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

Mechanics 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).

Hitchcock 1919:
At the corner of Cliff and Dalgety-streets where Mr. Antoine’s office now[1929] is, was the Mechanics’ Institute. The librarian was a Mr. H. W. Young, who had been a solicitor in England. His position was practically honorary, and he was rarely in the institute owing to other engagements. Anyone wanting a book had merely to walk in, take it from the shelf, and enter it in a book kept on the table for that purpose.

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, 2019.)

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

The first Literary Institute building


The second Literary Institute building

The second Fremantle Literary Institute had a reading room as well as loaning books. It was built in 1899 in South Terrace on the corner of Collie St - the building now thought of as the Dome.

References and Links

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, Fremantle Studies, vol. 10.

Garry Gillard | New: 16 December, 2018 | Now: 11 March, 2021