Laen Mechanics' Institute. On this site 1886-1955. 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. The Laen Mechanics' Institute was built in 1186. It was a large (50ft x 20ft) galvanised iron hall, later lined with timber. The opening was celebrated with a concert and ball attended by 250 people. It was the lifeblood of a thriving rural community. There were dances, balls, school concerts, luncheons on picnic days, church services, and a library. It continued as a centre for community activities until the late 1940's. One of the last recorded events was a concert in 1951. In 1955 the building was sold and removed from the site. This plaque, No. 28 in the MIV series, is dedicated to Jack and Ron Della Vedova in recognition of their lifetime of service to the local community.