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Preserving the ‘Secular Cathedral’: Cinemas and Theatres of Ballarat

Always been curious about the 165 year-old Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute but stopped short at the door? All are welcome to the ‘secular cathedral’ of the mechanics’ – no not that type of mechanic! Come along to our exhibition and talks to discover what we do and how institutions like ours survive.

The Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute has been a nucleus of community connection in Ballarat for 165 years, from the millions of hours spent by members poring over books and newspapers in our lending library, to the thousands of film screenings, concerts and performances in our stunning Minerva theatre, to the inspiring and informative talks and lectures given in our hallowed halls. The BMI has been a secular cathedral that has survived the slings and arrows of time to remain a treasured community institution and keep the doors open. For the Australian Heritage Festival, we are hosting a series of talks that explore the history, demise and/or survival of cultural institutions just like ours. The series will include architects, historians and activists involved in the preservation of heritage in Ballarat and beyond. There will also be a free exhibition on the history of cinema in Ballarat, tracing the story from the first cinematograph screening at the BMI in 1896 to today.


Feel free to give our lending library a call on 03 5331 3042 for further details regarding speakers and bookings.

Celebrating 50 years of the Victorian Heritage Register 

Event dates

Event Details

117-119 Sturt Street, Ballarat Central, Victoria


Entry fees:
Adults $ 10
Prebooking requiredhttps://ballaratmi.org.au/events/
Attendance limit:
50 - 100
Onsite facilities: