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Image courtesy of the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts website.
Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts i(A96555 works by) (Organisation) assertion (a.k.a. SMSA)
Born: Established: 23 Mar 1833 Sydney, New South Wales, ;
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The Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts (SMSA) is ‘the oldest operating School of Arts and operates the longest-running lending library in Australia. Since colonial times, the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts has made a major contribution to Sydney’s culture, industry, society and politics.

‘The SMSA was founded in 1833 by Henry Carmichael ‘at the request of artisans and tradesmen who had studied with him aboard the Stirling Castle on their voyage to Sydney. Carmichael drew on the model of the burgeoning Mechanics’ Institutes and Schools of Arts movement – and with the enthusiastic support of Governor Bourke who became [the SMSA’s] first patron – his efforts resulted in the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts being formed on 22nd March 1833 at a public meeting attended by around 200 people.

‘From its beginnings, the SMSA was ‘the leading provider of adult education in the colony [of New South Wales], running a lending library, conducting classes and holding lectures on everything from phrenology to chemistry and the poems of Lord Byron ... The SMSA quickly became the centre of colonial Sydney’s intellectual, cultural and political life.

‘Filling a vital niche in adult and vocational education, the SMSA made a major contribution to the colony’s economic development by providing the first technical education in Australia for trades in 1865 and establishing the Working Men’s College in 1878. These technical classes were so successful that the School negotiated their transfer to the colonial Government in 1883, forming the precursor to [institutes of Technical and Further Education] ... and, ultimately, to both the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology, Sydney.’

Source: 'Our History :SMSA', Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts website,

Sighted: 30 June 2014



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Last amended 1 Jul 2014 10:42:40
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