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Kyneton Mechanics Institute

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81 Mollison Street, Kyneton VIC 3444

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Features

  • Historic building
  • Informative plaques
  • Bench seating
Built in 1858, Kyneton's striking Mechanics Institute Hall stands along Mollison Street and is an interesting place to stop by and check out while exploring the town's gorgeous heritage streetscape, buildings, gardens and natural features. Destroyed by fire three times during the 19th century, the Mechanics Institute was rebuilt each time and is still standing proudly today. This building has been utilised by the community over the years as a Mechanics Institute, cultural centre, exhibition hall, school, market-place and theatre.

Bench seating is set out the front of the building, and a small shady park is situated alongside it. 

Plaques at the Mechanics Institute display the following text: 

Kyneton Mechanics Institute

The Mechanics Institute was built by Andrea Stombuco in 1858 as a meeting place, library and athenaeum (a place of learning). It has served the community as a cultural centre, exhibition hall, school, market-place and theatre. It was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1867, 1877 and 1897. The present bluestone building with classical features, including a pedimented gable and pilasters (half-columns) at the front, dates mainly from 1877. It was designed by architect and Institute member William Pritchard. The Australian Natives' Association met here on 15 March 1893 and resolved unanimously to establish Federation Leagues throughout Victoria, which led to establishing the Commonwealth of Australia on January 1 1901.

Mechanics' Institute of Victoria Inc. (MIV)

Kyneton Mechanics' Institute Hall

Opened 19 October 1858

The Mechanics' Institute movement began in British urban industrial centres in the early 1800s. A "mechanic" was a person applying skills and technology. During the 19th century, most towns in Victoria established a Mechanics' Institute or Athenaeum with a library and meeting hall. Common objects were the "spread of useful knowledge" and provision for "rational recreation" in the community.

In 1855 a committee was formed to establish the Kyneton Mechanics' Institute. The first building opened in 1858, had meeting rooms and a library. Serious fires in 1867 and 1876 destroyed large sections of the building and its valuable library. In 1897 fire damaged the roof of the main hall. The building was rebuilt after each of these fires. The original hall had a mural in a Grecian theme that was later replaced with an Art Deco design. The restoration and refurbishment in recent years has returned a grand building to the community where people can meet and socialise in the heart of the town. 

This plaque, No. 49 in the MIV series, was placed here in 2015. It is dedicated to the pioneers who established the reserve and built the hall.


 

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