Williamstown Mechanics Institute Masterplan

What is happening at the Williamstown Mechanics Institute?  

The heritage protected Williamstown Mechanics Institute which was constructed in stages between 1860 and 1890 has been an integral part of the community throughout history. Although currently not in use, it has previously undergone many identities, including as an education institution, a cinema, a theatre, a public hall, a library and a museum. In more recent decades, it has been home to pivotal local cultural organisations including the Williamstown Historical Society, the Williamstown Musical Theatre Company Inc, and Williamstown Film Society.  

In order to breathe new life into the precinct, Council are inviting the public to get involved and participate in shaping a new masterplan for the site and a new vision and direction for the historic buildings.  

Kicking off in autumn 2024 and running through 2025, Council will be working closely with key stakeholder groups as well as the broader community to explore options for the masterplan and new uses for the precinct which speak to community needs. This process will involve community drop-in visioning sessions, group consultations, and targeted stakeholder discussions.  

Working with ClarkeHopkinsClarke, an award-winning architecture and urban design company, Hobsons Bay City Council will turn the community's ideas into draft designs which the community will be able to comment on and vote for their favourite elements. 

In conjunction with the long-term development of the site, Council are also committing funding to the restoration of the Caretaker’s Cottage which sits at the corner of the site (where Electra St and Melbourne Rd converge).  

These works will include: 

  • Restoration of external cladding (with improved thermal efficiency) 

  • Restoration of windows and glazing (maintaining heritage design with improved glazing) 

  • Newly constructed verandas 

  • Internal remodeling to improve accessibility for all users and allow flexibility of space for modern uses 

  • Restoration of internal & external historic ornamentation 

  • Environmental upgrades (rainwater harvesting, thermally efficient facades and glazing, recycled materials, energy efficient electrical fittings, water sensitive design, etc.) 

  • New picket fencing 

  • Minor landscaping works & community planting 

Major restoration works will commence in mid 2024 and run through 2025. Council will be working closely with a group of local community volunteers to help restore the heritage character of the building. This group will include local historians, and trade specialists with a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as a strong passion for local heritage architecture.  

Want to get involved? 

Visit our Participate page and take part in shaping our vision for the Williamstown Mechanics Insitute.

Keep tuned for more information on project development, and further information on how to get involved.