Ballan Mechanics' Institute. Founded 1861. Established on this site 1885. The Mechanics' Institute movement began in British urban industrial centres in the early 1800s. A "mechanic" was a person applying skills and technology. During the 19th century, most towns in Victoria established a Mechanics' Institute or Athenaeum with a library and meeting hall. Common objects were the "spread of useful knowledge" and provision for "rational recreation" in the community. This plaque, No. 2 in the MIV series, was placed here on December 6, 2003 on the occasion of major renovations to the building.