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>



Latest Update – 25th May 2020

The Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute has been the independent home of arts and culture in Ballarat since its establishment in 1859. During this time we have encountered hardship and challenges but time and time again the BMI has always found a way to fight through and continue serving its significant role in Ballarat’s rich cultural heritage.


It was positive news from the Victorian Premier on Sunday that restrictions are lifting slightly in Victoria, and we know you’ll be keen to find out when the BMI Library can re-open.

At this stage we are planning to open our doors in Monday June 1st, and we are carefully preparing for a staged approach to this reopening. The BMI needs to ensure it can meet all of the social distancing and hygiene protocols to continue to keep you, our valued members, and of course our staff and volunteers, safe.

Initially we will not be open for browsing, but will only be allowing book returns and pick-up of pre-requested books. These requests can be submitted via our online form (https://bmiballarat.formstack.com/forms/library_loan_request) – this is the preferred method – or via phone at 03 5331 3042.

We are asking that members do not visit the BMI until they have been contacted by one of our library team. This is so that we do not exceed the maximum allowed number of people within the building, and also due to the works that are continuing in the basement. We also ask that you do not visit the BMI if you are feeling unwell or showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

While we are ecstatic that we can re-open our doors, please bear in mind that things won’t be quite the same as they were before COVID-19. There will be a ‘new normal’ for our library service as we work on extra risk minimisation and operational protocols to keep us all safe. These include; practising good hygiene and cleaning protocols, managing and quarantining books as they are returned, and practising safe distancing in the library.

We’ll be in touch again as soon as we have more to share. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support. Membership renewals are an encouraging sign of your support for the organisation.  

We can’t wait to see you back here at the BMI.


Yours sincerely,

Colin Jackson
Executive Manager
on behalf of the whole team at the BMI

Read Previous Updates


Full list of altered or suspended services


BMI Library – Reopening by appointment only

Reading Room – Closed

Newspaper and heritage item request – Suspended

Computer usage – Suspended

Research Activities – Suspended


Other Services

BMI Pop-up Shop – Temporarily Closed

Friends of Minerva – Suspended

All volunteer engagement – Contact Volunteer Coordinator

Bar Operations – Suspended

Coffee and Tea services – Suspended

Public Printing – Suspended


Twilight Talks – Suspended

Everyday Climate Action (Wed 25th March) – Postponed

BMI Music Workshop (Fri 27th March) – Postponed

BMI Music Series – Omelette and Antelodic (Fri 27th March) – Postponed

Heritage Weekend – Online event – Visit BMI Facebook Page


Regular Events

Building Tours – Suspended

Ballarat Film Society – Suspended

Sing Australia choir practice – Suspended

Kadampa Meditation – Suspended

Ballarat Chess Club – Suspended

All events that have been postponed will have their new dates advertised once these have been confirmed.

All services that have been suspended will restart when it is safe for this to happen. This will be communicated via email and social media.