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.

Maker & Community Market

Meet the Makers | Second Time Design

Meet the makers at our BMI Maker & Community Market | Sunday 3 December 10am-2pm We create Timber cutting boards- tables- tv units Second Time Design | Al Clelland Second Time Design | Al Clelland Second Time Design | Al Clelland Second Time Design | Al Clelland More information Chrismas Membership Voucher Why not support this

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Photography Collection

From the Curator | Bakery Hill

In 1977, a suite of Victorian-era shops in Bakery Hill were slated for demolition to make way for a purpose-built McDonald’s restaurant. While the buildings were not heritage listed, concerned residents formed the Save Bakery Hill Action Group to agitate against the destruction. The area is also believed to be the site where the Eureka

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Book of the Week

Rosemary’s Book of the Week | 27 November 2023

Rosemary’s Book of the Week I’ll leave you With This by Kylie Ladd. The O’Shea sisters couldn’t be more different. Allison, an obstetrician, has always put others before herself and is torn between her job and young family. Prizewinning film director Bridie hasn’t had work in over a decade, though her actor husband is on the brink

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Maker & Community Market

Meet the Makers | Sweet Sage Farm

Meet the makers at our BMI Maker & Community Market | Sunday 3 December 10am-2pm We create Hydro Vessels and Propagation Stations using reclaimed timber. We also have our ‘From the Kitchen’ range which includes chutneys, relishes, sauces and jams Sweet Sage Farm | Fee Sanders Sweet Sage Farm | Fee Sanders Sweet Sage Farm |

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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.

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The Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute 2024 Calendar

Orders accepted until
6 December 2024 

Featuring the BMI Image Collection | $40

 $5 off for our last night tours for 2023