The Library
    We are a subscription library with low annual rates that allow a generous period of loan for books off the shelves, while also allowing access to the reference section and newspaper collections for research and browsing. Our helpful library staff provide a personal service.
    View Info
  • Friends of Minerva Concert
    Events
    Book your tickets to support the BMI and attend the Friends of Minerva Concert
    Details
  • Heritage_Banner2
    2015 Annual Report
    This annual report was presented at the 156th Annual General Meeting, held on Wednesday, June 24th.
    The report
Established in 1859

<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>

HERITAGE

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<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>

THE ARTS

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Illuminating our Past>

EDUCATION

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Illuminating our Past>

OUR VENUES

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Enlivening our Present by Illuminating our Past

The Institute was established in 1859 in the top floor of the Ballarat Fire Brigade in Barkly Street. On the 28th September, 1860 a foundation stone was laid at the rear of the present building.

According to the Ballarat Star a crowd of 10,000 people attended the ceremony. By 1869 the Institute consisted of four floors, shops on the ground floor, a grand entrance with a library on the second floor and a museum on the top floor.

  • ibirkbe001p1

    FAST FACT

    Dr George Birkbeck, Professor of Natural Philosophy in Glasgow, held the first lectures specifically for mechanics, the skilled workers of the day in 1821. He is acknowledged as the founder of the mechanics’ institute movement that in the 19th century spread rapidly throughout what was then known as the British Empire as well as to the United States.
  • Professor Weston Bate

    FAST FACT

    Professor Weston Bate OAM is an Australian historian. He has been a friend of the BMI for many years and has collaborated with another well known historian Anne Beggs-Sunter on important historical events in Ballarat.
  • Library1

    FAST FACT

    The first two paid BMI secretaries (and head Librarians) were WH Batten and his son HC Batten. Remarkably between them they served in this position for 92 years – William from 1859 to 1910 and Harry from 1910 to 1951. William had two wives (first died) and 19 children.
  • Microsoft Word - William Bramwell Withers was a very prominent B

    FAST FACT

    William Bramwell Withers was Ballarat’s first historian and a key journalist. He wrote The History of Ballarat from the first pastoral settlement to the present time.
  • DrFrankHurley

    FAST FACT

    Dr Frank Hurley has had seven terms of President of the BMI, from 1987 – 2011. Dr Hurley was instrumental in gaining significant funding to restore the BMI. Since 2000 he has been the driving force in generating over $5million for the restoration of the BMI and continues to be an active member in a range of community affairs. The BMI was delighted to confer the honour of Patron to Dr Hurley.

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Illuminating our Past>

BMI.TV

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OUR HISTORY

John Basson Humffray was born in Newtown Montgomeryshire Wales in 1824 his father was a master weaver.

He arrived in Melbourne on 19/9/53 on the Star of the East and was in Ballarat by 1854, because of the conditions he saw he formed the Reform League to advocate for better conditions and treatment of the diggers by Government Officials. Elected unopposed as an M.L.C. in 1855 and was elected as an M.L.A. in 1856 for North Grant.

Was elected as President of the Committee of Management of the Mechanics Institute in May of 1859 when the reading room was established at the Ballarat Fire Brigade in Barkly Street. His term of office was interrupted by his Parliamentary duties so was succeeded by Andrew Anderson in 1860.

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Launch Interactive builds and maintains custom websites with a focus on quality, consistency and simplicity.

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