Former Ballarat East Library

Barkly Street Campus

The Ballarat East Library has an interesting history. Established as a library it was said to have a collection second only to the State Library of Victoria. As a library it went into decline after the amalgamation of the Ballaarat and Ballarat East Councils in 1921.

Through predecessor institutions, Federation University Australia has used the Ballarat East Library building as a campus on two occasions. From 1927 to 1931 the Ballarat Teachers' College was located there. In 1887, over fifty years later, the Ballarat School of Mines used the building as a Management Training Centre, referring to it as the Barkly Street Campus.


  • 1862 The Ballarat East Library was established in the engine-house of the East Fire Station by Emmanual Steinfeld opening its doors for the first time on 1 April 1862.
  • 1867 The foundation stone for the existing brick building was laid on 21 January 1867, and opened two years later. The Hon. Architect was J.T. Lorenz, and the contractors were Bolton and Fife.
  • 1870 The Ballarat East Library had an excellent collection of 6000 volumes.
  • 1921 Ballarat East and West municipalities amalgamate. The library comes under the control of the Ballarat City Council.
  • 1927 Ballarat Teachers' College use the Ballarat East Library as a campus until December 1931.
  • 1949 The Ballarat East Library was relegated to branch status.
  • 1959 (31 August) The Ballarat Girls' High School was granted a 10 year lease by the Ballarat City Council.
  • 1960 The library was moved downstairs to a refurbished reading room.
  • 1968 The Ballarat City Council agreed, in principle, to revoking a part of the Ballarat East Gardens adjacent to the Ballarat Girls' High School, for school purposes.
  • 1973 (September) 6,000 residents of Ballarat East were registered at the central Library, and branch membership had fallen to 30 adults and 50 junior readers. The Ballarat East Library was open on Fridays only.
  • 1973 On 26 October the old library, once the best outside Melbourne, closed after a life of 111 years. The books were taken to the Camp Street Library and the Ballarat Historical Society's exhibits were moved from Camp St to the Old Ballarat East Library.
  • 1980 The Ballarat School of Mines Council presented a proposal to the Ballarat City Council regarding occupying and managing the Ballarat East Free Library as a School of Traditional Crafts. The proposal included maintaining the building in optimum condition.
  • 1983 Land formally occupied by the Ballarat East Free Library in Barkly St was gazetted as a reserve for educational purposes and allocated to the Ballarat School of Mines.
  • 1987 Former Ballarat East Library reopened after extensive renovations and repairs, as the Management Training Centre of the Ballarat School of Mines.


Entrance to SMB Amenities Building

Entrance to SMB Amenities Building: (Cat. No. 2023)

Ballarat Gaol' watercolour by Paul McKinnon

'Ballarat Gaol' watercolour by Paul McKinnon (Cat. No. 0113)