Skip to Content

  • Join Scott Whitaker, author of Railway Hotels of Australia for an informative and entertaining talk about the history of Railway Hotels in Victoria.

    This talk will be of great interest to local historians, rail enthusiasts, researchers, genealogists and those interested in hotels and the past.

    Presented as part of the 2017 National Trust Australian Heritage Festival – BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL.

    > read more
  • The PMI Library will be closed for the ANZAC Day public holiday on Tuesday 25 April 2017. Our returns chutes will be open. You can also renew your items online, via our catalogue.

    > read more
  • The Police Gazettes are an underappreciated resource.

    They are one of the many fascinating directories and databases that the we hold.

    These gazettes are a wonderful resource to discover any way a family member or a person you are researching might have come into contact with the law. The police gazettes can be found on the library computers.

    > read more
  • Electronic databases are often overlooked, and the PMI’s collection can provide a myriad of information.

    They range from directories like the Sands and McDougall’s directories which cover addresses in first Melbourne and then Victoria, to hospital indexes, to registries for example cemetery burial registries from a wide variety of Victorian cemeteries, to gazettes for example the police gazette, which covers all sorts of ways that people came into contact with the law. These are just examples of some of these sorts of resources and they can be invaluable as they can give you firsthand primary information.

    > read more
  • 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.

    > read more

Latest News


2017 Bruce Turner Presentation

Tuesday, 04/04/2017

Railway Hotels of Victoria with Scott Whitaker – Saturday 13 May 2017, 2:30pm

Join Scott Whitaker, author of Railway Hotels of Australia for an informative and entertaining talk about the history of Railway Hotels in Victoria.

This talk will be of great interest to local historians, rail enthusiatsts, researchers, genealogists and those interested in hotels and the past.

This event is also presented as part of the 2017 National Trust Australian Heritage Festival.  

Read more…


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…


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…



Welcome!

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.