Hamilton History Centre

James Begg's Hamilton Academy


The Hamilton Academy situated on the corner of Pope and Collins Street, Hamilton was founded by James Begg in 1870 and existed until mid-1900. In 1874 the building better known more recently as “St Mary’s School” was built for the Academy, which could claim to have been the pre-eminent post elementary school in the district for much of the 1880’s.

This book tells its story of that other school-the “Hamilton Academy” and James Begg's role in it which deserves to be told.


About the Centre

The History Centre is located in the Hamilton CBD and holds a vast historical collection. Read more about the Hamilton History Centre here..

Research Services

Staffed by helpful volunteer Hamilton history experts, we will undertake historical research for you, or you may come into the Centre and conduct your own research.


Gathered over many years from local and other sources, our Centre holds a vast array of documents, books and maps. Visit our reading rooms for more info.

Our Collection

Our collection includes over 2000 local historical photographs, cemetery records, German settlement history, war records, family history records, parish maps, pastoral properties, records of Hamilton residences, shops and businesses, as well as church and school records. All visitors are welcome. To see what is in our collection, please visit our collection page. For location and hours, please click here.

Hospital Sunday Botanical Gardens, 1910

Australian Genealogy

Genealogical resources are kept at the Hamilton History Centre. We have the civil registration birth, marriage and death indexes for Victoria and some other states, shipping records for Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia, indexes to Victorian and South Australian naturalisations and prisoner indexes. There are Victorian Gazettes and Post Office directories and various other indexes concerning place names, publicans, and hospitals, etc. 

Gray Street, Hamilton looking west c1930

Hamilton and District Genealogy

Extensive records to search for Hamilton and area inhabitants are held at the Centre. These include church registers, family histories and much more. We also have an extensive collection of published books available, as well as maps, directories, and newspaper articles. To view a summary of our collection please visit our collections page. Browse our website for more information or make contact using the information on our contact page.

Take a visual stroll through Hamilton's history

The Hamilton History Centre has compiled the following videos highlighting some of our prominent historical people and places. You can view them here or visit our YouTube channel for more information.

Click on any of the videos to start play. Videos can be opened in the YouTube App for users with mobile devices, or opened in YouTube on desktops for a larger view.

Hamilton's notable people

Historic Hamilton Buildings and Businesses

Historic Hamilton Houses and Homesteads