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.

Latest news

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


Rosemary’s Book of the Week | 29 May 2023

The Stolen Hours by Karen Swan Rosemary’s Book of the Week It’s the summer of 1929 and Mhairi MacKinnon is in need of a husband. As the oldest girl among nine children, her father has made it clear he can’t support her past the coming winter. On the small Scottish islands of St Kilda, her

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Melba artist, soprano Nina Korbe

A proud First Nations soprano, Nina Korbe is living out her dream as a performer. Take a look at this short clip to learn more about Nina, including her connection to Harold Blair and her focus for this year.Nina is the recipient of the Harold Blair Opera Scholarship and the Ruskin Opera Scholarship.Don’t miss these

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Melba artist, baritone Tom Nicholson

Earlier this month Melba Opera Trust Artist, Tom Nicholson , was announced as the inaugural recipient of the Margaret Baker Genovesi Travel Scholarship. Tom was one of four finalists, taking out the top prize to win $50,000. Tom has long set his sights on study in Europe and this scholarship (established through Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University

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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.

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.