Remembering the Past Australia

Mechanics Institute, Launceston, Tasmania ca. 1868

TAS038.001 Mechanics Institute. Launceston, Tasmania, Australia ca. 1868Description: Mechanics Institute.

Location: Tasmania, Australia


Our Catalogue Reference: Part of CO 1069/621.

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Historical Information

Mechanics’ Institutes originated in Edinburgh in 1821 and soon spread to the rest of the British Isles and throughout the world. They sought to give skilled working men education for life and work, providing lectures, classes, libraries and even museums. Australia’s first mechanics institute was established in Hobart Town in 1827.

The most successful mechanics’ institute was established in Launceston in 1842 with the support of Congregational minister, journalist and historian John West. From private and official sources, £8000 was raised for an institute building, designed by eminent architect W. H. Clayton. This Italianate edifice remained the centre of culture and an ornament to the town until demolished in 1971. Its books and periodicals became part of the city’s public library. [The Companion to Tasmanian History. Mechanics’ Institutes]

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

ca. 1868

Mechanics Institute, Launceston

Colourised and enhanced photo showing the Mechanics Institute in Launceston, Tasmania – circa 1868.

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