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The Hardy Survivor: Stories behind the Prahran Mechanics’ Institute

Wednesday 2 May 2018 • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

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The Prahran Mechanics’ Institute Victorian History Library (PMI) is the second oldest library in Victoria. It was founded in 1854 and was incorporated under its own act of Parliament in 1899. It is the only mechanics’ institute in Victoria still governed by its own Act of Parliament. The Institute has a fascinating history.

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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Wednesday 2 May 2018
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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PMI Victorian History Library
39 St. Edmonds Road
Prahran, Victoria 3181
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9510 3393


The PMI Victorian History Library (PMI) are committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for our customers, visitors and staff.

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