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  • Annual Laurie McCalman Presentation

    Come along to the PMI Library to hear Dr Judith Buckrich talk about her award winning book The Village of Ripponlea.

    When: Saturday 25 February 2017, 2:30pm


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  • The Friends of the PMI Library will be holding their first book sale for this year on Sunday 26 March 2017 from 10:30am-3:00pm. 

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  • The Sands and McDougall directories list all people living in Victoria, by their address, like a telephone directory but arranged by street. So whether you are trying to trace a specific ancestor, or want to know who owned your house before you, this is place to start. The PMI holds directories from the mid-1800s to the 1940s electronically and the remainder are on microfiche.

    The Sands and McDougall directories can be found on the library computers in the directories folder.
    Image: Creator: Halla, K. J., photographer. (

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  • The core of the PMI’s collection is its selection of books on individual towns in Victoria and wider Australia. We hold books on the vast majority of towns in Victoria and a growing collection of books in interstate towns. Histories of towns and institutions within towns, such as churches and schools, not only give an excellent impression of what the town was like, they also often include information on the townspeople and institutions.  The PMI is the only institution that is actively collecting these resources to ensure that the history of Victoria and interstate towns are preserved.


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  • The PMI Library has more than 30,000 books for loan and a professional information service for our members, we provide a central resource for research into the history of Victoria.  We hold many titles that are unavailable elsewhere.  It is the only lending collection of its kind in Australia that is available for loan to the general public.

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Latest News

W.H. Blakeley Book Launch

Monday, 20/02/2017

The PMI Library staff attended the book launch of W.H. Blakeley: pioneer saw maker, farmer &​ trade unionist written by PMI Library Member Helen Blakey about her Grandfather, William Henry Blakeley on 8 March 2017. The launch was held at Main Ridge Bowls Club and hosted by the Dromana & District Historical Society, in conjunction with the Red Hill District Lions Club.

It was a lovely evening with lots of support shown for Helen’s book. Secretary Librarian, Steven Haby also managed to win one of the raffles on the night.

We would like to extend our best wishes to Helen and her new book.

About the Book

William Henry Blakeley, the unsung, red-headed, trail-blazing hero of the book, embraces the Colony, uses his industrial skills to build a business concurrently with that of a Trade Society, and farms at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula.

As the first saw manufacturer in Australia, he expands his firm and his reputation, prospects and invests in gold, supports inventions, and embraces the Great Exhibitions of the 1880s. He survives the 1890s Depression, recovers from a financial catastrophe that would have overwhelmed a lesser person, and secures W.H Blakeley’s enterprising contribution to the economic advancement of a new nation.

W.H. Blakeley: Pioneer saw maker, farmer &​ trade unionist is available for loan from the PMI Library.

Book Cover Helen Blakeley signing book

Volunteer News

Friday, 17/02/2017

One of our dedicated volunteers, John, turned 80 a couple of weeks ago and still came in on his birthday to volunteer. We thought that was worth a cake! John has been a volunteer at the PMI since 2013 helping to cover our books. Thanks for your help John, we hope you had a great birthday.

Image of John with Birthday Cake Image of John's Cake

Friends of the PMI Library Second-Hand Book Sale

Monday, 13/02/2017

The Friends of the PMI Library will be holding their first book sale for this year on Sunday 26 March 2017 from 10:30am-3:00pm. Categories include History, Military, Australiana, Literature, Nature, Biographies, Cinema and more.

The PMI Library will also be open during this time for those who wish to utilise the library facilities.

PMI Library Staff Updates

Tuesday, 13/12/2016

We are both happy and sad to announce that after 16 years at the PMI, Tim McKenna (Secretary Librarian) is officially retiring from his position at the end of this year. Read more…

PMI Library Christmas/New Year Hours

Monday, 03/12/2016

The PMI Library will be closed during the Christmas/New Year holiday period.

CLOSED: 4:30pm, Friday 23 December 2016
REOPEN: 9:30am, Monday 9 January 2017

Read more…

2016 Victorian Community History Awards

Thursday, 20/10/2016

PMI would like to congratulate the winners of the 2016 Victorian Community History Awards.

In particular, we would like to congratulate members Pam Baragwanath and Ken James who were the overall prize winners for ‘These Walls Speak Volumes’ and our Vice President, Judith Buckrich who was the recipient of the Local History – Small Publication Award for ‘The Village of Ripponlea’.  Read more…

Announcement: 2016 Short History Prize Winner 

Tuesday, 18/10/2016

The Prahran Mechanics’ Institute would like to congratulate Neville Lee from the Camberwell Historical Society for his entry The Story of Ashburton Through the Ages.

This year’s winner is a well-researched and detailed description of the development of this little known area of greater Melbourne. Interestingly told with detail of the wider history as well as what happened locally, it is also well illustrated with maps and photographs.

The author receives $500, a certificate and a PMI voucher and the nominated historical society also receives $500. Read more…


The PMI Library is a community owned and run library specialising in the history of Victoria, Australia.

We have over 30,000 books for loan and a professional information service for our members. We provide a central resource for research into the history of Victoria.

Joining is easy, affordable and open to all.

The PMI is also the home of special collections of the Mechanics’ Institutes of Victoria, the Cinema & Theatre Historical Society and the Australian Railway Historical Society (Vic.).

Opening Hours

Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri: 9.30am-4.30pm
Thu: 9.30am-7.00pm

Except for Victorian public holidays and the Christmas-New Year period.