Enlivening our Present by Illuminating our Past

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Twilight Talks have been held at the BMI since 2001, providing a great opportunity to hear some fantastic speakers and meet up with friends over drinks and nibbles.

Participants arrive at the Humffray Room from 5pm for drinks, cheese and conversation, followed by a 30 to 40 minute talk commencing at 5.30pm.

Each Twilight Talks series is held on successive  Fridays, and is great value at only:

Admission: BMI Members – $6.00, Non-members – $10.00.

Talks are held in the Humffray Room commencing at 5:30 pm. Wine, cheese, and nibbles will precede the talks beginning at 5:00 pm.

Return regularly for more information about upcoming speakers.

Contact Rosemary in the BMI Library for information on 5331 3042.


18 October – Marion Snowden

Behind the Names Behind the Gates

A large variety of determinants can lead a person to an interest, a project, a hobby, an enterprise, a pastime. Marion’s starting point for this talk was quite simple: taking her walks in a new area of town. The interest began when she sighted an unusual surname. It has led to a heightened curiosity, a collection of several hundred photos and quite a deal of probing.

Come along a learn a little more about just a few of the names found behind the gates of Ballarat’s Old Cemetery.


25 October – Prof Barry Golding

The Men’s Shed Movement

The Men’s Shed Movement started from very small beginnings in ‘The Shed’ in Goolwa, South Australia, and the ‘Dick McGowan Men’s Shed’ in Tongala, Victoria around 25 years and 20 years ago respectively. With one thousand Sheds now open across Australia and even more open overseas in eight other countries, Barry will tell the fascinating and illustrated story of how this all happened. In 2015 he wrote a definite global history called ‘The Men’s Shed Movement: The Company of Men’. It turns out to be one of Australia’s few and lesser-known gifts to the world, and particularly to older men beyond paid work. Barry is a world expert on research into men’s learning and adult education in community settings more broadly and will draw some interesting parallels with the Mechanics’ Institute movement that we inherited after the 1850s from the UK.


1 November – Bill Reid

Gold Mining in Ballarat

Bill, Exploration Manager of The Ballarat Goldfields, will discuss both aspects of Ballarat’s gold history and exploration and production today.


8 November – Margaret Wills

Journeys of the Wills Family

This talk investigates three Wills’ journeys. Firstly, my own journey of exploration when Researching and writing the family history of our direct line of ‘Wills’. Secondly, the journey of exploration of my great-grandfather’s cousin, William John Wills. Lastly, the journey of exploration of a first cousin of WJ who died exploring northern Canada, also a cousin of my great-grandfather, John Thomas Brock Wills.

Image: HMS Erebus off Baffin Island, circa 1846


15 November – Wendy Jacobs

Buildings at the Heart of Ballarat

Wendy, Architect and Heritage Consultant, will talk about some of the built heritage that forms
the historic urban landscape clustered around the intersection of Sturt and Lydiard Streets, their
history and architecture including the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute. It is amazing how Ballarat
quickly developed from the country of the Wathaurong people to Yuille’s pastoral station to a complete European city in the space of only 30 years.

Reids Coffee Palace Ballarat

Image:  Reid’s Coffee Palace, from the Herbert Richmond collection, Ballarat Library