Fremantle Stuff > Organisations > Literary Institute; see also: Mechanics Institute, Working Man's Association, Fremantle Library

Literary Institute

A Mechanics Institute was formed in Fremantle in 1851 after a meeting 8 August at Wellard’s Hotel (previously the Crown and Thistle and now the site of the Cleopatra Hotel in High Street).

As early as 1851 the Fremantle Literary Institute had been established. Its president was the government resident, Mr R. McBryde Brown, and in 1854 it sought permission to exchange Lot 564 in Adelaide Street for Lot 433 in Market Street, the latter being considered much better situated and more suited to the purposes of the society which proposed to commence building as soon as the exchange could be conveniently made. Ewers: 42.

Ten years later a Working Man’s Association also came existence - in 1862. The Association provided a subscription library, leasing a reading room - possibly in Pakenham or Henry Streets - and was in receipt of a grant of £50 to support the library. The Mechanics Institute did not receive such a grant, as it was apparently thought, paradoxically, that the Association was more like a Mechanics Institute than the Institute itself. (See Harris, 2018, forthcoming.)

The two organisations became one in 1868 - as the Fremantle Literary Institute - on the corner of Cliff Street and Dalgety St (now Croke Lane).

lit inst

References and Links

Ewers, John K. 1971, The Western Gateway: A History of Fremantle, Fremantle City Council, with UWAP, rev. ed. [1st ed. 1948].

Harris, Pam [2019], 'From card catalogue to eBooks: a history of Fremantle City Library, 1851-2016', paper presented to the Fremantle History Society on its Studies Day 2016, forthcoming in Fremantle Studies.


Garry Gillard | New: 16 December, 2018 | Now: 6 February, 2019