The Kilmore Mechanics’ Instituite & Free Library was formed at a public meeting held in Kilmore in 1854. Soon it had leased a meeting room and reading room, and then it moved into an old police lock up. In 1863 it moved into its own premises at 3 Powlett Strreet, Kilmore and this building stood until 1978 when it was demolished.

Over the years The Kilmore Mechanics’ provided the forum or the meeting place for most of the progressive movements in Kilmore and during this time it also assembled a substantial library, which was, regrettably, sold off in 1978.

In 1994 a group of concerned citizens reformed The Kilmore Mechanics’ Institute & Free Library and this body has become an incorporated association and it opens all its meetings to the public.

In 1995-1996 the Institute successfully lobbied the Mitchell Shire Council, successor to the Shire of Kilmore, to establish a public library in the former Kilmore Shire offices, and it is here that the Institute has established its Regional Studies Collection.

The reformed group set about pursuing the former assets of the Institute which were held by banks and the Shire of Kilmore. It was was assisted in this matter by the Public Interest Law Clearing House. In 1997 The Institute agreed to relinquish its claim on Council in consideration for a special one-off payment from the government.

The Institute runs lectures, workshops and fundraising events consistent with its objectives. The periodic events include those named for its five early trustees and a benefactor: George Beveridge, George Hudson, Dr Andrew Nash, John Taylor, Edward Woodward and Judith Morris.

In keeping with tradition the Institute extends ex-officio membership to the district’s clergy.

In addition to the annual George Hudson Awatrds, the Institute also conducts an annual Gardens of Kilmore Open Day which generally covers seven district gardens.

In 1996 The Institute, as its John Taylor Lecture/Workshop process, with the valuable assistance of urban planner Professor Dimity Reed and strategic consultant Graham Holdaway, prepared a Vision for Kilmore to investigate future directions and the wider support of community businesses and its organisations. This web site reflects that Vision and carries that work forward.

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