Warrandyte Mechanics' Institute and Arts Association Inc.

Est. 1881

180-186 Yarra Street, Warrandyte VIC 3113

History

Events

Facilities

Hire Charges

Contact

Brief History of Warrandyte Mechanics' Institute

The present Warrandyte Mechanics' Institute Hall building celebrated its 88th birthday in 2016, but the Institute goes back to 1881 or even 1878. Throughout its lifetime the Institute has been located at three different sites and through several stages of development in that time and is now a thriving organisation, proud of its venue and its role in the community.

It began when the Andersons Creek Community School, No. 12 (now called Warrandyte Primary School) moved to its new building in 1875, as a result of a petition to the Minister for Instruction, requesting the use of the old school building to enable local young people over 15 to continue their studies. After delays, trusteeship was given to three nominees to maintain the building as a Mechanics' Institute. This may have been as early as 1878 for an Evelyn Observer advertisement in 1882 indicated that "The Warrandyte Mechanics' Institute Free Library is open".

This building soon became unsuitable for an Institute due to a poor state of repair and a new hall was built on Crown Land on the NW corner of Yarra and Webb streets. A successful opening took place in 1890 where locals provided music, recitations and a performance of the farce, "Spinks the Baker".

This old hall served the community for 35 years for regular dances, weddings, meetings and silent movies, but in 1925 it was becoming too small for the growing community and fundraising began for a replacement. A splendid site, made available when the Warrandyte Hotel on the corner of Mitchell Avenue and Yarra Street was destroyed by fire in April 1925, was purchased and the new hall was opened in April 1928.

In its next phase, the hall was still used regularly for dances, deb balls, Lilac Time Balls, New Year's Eve dances, meetings, weddings and also a cinema up to three times per week until the advent of the drive-in in the 1950s. During the War, it was used for fundraising events for patriotic purposes and it also served as a Bush Fire Relief Centre during the Black Friday fires of 1939 and again in 1962. It was shortly after this that the timber building at the rear of the Hall was built as a Group Headquarters and radio room for the Warrandyte Fire Brigade. This same building became the Pottery Studio when the New Fire Station was built in Warrandyte in 1981.

The Committee added the porch, toilet block and meeting room in 1956, but with lack of revenue from film screenings, it was struggling to maintain the hall and its sale to Council was even considered. The saving of the Hall was brought about by the formation of the Warrandyte Arts Association (WAA) in 1956 - an umbrella association of drama, music, craft, painting and potter groups. Members maintained the building through fundraising, sale of debentures, loans from Committee members, hours of voluntary labour and, above all, the drive to maintain the Hall. At a public meeting in 1986, WAA was given the go-ahead to take over the full responsibility of the Hall and a new, incorporated association - the Warrandyte Mechanics' Institute and Arts Association - was born.

The WMIAA has devoted hours of work and thousands of dollars to the restoration and refurbishment of this wonderful old building and the creation of a garden depicting the activities of the Association through mosaics and dedicated to the memory of an outstanding volunteer.  The Association continues to foster all forms of artistic pursuit in the community while maintaining a public facility that is used on an almost daily basis for pursuits such as a choir, dance classes, Tai Chi and judo for all age groups, as well as for music performances and major public meetings. In this sense, the community role of the Mechanics' Institutes, while re-interpreted, is alive and well in Warrandyte.

 

Annual Events Calendar

Four annual productions by the Warrandyte Theatre Company and Youth Theatre Groups

see MIV Calendar and WMIAA websites for dates, times and booking information

 

Weekly Pottery Workshop - see WMIAA website for more information

 

Weekly Painting and Life Drawing groups - see WMIAA website for more information

 

Monthly Craft groups - see WMIAA website for more information

 

Monthly Music performances  - organised externally - see WMIAA newsletter on their website for more information

 

 

 

 

Building facilities

~Hall

~Kitchen (very basic)

~Chairs

~Tables

~Stage

~Heating

~Cooling

 

Hall Capacity

Standing - 150

Seated - 120

Seated at Tables - 120

Available for hire for:

~Wedding ceremonies

~Funerals/Wakes

~Birthdays (some exclusions apply)

~Art Shows

~Dance classes

~Theatre Groups

~Yoga, pilates and similar

~Club and group meeting

~Performances

 

Hire Charges

1 hour meeting - $25-$30*

 

Evening rate for Fri-Sat - $250

 

*Discounted rate may be available for local NFP groups

Available for hire for:

~Wedding ceremonies

~Funerals/Wakes

~Birthdays (some exclusions apply)

~Art Shows

~Dance classes

~Theatre Groups

~Yoga, pilates and similar

~Club and group meeting

~Performances

 

Street Address

180-186 Yarra Street

Warrandyte VIC 3113

 

Postal Address

Warrandyte Mechanics' Institute and Arts Association

PO Box 150

Warrandyte VIC 3113

 

Email:

wmiaahall@gmail.com

 

Contact (All Enquiries):

follow the links on warrandytehallarts.asn.au

 

MECHANICS' INSTITUTES OF VICTORIA INC.

PO BOX 1080, WINDSOR, VICTORIA 3181 AUSTRALIA

Reg No. A0038156G      ABN 60 337 355 989

(c) 1998-2017, Mechanics Institutes of Victoria Inc. All rights reserved.