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:

$6 for members and $10 for non-members

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


SERIES 3: 2019

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

Return regularly for more information about upcoming speakers.


9 August – Peter Mcl. Hiscock

La Trobe and his horses: Testing times for horse and rider in Port Philip

The first Superintendent of the Port Phillip District faced many challenges in his almost fifteen years in the Colony.

Charles Joseph LaTrobe arrived in early October 1839, bringing his young family and shortly afterwards, his prefabricated house. He also had to look to the provision of horses. With the Colony’s rapid growth and the continuing displacement of the aboriginal people he was much tried in office.

This talk is to focus on the challenges of moving about the Colony in days when roads were ill defined tracks, maps were non-existent, and when so much relied on the stamina and directional sense of a rider and his horse.

DOWNLOAD AN OVERVIEW OF THIS TALK  –  PDF


16 August –  Dr Jeanette Debney-Joyce

The Stone Family Part Two: Jessica Simon (Stone)

This presentation will focus on Jessica Stone in various areas of her productive life.

She was well known in Ballarat as a successful businesswoman; an awesome raiser of funds for charity; a trainer of the young female entrants to the Begonia Festival Queen Competition as mannequins; the creator of the Paul Simon Memorial Hall; and, with her husband, the founder of the Gold Museum, Sovereign Hill Park.

Privately Jessica was an aspiring writer, but had little time for that, so she employed her writing creatively in radio and TV advertising which was focussed on her customers living in the Western District and Wimmera areas.


23 August – Neil Leckie

Creswick’s War Through the Letters of S. Gordon Spittle

Gordon Spittle enlisted in the AIF in 1915. Along with 50 other men from the Creswick and Ballarat Districts he became a Service Corps Driver. In his almost four years away from home Gordon served in Egypt, France and Belgium. Being a driver meant that Gordon had much more freedom than most of the soldiers at “The Front” and it allowed him to meet many people. Due to his frequent letter writing to home Gordon was known to his mates as the “War Correspondent”.

The book “Creswick’s War” ties in Gordon’s service, the battles that he and his mates supported and details of over 150 people he met while “on Active Service”.


30 August – Caroline Hutterer

The 1920s and 30s Art Deco Period

In the years between the First and Second World Wars, a period of great change encompassed much of the world. New ideas in architecture, transport, clothing, leisure and everyday living, were being created with clever purpose, function and style in mind. During the 1920s and 1930s.

This Art Deco period was a time of colour, excitement and innovation with an amalgam of artistic influences. It was a showpiece of Modernism and we can still experience and appreciate its influence today.


6 September – Dr. Greg Young

Sex and Death in Ballarat

In 1878, one of Ballarat’s founding fathers, a prosperous businessman, philanthropist, and well-known man about town named James Curtis, made a glorious discovery: the dead were as eager as the living to embrace those from whom they had been severed by death. Our fate and bliss was to be united forever with our Designed Other, our Spiritual Affinity, our True Love.

Curtis, commissioned by mighty beings in the realms above to preach this good news to a skeptical and indifferent world, responded with simple zeal, and acquired an international reputation as interpreter and advocate of the religion of Spiritualism.


13 September – Dr. John Garner

A Year with the Plague

This talk discusses the history of an isolated outbreak of the plague in a Derbyshire village in 1665-6 and the heroic way in which the villagers  coped and stopped the spread of the dreaded disease. Their actions are still as important today as then.

My involvement is that this is the village to which my family evacuated in 1940 and, like Ballarat, it was a mining community and has a Mechanics’ Institute founded in 1860.