The Balmain Institute is an Australian independent, incorporated non-profit organisation dedicated to generating informative discussions and fostering real conversations on topical issues both local and international.

We host a series of public talks and discussions that aim to be stimulating and intimate with expert speakers across science, arts, health, education, governance, economics and the environment.

The Balmain Institute respects expertise, reasoned argument and creativity.

Our talks program usually runs monthly from February to December. Everyone welcome!

COVID-19 UPDATE: Talks are currently being webcast via Zoom

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Event details

Balmain Meeting Room at the Balmain Town Hall. 
Details here

Doors open at 6.30pm, serving refreshments.
The events start at 7.00pm. Talks run for 45 minutes with a 15 minute Q&A, finishing at around 8.00pm

Admission is $10

Executive Committee

President:                 Florence McCarthy
Vice President:        Damien Stapleton
Secretary:                 Iraine Stevens
Treasurer:                Margaret Vickers
Anita Duffy, Ray Stevens, Bridgette Ikonomou, Angela Klemm, Sheree Waks.

Our supporters

We are grateful for the support of the Inner West Council and our local Independent bookshop Roaring Stories 268 Darling St, Balmain.


The Balmain Institute was incorporated in December 2010.
The Founding members were: Gary McDougall, Virginia Nightingale, Anita Duffy and Damian Cobley-Finch.

About Institutes

Former President Sue Daniels, looks to the past and present …

The origin of Institutes is a history talk in itself. They were set up during the Industrial Revolution in England to give ordinary working people access to the advances in science and technology. They were later expanded to include speakers on arts and politics.

As time went on, the Institutes were used as platforms for dissent and rebellion. One speaker was hauled off the stage (I made this up) and arrested for blasphemy.
If only that could happen here!!

As well as making knowledge and ideas available to working people, the intellectual activities at the historical Balmain Institute aimed to provide an alternative pastime to drinking and gambling in pubs.

For us in Balmain in 2017, listening to talks at the Institute can be augmented by drinking, and if not gambling in the pubs, certainly eating in them.

So, in spirit of our suburb, the Balmain Institute gives members access to the latest ideas in the arts and sciences, as they commune with others from the progressive side of politics, imbibe local wines, and consume fine cheeses.

And then, as the night is till young, one can drift onto to Darling St to patronise the hostelries and eating houses of our great suburb.