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Garry Wotherspoon: Celebrating 180 years of SMSA – 1833-2013

Event Information

  • 22 Oct 2013 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Mitchell Theatre at Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts 280 Pitt Street
  • Sydney 2000
  • New South Wales
Other Information
  • Cost: FREE & Open to the Public

This must-see lecture will give unique insight into the history of the SMSA from Garry Wotherspoon, the author of our recently released commemorative history, Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts: A History. FREE & Open to the Public


SMSA (Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts)  
280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
02 9262 7300 | smsa.org.au


Right from its founding in March 1833, the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts was the leading provider of adult education in the colony, running a lending library and holding lectures on everything from phrenology to chemistry and the poems of Lord Byron. There were even classes on ‘Simple Surgery’!

Garry Wotherspoon has uncovered little known but fascinating stories of the colourful people and events in SMSA’s past including the three Australian Prime Ministers who started their political careers in SMSA’s Debating Club; journalist and womens’ rights activist Louisa Lawson who overcame obstacles to become the first woman on the management committee over 120 years ago; the man who was, arguably, the SMSA’s most notorious member, Thomas ‘Lemonade’ Ley; and much, much more.

FREE & Open to the Public