Established 1859




Ballarat’s Independent Home of Arts, Culture, and Literature

Latest Events

As Ballarat’s independent home of Arts and Culture we host a wide range of events throughout the year!  –  Make sure you check out the BMI events calendar to see what we have coming up.

BMI events contributing to the Australian Heritage Festival & Ballarat Heritage Festival

Latest news

Read up on the latest happenings at the BMI. From Library news and exhibitions to the latest word from board and staff.

Art programs

The White Night excitement is certainly building. Deborah Klein whose work many locals (and beyond) will be familiar with, will

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Book of the Week

Making Up Amanda Rozzi Bazzani. A Cold Case Ballarat, 1988.  After a normal day of filming, movie star Amanda King

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Australia’s biggest and best comedy spectacular is setting off again on its annual road trip around the country! Coming to

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Book of the Week

Daddy’s Girl Josephine Cox. When heartbroken Sarah Quinn is left to care for her father and siblings after her mother

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Venue Hire

The BMI has a number of beautiful spaces that are available for hire. With reasonable ‘pay-for-what-you-need’ pricing, stunning heritage architecture, and modern facilities, it is the perfect place for your next event.


Invest in the Ballarat community by becoming a BMI member. Membership to the organisation allows you to borrow books from the lending library, as well as discounts to BMI events and other perks.

Supporters & Partners

If you would like to support the BMI as a Strategic Partner, as an Event Partner or Supporter, or you would like to consider a Corporate Membership then we would like to hear from you.

Find out who supports the BMI.

Our History

John B. Humffray arrived in Melbourne on the 19th of September 1853 on the Star of the East and had found himself in Ballaarat by 1854.

Because of the conditions he had seen on the goldfields he formed the Reform League to advocate for better conditions and treatment of the diggers by Government Officials. He was elected unopposed as an M.L.C. in 1855 and was elected as an M.L.A. in 1856 for North Grant.

Humffray 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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BMI Fundraiser

The Hideaways,
The Harmonies &
Surf Shadows. 

2 course dinner & lots
of dancing