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The Hardy Survivor: Stories behind the Prahran Mechanics’ Institute
Wednesday 2 May • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
The library has been continuously providing access to books and knowledge for its members since foundation. It is now a central resource for research into the history of Victoria.
Mechanics’ Institutes date back to 1799 when Dr George Birkbeck, a physician, academic, philanthropist and a pioneer in adult education, gave a series of lectures for working men in Glasglow. The idea of providing educational opportunities to the working man and woman (known then as ‘mechanics’) spread, and the first Institute was opened in Edinburgh in 1821. The PMI was only one of thousands in Victoria by the early 1900s, but unlike the majority of the other Institutes, it has survived.
The PMI has thrived despite some rocky early years which included the need to flush out an early secretary who was refusing to leave, by removing the roof of the building. Today it is one of the oldest surviving mechanics’ institutes in Victoria and one of only six still operating a lending library. Come along and hear about the fascinating history of Victoria’s second oldest library.
This event is run as part of the Australian Heritage Festival.
Cost: Gold Coin Donation
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