EAST GIPPSLAND SHIRE LIBRARY (FORMER BAIRNSDALE MECHANICS INSTITUTE) SOHE 2008
Statement of Significance
Last updated on - May 31, 1999
The former Bairnsdale Mechanics Institute is an Italian Renaissance styled, red brick building constructed in 1888-89. Although Thomas Swan, a local architect won an architectural competition for the design of the Mechanics Institute, the final design was completed by Melbourne architect, Harry B Gibbs but it is not known to what extent Gibbs drew on Swan's work. The building was constructed by William J Yates, a local builder. In 1913 a rear wing was added and in 1977 a new south-east section was added. The building has been used for a variety of community purposes over the years and currently operates as the East Gippsland Shire (formerly Regional) Library.
The former Bairnsdale Mechanics Institute is of architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria.
The former Bairnsdale Mechanics Institute is architecturally important as an outstanding example of an Italian Renaissance styled Mechanics Institute which is reflective of the building's importance in community life. The building is significant as an example of the work of the prolific architect, Harry B Gibbs, who later became part of the architectural firm Gibbs and Finlay. The building is architecturally one of the finest Mechanics Institutes in the State.
The former Bairnsdale Mechanics Institute is of historical significance for its relationship with cultural and social life in the Gippsland region. Bairnsdale has been an important commercial centre in south-eastern Victoria since the last century and the former Mechanics Institute, as a prominent public building of quality, embodies the cultural aspirations of the township.