A Message from the Chair | BMI Board of Directors | May 2024

Hello everyone.

Well things are certainly heating up at the BMI as Ballarat weather cools down. There’s no excuse to be caught out in the cold though, as our welcoming and warm surroundings provide the perfect venue for a variable feast of information and entertainment over the next couple of months.

To backtrack a little, the eve of April 13 at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute saw three  Ballarat based bands come together to raise funds for the historic entertainment venue through our groovy and very entertaining, Shindig.  

The Surf Shadows, The Harmonies and The Hideaways are comprised of Ballarat Music Royalty and donated their talent and time to deliver a night of iconic tunes primarily from the 60’s and 70’s which inspired dancing and fundraising!   Over $10,000 was raised to enable the BMI to continue to deliver its program of community events, library services, talks, historic library collection preservation and activation, historic building maintenance and importantly the role the BMI can play in reinforcing  Ballarat as a significant tourism destination within our region.  

Malcolm Roberts (BMI Board Member) delivered a fabulous retro style two course meal, assisted by Kathryn Amor who also donated stunning floral centre pieces which were then purchased by the crowd as a further fund-raising option.  

Paul Medwell with his team ran the bar pro-bono and sponsored the wines for the evening. Other donors for the event included:

Hotel Vera | Windflower | Frank Ford Travel | Chris Packer and Associates | Max Harris | Intrinsic Health | Nevetts Lawyers | Black Cat Trufffles | The Foundry | AOK Transfers | Waller and Chester Printers

Thanks goes to all these supporters and must also go to a wider group of BMI volunteers in gathering support for the event and assisting on the night.  

Danni Stonehouse & Judy Peters | Photo MEDA DESIGNS
Ann Zaal & Wayne Jones | Photo MEDA DESIGNS
Terri Squire & Max Harris | MEDA DESIGNS
The Harmonies | Photo MEDA DESIGNS
Paula Nicholson with The Surf Shadows | Photo MEDA DESIGNS.

Many thanks to Edwina Williams & MEDA DESIGNS | Ballarat Times for these photos. 

Author Talks

Many of you would have attended or at least be aware of, the growing program of author talks happening at the BMI. Rosemary is developing a wide ranging network of authors and publishers, enhancing the program and opening up our building for some very interesting discussions, book launches and signings, not to mention attracting many new visitors onto the premises. A big thank you must go to Rosemary for her energy and enthusiasm in developing this new offering. 

Author Gabriel Bergmoser in-conversation with ABC Journalist, Lexie Jeuniewic

Heritage Festivals

That brings us to our Heritage festival participation. We are so pleased to be involved in the national Heritage Festival with season two of Twilight Talks being themed Not the Last Picture Show. There will be six Twilight talks in this season taking us through the national Heritage Festival into the Ballarat Heritage Festival. There will be other ticketed events along the way so please take the time to check out the full program below so you don’t miss out!

State Library of Victoria

We are also pleased to announce the next step in our partnership with the State Library of Victoria. We will be participating in Rare Book Week  this year, in a collaborative style event. This will take place in July,  more details to come. 


With all of this activity comes the need for more volunteers and staff to assist us in the delivery.  If you would like to volunteer for any of these special Heritage Festival events please drop in and see Rosemary at the front desk and we can explore the opportunities further or complete the on-line form.

Annual Appeal | Membership

The end of April brings the end of the financial year for the BMI, our End of Financial Year is not the usual June 30.  As most of you know we are running our annual appeal currently, and will continue to do so this year in celebration of our 165th birthday. However, if anyone would like to donate before the end of April, this will provide us with confidence and certainty as we budget into the next 12 months.  There are  lots of opportunities for activation but these are only deliverable with solid planning and strong financial resources.

I would like to thank you all for being members of the BMI over the last 12 months. Of course, as members we understand the benefits that come with belonging to this organisation.   With increasing costs and competition in spaces for hire, audience numbers and funding in general, a stronger membership base means that we can adequately underpin the activities and therefore the future of the BMI with greater certainty.  

We have a goal, and that is to triple our members over the next 12 months.   Tripling our membership would mean that we could claim almost 1800 members. As Ballarat’s population continues to grow, we can offer that feeling of community and belonging that is sometimes difficult to find in a larger regional centre.  Please think about advocating for the BMI within your networks, so they too can enjoy the membership benefits and become part of this long standing and well respected cultural institution.  You could start by inviting them to the amazing program of events.

Paula Nicholson.

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BMI Fundraiser

The Hideaways,
The Harmonies &
Surf Shadows. 

2 course dinner & lots
of dancing