Prahran Mechanics' Institute Victorian History Library

Research Costs
  • Complimentary basic reference service to members.
Open Hours
  • Mon-Fri: 9.30am - 4.30pm, Sat: 9.30am - 1.00pm
Approximate Membership
  • 550
Membership Cost
  • Annual: $12 individual, $10 student/pensioner, $30 institutional
  • PMI Victorian History Library Newsletter (quarterly) + Recent Additions supplement (monthly)
  • 1854

The Prahran Mechanics' Institute library has been specialising in Victorian history for over 30 years. It is an indepth research collection containing over 30,000 items relating to Victorian cities, towns, regions and localities as well as their people and families, businesses and industries, schools and services, clubs and recreation, crime and police, religion and politics, natural history and prehistory.

This is the only specialist Victorian history collection available for loan to the general public.

Additionally, the library contains many items of interest to family historians, such as civil indexes, cemetery indexes and pioneer registers. There's also plenty of Australian and interstate histories, Australian politics, art and literature, and a general collection of recent fiction.

The PMI runs regular events including historical lectures, family history seminars, historic film evenings, displays and the popular annual Short History Prize.

PMI Press, the library's publishing arm, aims to assist authors of Victorian history to publish their works and has published over a dozen books.

Inter-library loans from the historical collection are available to all libraries within Australia.


The following organisations keep their collections at the PMI: Mechanics' Institutes of Victoria, Cinema & Theatre Historical Society, Australian Railway Historical Society (Vic.)