Preserving A Ballarat Icon

Works to preserve, protect and open up one of Ballarat’s most historic buildings has begun, thanks to funding from the Andrews Labor Government.

The Ballarat Mechanics Institute will receive $175,000 from round four of the Living Heritage Program for works to the basement of the iconic building, which was built in 1860.

The Mechanics Institute is one of the few in Victoria to continuously provide library services to the community and contains a significant collection of books, newspapers and journals from Ballarat and overseas dating from 1845.

The important collection, including early colonial publications and books on mining, natural science, exploration and history, is separately included on the Victorian Heritage Register.

The heritage works, which are supported by the City of Ballarat and Central Highlands Water, will enable the building’s basement to be safely used by the public and its members for the extensive outreach and educational programs it provides.

The $60 million Living Heritage Program is the largest ever Victorian Government investment in the conservation of Victoria’s significant heritage places and objects.

The program launched in 2016, and through the 2019-20 State Budget has been extended to 2023.

The Labor Government has invested an extra $9 million over four years for competitive community heritage grants targeting ‘at risk’ heritage places and objects.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“Victoria is lucky to be home to so many beautiful and historic mechanics institutes and we’re proud to be supporting the refurbishment of this one, which is such an important part of Ballarat’s history.”

“The investment will open up the basement of this iconic building, enabling the Institute to expand its work promoting Ballarat’s rich working history.”

Quote attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison

“The Mechanics Institute has been a foundation of the Ballarat community, and these works will ensure this venue can continue to deliver much-loved outreach and education programs.”

Quote attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle

“Often the best way to preserve heritage places is to ensure they can be appreciated and used by local communities – and the work here at the Ballarat Mechanics institute is a great example of this.”

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