3 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections
: Sydney Mechanics' School of
One of the most prosperous institutions in the colony is the School of Arts, Sydney : and doubless oure readers would be glad to know something of its history. It was established on the 22nd of March, 1833 and very few of its founders are now living. One the date named the late Major Mitchell (then Surveyor-General), the late Dr. Nicholson, the late Rev. H. Carmichael, M.A., and a few other literary and scientific gentlemen, met together and re- solved to found an institution similar to those estab- lished in England by Dr. Bircbeck, Dr. Ure, and other distinguished promoters of popular education. THe Surveyor-General furnished the society, fratis, with temporary accommodation in one of his offices on Church Hill. named "Tho Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts," and its objects wore declared to he "tho intel
THE NEW HEADING: BOOM AT THE SYDNEY MECHANIC'S SCHOOL OF ARTS.
lectual improvement of its members and tho culti vation of literature, science, and arts/' As po pular -.lectures woro then the rage in England, they -weiro introduced, and afc tho end of tho financial.year, tho éocioty nottedf rom the salo of tickets tho magnificent sum of ¿fil 2s Gd. Tho x*óÚ contained Ol members, and the subscriptions amounted to ¿C147 17s Gd. Next year brought an accession of 34 members, and tho revenue from tho lectures' was ¿£13 17s Gd. Thus em boldened, tho promoters in 1835 applied to the Governor, Sir lt. Bourke, for "a.grant without purchase of an allotment on tho site of tho old Hiinber yard, for tho pxu'poso of orecting thoroon ^'suitable building." Tho Home Government would nob accedo to tho request, but recommended tjio; Govornor to give tho institution such support as he deemed proper in tho shape of money from the public funds. Sir E. Bomke then proposed to tho Legislativo Council tho following resolution ¡ 'f That the' Sydney«.Mechanics' School of Arts bo allowed tho sum of ¿6200 a year forthe objects re ferred to iintil this most useful Bociety shall havo Secoino so firmly established as to remove all
oubts of its pormanency, and rondor it xüqre expedient to grant a f urthor sum of niônoy fpr the orection of such buildings as the institu tion requires/' That annual grant of ¿£¡200 hos boen continued from that timo till the present. In 1835 Major Mitchell resumed the premises whèro tho; society mot, and tho members, after some troublo, secured tho lease for 10 years of an eligible allotinont of land in Pitt-sfcrcot, adjacent fo tho north sido of tho Independent Chapel, having. a frontage of only 13ft and a depth of 112ft. On this land they conmumcod building tho old library, and ultimately bought tho chapel,
which has over sinco been xised as an amusement
hall. Tims the . society prospered until 1851, when tho socioty was in a state of disorganisation and paralysis; but soon ofter Dr. "Woolley's ticcossion to tho institution it steadily ad vanced ; in public favour and usofuhiess. Within the last two years extensivo alterations and improvements havo been effected in tho Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, which render the in stitution tho bast (ns it is the most successful of its kind)'in tho colonies. Thc Technical Working Mon s Collego recently established under its aus pices bids fair to meet a great want among tho working clds'aes. Tho institution 1ms beou enlarged J
to three times its former dimensions, at on expense of ¿88000, to which the Government only contributed ¿£2000. Recently the public -wore invited to in spect tho alterations, improvements, and .addi tions, and a very large numbor of visitors attended, and expressed their pleasure at the complete reno vation of tho institution. Among those present were tho Honourables E. Bakor (Minister for Mines), Professor Smith, M.L.C.j S. D. Gordon, M.L.G. j and L. E. De Salis, M.L.C., and Mr. H. E. Cohen, Mr. J. Davies, Mr. W. C. Browne, Mr. D. O'Connor, Mr. J. Shepherd, Mr. Charles, Mr. Hungerford, Mr. Beyers, Mr. "W. Neil, J.B., Mr. Harrie Wood (Under Secretory for Minos), and Mr. M. A.. Block. The visitors were shown through the building, or rather buildings, by the librarian, assistant librarians, and tho committee. On the ground floor is tho new library, which was tho old reading-room, 6& by 26 feet, about threo times the size of the old library, and weU lighted aud venti lated. Tho room covers 1512 feet, and contains
20,000 volumes, placed incases that aro ranged along the walls and down the centre of the room. Each member is at liberty to select his boole from the coses, which are conspicuously labelled as con taining works of history, fiction, &c. Tho entrance to tho library, hall, &c, ia much enlarged and embellished. To tho . left is a small room, used by the. secretary (Mr. Rogers) as his private office. Adjoining this is tho ladies' reading room (formerly the old library), elegantly furnished, and fitted up with overy con venience. Passing down the well lighted and airy passngo'botwoen the library and tho hall, wo come to a chess room 47ft by 10ft, which is double the size of the old ono. Wo next visit a fine room called the Working Men's Colloge, which is 48ft by 28ft. It covers 1820 squaro feet, well lighted, ventilated, and beautifully ornamentod¿ The room has a raised platform, opon timbered roof, and a lantern light and circular window at each end. The room was fillod with models, sciontiflo apparatus, and mineralogical collections, tho sole property of the institution. There aro two en trances into the room, ono loading from a passage into George-street and the other by the maia passage into Pitt-stroot. Near the George-street passage is a chemistry room and lecture room 37ft by 19ft, admirably fitted up with all tho appliances for the "study of chemistry. To tho right and left of the college, are staircases leading to six .class rooms fitted up with models, coses, and all the appliances for ongmeoring/drawing, music, and other intel lectual pursuits. Ascending the grand staircase, at tho entronco to tho hall in Pitt-street, lavatories aro met with, and then wo enter the largest read ing room connected with any literary institution in the colonios. Tho room, which is shown in tho engraving, -extends along the whole front of the building, and goes back a distance of 64ft, being moro than double tho size of tho old reading room. Tho walls aro ornamented with husts, pictures, and photographs of colonial sconory (especially some views of Sydney and Melbourne; j thoro is a largo and very costly referenco library of several thou sand volumes, principally old and rare newspapers, and the latest standard works of reference. The cases oro highly ornamental, and aro on: ono side, but it is intended that a similar lino of cases will bo erected on tho other side to receive a. largo sup ply of works now stored up. Ranged throughout the room are long tables covered with colonial,
English, and continental newspapers and peri- odicals. The room is splendidly lighted, very healthy, and well ventilated ; while the noise of tho performances in the hall and the passing vehicles in tho street, which used to prove a great inconvenience to readers in tho old room, has now been greatly reduced, if not shut out altogether. What with the benefits conferred by these grand improvements, the institution must necessarily prove more attractive, and bring about an increase in its membership.