Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts

Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts has been welcoming members and visitors for over 190 years, providing an inclusive environment for people to share their love of learning.

Home to Australia’s longest-running lending library and the Tom Keneally Centre, SMSA is an integral part of Sydney’s literature and cultural society.

SMSA offers a robust event program and invites members and visitors to attend.

Our convenient Sydney CBD location also provides a range of meeting rooms and event spaces for hire.

We invite you to explore what SMSA has to offer…


A piece of SMSA History explored

A piece of SMSA History

Daring Debaters: Exploring SMSA artifacts at the State Library of NSW

In celebration of our rich history, the SMSA was given exclusive access to the Special Collection at the State Library of NSW.

SMSA History

An inclusive members society with a passion for sharing knowledge

Since its inception, the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts has always been a meeting place for lifelong learners eager to share their knowledge and skills. A self-funded, not-for-profit organisation wholly owned by its members, SMSA has made a major contribution to Sydney’s culture, industry, society, and politics since 1833.

SMSA Library | Membership benefit


Open to SMSA members to browse and borrow

Our library collection has over 30,000 books on the shelves covering all genres including fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, biography, and poetry. Many people know us for having the best crime fiction collection in Sydney.

SMSA Tiered Theatre | Venue Hire


Meetings and events in the heart of the city

SMSA offers several flexible and affordable meeting rooms and event spaces, which are all conveniently located right in the heart of Sydney’s CBD. From our tiered theatre and multiple meeting rooms, to the unique book lovers venue, the Tom Keneally Centre, SMSA is the place to meet.

What’s On

View All Events

When you join SMSA as member, you get a wide range of benefits

Access to the SMSA Library

We are home to a unique collection of books, a highlight being our Mystery and Crime section.

Able to borrow from the Tom Keneally Centre

We are honoured to be the home of Tom Keneally’s personal collection of books, many of which have been used as research for his own work.

Access to member only events

Join a members group, share your passions, learn new skills and get involved.

Access to member only activities such as members groups

We provide a variety of member only events, these are relaxed social occasions to have fun and make new friends.

Join as a Member

Subscribe to stay up-to-date