Why ‘Mechanics’?

Schools of Arts and Mechanics’ Institutes

The word “Mechanics” in our name comes from the SMSA’s roots in an adult education movement that originated in Scotland in the 1820s and soon spread throughout the English-speaking world. “Mechanics”, in this context, refers to people working in technical trades or as artisans. These institutes and schools were founded in the belief that society would benefit from better-educated working people, however as the movement evolved, middle-class professionals, merchants, shopkeepers, clerks and office workers also joined the organisations which now provided ‘rational recreation’ for their members.

Read more about our history

Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts: A History

Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts: A History is available for purchase from the SMSA Library – or email library@smsa.org.au. 

Members $10 / Non-Members $20.

Further Reading

Our History
Mechanics’ Institutes
Schools of Arts movement