Australian screenshots



Liverpool Range, 1955
Literary Institute, 127 Mayne St, Murrurundi

A museum occupies the building that was, up until the early 1960s, the home of the Murrurundi Literary Institute. The building is located at the western end of local council parkland wedged between the Pages River and Mayne St. Next to the Literary Institute building is a de-commissioned Presbyterian church in which the museum hosts travelling exhibitions.

View West across the parkland to the old church and institute

1. What was a ‘Literary Institute’?

Source: Wikipedia
Topic: Cultural institutions in Australia
From 1827, Mechanics' Institutes, Literary Institutes, Athenaeums and Schools of Arts played an important role in the life of early Australian communities. Among their roles was the provision of libraries and reading rooms, but as community institutions they also provided lectures and adult education.
By 1900 there were 1000 Mechanics' Institutes in Australia with memberships of between 100 and 200 people. Most of these Institutes did not have large libraries, usually having less than 1,000 books. Their role in a country town was more a general focus for the community's cultural activities, not just that of a library. As well as membership subscriptions, the Institutes were supported by colonial governments and sometimes by local government, usually by land grants and cash assistance. The institution generally had a purpose built building in the town. Many of these buildings are no longer home to those institutions but are used for other purposes.
In 1912, a New South Wales committee was set up to examine whether the £10,000 subsidy paid annually by the government to Schools of Arts and similar institutions was money well spent. The committee determined it was not well spent and recommended phasing out or reducing the subsidy in metropolitan areas and municipalities and that local authorities take over schools of arts. There were not enough books, especially non-fiction, and services were limited under the current arrangements. However, lobbying saw the recommendations not implemented. Subsidies continued until the 1930s depression.

2. Library services in Murrurundi

The Murrurundi School of Arts was founded in 1862. With the coming of the railway in 1872, a membership boost from railway employees occurred and a resulting technical slant to the institution brought about a change in name to “Murrurundi Mechanics Institute and School of Arts”. When the railway terminus moved on to Quirindi in 1877 the number and influence of railway employees waned. By 1880 the name had reverted to “Murrurundi School of Arts”. The first newspaper report of a “Murrurundi Literary Institute” coincides with the opening of the new building of 1913, discussed below.
The building that housed the institution’s library and lecture space is not identified in 19th century newspaper reports. In the early 20th century the institute’s home was in the old Court of Petty Sessions which occupied the site of 127 Mayne St. The buildings ceased their legal functions when the new courthouse and gaol opened in 1861, so it is possible that the old courthouse was available for the School of Arts in its founding year, 1862. By the turn of the century the old courthouse was severely termite damaged and was in urgent need of replacement.
A dedicated building for the institute was opened in 1913 at 127 Mayne St. The institute’s library was partially funded by membership fees which entitled members to borrow books. The NSW Government Gazette indicates institute trustees were appointed annually up to 1962.
At some point between the early 1960s and mid 1980s, library services were assumed by local government. The best guess is that the Literary Institute was decommissioned in 1963 when the term of the last trustee expired, and local council may have taken over at this point. By the mid 1980s the location of the library had moved to a demountable building where the Visitor Information Centre is now (113 Mayne St). Today the library is located in the Upper Hunter Shire Council offices at 47 Mayne St.
Thanks go to Dana at Murrurundi Library for providing information on the mid-late 20th-century library service.

3. What were the uses of Literary Institute building in the 1950s?

By the 1950s the Literary Institute had shed its adult education role. In addition to being a source of leisure reading and a venue for community-group meetings , the building’s floor space was utilised for non-contact indoor sports such as snooker and ping pong.

Source: TROVE
Publication: The Scone Advocate
Date: Friday 9th June 1950
Location: Page 4, under title ‘Murrurundi Literary Institute’
Members of the above will be pleased to know that a further 100 new books will arrive this month. It is the policy of the committee to keep the library as up-to-date as funds will permit. The member ship fee is only 15/ per annum, and a satisfactory increase in the number of members would result in a corresponding increase in the number of new books from month to month.
The first round of the snooker tournament on Monday evening was very keenly contested, and the handicappers, with very few exceptions, have apparently done a good job.
The general public are reminded that these tournaments are not confined to members only and any member of the public may enter. The room is open for play every night from 7.30 to 10.30, except [ Saturdays and Sundays, and two very fine tables, in very good condition, are available for play.

Source: TROVE
Publication: The Scone Advocate
Date: Friday 18th August 1950
Location: Page 1, under title ‘Murrurundi Literary Institute’
At the committee meeting, held on 14th August, Mr. George Swan was elected Treasurer to the Murrurundi Literary Institute. It was decided to hold regular knock-out billiard and snooker-challenge competitions, the winners to hold the gold buttons until defeated. A further snooker pairs handicap will take place on Monday night. These pairs events are becoming very popular with the members and, being one right affairs, the interest cannot drag as is the case very often in long drawn-out tournaments.
It was decided to fix the fee for the use of the meeting room by outside bodies at 5/ per meeting, such meetings to terminate not later than 10 p.m. The fees are payable in advance.
It is also proposed to hold table-tennis events if sufficient players are interested.

From the forecourt of the RSL

Aerial shot looking South. Old institute and church in the centre. Railway depot top left. Lawn bowls club and Methodist church to the right. Decaying 2-storey mansion bottom centre.

Aerial shot looking North East. Old institute and church in the centre. Pages River flowing bottom to top along the right edge. Lawn bowls club in the bottom left. Municipal baths top left. Wilson Memorial Oval top centre.
Hi folks, I've uploaded a video to Youtube showing Derm RM 58 with Wulf_9's Deltic sound file.

I took the Deltic for a drive which prompted me to change the sound in the Derm as I knew it sounded like a Derm. I went for a ride on the Derm a few years ago down at Seymour.

NSWGR_46Class VR Derm 58 and 63.


I just merely implemented Wulf_9's Deltic sound.


I think it sounds pretty close.....