Funding to protect a Ballarat icon

Ballarat’s historic Mechanics Institute will share in $3 million of grants to protect some of Victoria’s most important cultural landmarks and buildings.

Labor Member for Wendouree, Juliana Addison, today announced a $175,000 grant from this year’s Living Heritage Program for conservation works to the basement of the Ballarat Mechanics Institute.

The funding will allow repairs to brickwork, windows, walls and the installation of mechanical ventilation to enable the basement to be used by the public.

The Labor Government’s $60 million Living Heritage Program was launched in 2016 and this year has seen the most applications, the most projects and record funding of more than $3 million.

Ms Addison said the funding will help to preserve Ballarat’s heritage history.

“Ballarat Mechanics Institute is an integral part of Ballarat’s civic life and history. It holds an extraordinary collection of books, photographs, maps, artworks and newspapers including every edition of the Ballarat Courier ever published,” Ms Addison said.

“It is truly a unique asset for local people and a great attraction for visitors and I cannot think of a more worthy restoration project in our city,” she said.

The Living Heritage Grants Program is the biggest boost to heritage assets in Victorian history, funding the repair and restoration of the most significant places and objects throughout the state.

Ms Addison said the program is saving significant heritage sites all over Victoria and preserving them for future generations.

“Heritage is not just about preserving history, it’s a major part of Ballarat’s tourism industry and contributes to sustainable economic development for our great city,” Ms Addison said.

Ballarat Mechanics Institute Vice President, Mike Stephens, said the funding would be used to open up the basement for public use.

“The Ballarat Mechanics Institute is really excited to receive this grant.  It allows us to commence restoration of the basement so it can be put on show as part of Ballarat’s underground city,” Mr Stephens said.

For the full list of grant recipients visit: heritage.vic.gov.au/grants/living-heritage-program

Applications for the next round of the Living Heritage Program will open early 2020.

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