News & Updates

Celebrating 190 Years of the SMSA

Celebrating 190 Years of the SMSA
March 23, 2023

On Wednesday 22nd March 2023 Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts celebrated our 190th Birthday. To celebrate this milestone we have taken the chance to look back on our rich history and see that one thing is for sure…there is no other story like that of the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts.

SMSA has been a major contributor to Sydney’s cultural, industrial, and political scene. Our desire to share new ideas has attracted a membership of thinker’s inventors and creatives. Prominent members have included Prime Ministers Edmund Barton, George Reid and Billy Hughes, journalist, and suffragist Louisa Lawson, writer Miles Franklin and poet Henry Kendall to name a few.

The SMSA has Australia’s longest continuous running lending library and has been offering our members the latest books, newspapers, and magazines for 190 years. Currently our library holds 29336 books for our members to browse and borrow.

The SMSA has hosted an extraordinary array of expert speakers. From renowned explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in the 1840’s to esteemed social psychologist and bestselling author Hugh Mackay in conversation with Catherine du Peloux Menagé (BAD Sydney) on the 190th birthday of the school.

We look forward to celebrating this significant milestone with you at a special event later in the year.


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 works.

Access to member only events

Join a members group, share your passions, learn new skills, make new friends 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

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