Enlivening our Present by Illuminating our Past


<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



<Enlivening our Present by
Illuminating our Past>



Twilight Talks

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.

(Four series of six weeks each = 24 speakers)Join the Easter Egg Hunt - Details in the April Newsletter

Return regularly for more information about upcoming speakers.

SERIES 1: 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.

15 February – Andrew Miller

Stone Walls of the Western District

Andrew, a Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute Board member since 2012,  has been on the executive of Dry Stone Walls Australia since its formation in 2002 and previously he was project leader for the Corangamite Dry Stone Wall Conservation Project. In his address he will consider the importance to the landscape of stone walls and will outline the major locations where stone walls are in existence.

22 February – Merle Hathaway

The People’s Hall: A potted history of the Civic Hall from early days to imminent reopening

Even before its construction, the Civic Hall elicited much passion in the community; from debate about its form and siting to intense pride after its opening.  After its closure in 2002, passions were further raised by several attempts to have it demolished. Now, nearing the end of a major refit and imminent reopening, this illustrated talk cooly looks at its history, architectural and social significance.

Merle Hathaway is secretary and media officer for Save Civic Hall.

1 March – David Glenn

Lambley Gardens

David Glenn is the proprietor of Lambley Nursery in Ascot, twenty minutes from Ballarat. His garden, which he has made with his wife, artist Criss Canning, has a worldwide reputation and is featured in many books and magazines including the January 2019 edition The English Garden magazine. Lovers of gardens from all over Australia and many overseas countries visit the garden. His talk will discuss features of his “dry climate” garden.

8 March – Carol Armstrong

Family History

A proud descendent of three First Fleeters and a Second Fleeter Carol has enjoyed hunting through graveyards in Tasmania and South Australia, looking for those elusive ancestors’ headstones. A trip to Norfolk Island is on her bucket list.

She joined the Ballarat & District Genealogical Society and has been Secretary since August 2013.  The aim of the Society is to help people discover their family history; to have appropriate records available, with guidance in ways to research and record their history and genealogy.

The collection is housed at the Australiana Room in Ballarat’s Central Highland Library.

15 March – John Hosking

Treacle Mining

John Hosking, a retired mining engineer and past Mechanics’ board member, will take us on a journey from classic childrens’ literature through Carboniferous geology, West Indian Voodoo, German engineering and British Manufacturing to entertain if not educate.


22 March –  Dr Jeanette Debney-Joyce

The Bernstein/Stone  Family of Ballarat

Jacob Bernstein (c.1833 -1913) married Julia Solomon in 1863 (c1836 – 1958) in the Ballarat Hebrew Synagogue. They had a large family and established a drapery business as Rubinstein’s Drapery. In the course of time, Bernard Stone became Jacob and Julia’s son-in-law and the business was known as Rubenstein and Stone’s Drapery Store.

Learn about the history of this industrious and successful Jewish family and their business in Ballarat in the nineteenth and twentieth century.