Anne Marsden received an Honorary Fellowship for her scholarly research on the men of the 1839 Melbourne Mechanics' Institution Committee.
Ms Marsden explored the divide between the ‘gentlemen’ who attempted to replicate the lifestyle and privileges of the English landed gentry, and the ‘mechanics’ or ‘tradespeople’, who were often major employers. Contemporary accounts describe conflict in the initial meetings held to establish the Institution, with attempts by the ‘gentlemen’ to dominate committee elections. The project will examine whether there was an attempt to move away – in the interests of the gentlemen – from the primary aim of early British Mechanics’ Institutions, which was to provide a basic education for young men, and to improve the skills of the labour force. Patron CJ La Trobe, and President, Captain W Lonsdale were joined on the committee by eight vice-presidents, eight office-bearers and 32 committee members – no fewer than 50 men, ranging across the social divide.