Just a year after the Lumière brothers invented the cinematograph in 1895, the first screenings of this new technology of ‘moving pictures’ were held at the Mechanics’ Institute.

By the 1970s, cinema’s death was being heralded after the devastating impact of television and the attraction of the drive-in, making the BMI’s Vegas 70 for a brief time Ballarat’s only indoor cinema.

Their latest photographic exhibition Not the Last Picture Show traces the history of cinemas in Ballarat, from the spectacular nitrate film-fuelled conflagration of the 4,000 seat Coliseum Picture Palace, (now a supermarket car park), to the Skyline Drive-in, now a housing estate with a ‘Bogart Avenue’.

The exhibition will be held in the Williamson Foyer space, which formerly hosted the candy bar of the cinema, with an additional exhibition in their beautiful Heritage Reading Room.

This event is part of the Ballarat Heritage Festival.

Content: The Ballaarat Mechanics Institute

Accessibility Information

  • Caters for people with sufficient mobility to climb a few steps but who would benefit from fixtures to aid balance. (This includes people using walking frames and mobility aids)
  • Caters for people who use a wheelchair.

  • 17–26 May

10:30am–4pm

Ballarat Mechanics Institute | Hugh Williamson Foyer

117-119 Sturt Street, Ballarat Central VIC 3350

Get Directions


Accessibility Information

  • Caters for people with sufficient mobility to climb a few steps but who would benefit from fixtures to aid balance. (This includes people using walking frames and mobility aids)
  • Caters for people who use a wheelchair.

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Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.

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© 2023 Ballarat In The Know. This initiative is funded by the City of Ballarat and Tourism Midwest Victoria.