Hidden amongst the walls of Melbourne University is a museum paying tribute to the eccentric composer Percy Grainger.
Percy Grainger, born in Brighton 1882, is best known for his translation and interpretation of folk songs. Percy was also an established concert pianist, creator of musical instruments, teacher, folk music researcher, music cataloguer and collector (and user) of bondage whips.
Percy Grainger was also seemingly a big fan of Percy Grainger and in a days prior to social media did what any decent narcissist would do and created a museum dedicated to his life. Yep, that’s right, the Grainger Museum, was established by none other than Grainger himself.
Australia’s only purpose-built autobiographical museum
His unique life story is told through letters, monuments, costumes, bondage whips, records, music and anecdotes. Much of it donated by the man himself, others coming from his mother’s collection after she tragically committed suicide following (incorrect) rumours that she was sexually involved with her son.
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the collection is the 250-odd musical instruments. This includes conventional classical instruments, a collection of non-western instruments, modified instruments and a series of experimental free music machines. If you want to know what an experimental free music machine looks like, you are going to have to see for yourself because frankly we wouldn’t know where to start in describing them.
The museum does have limited opening hours so if you are going on the weekend, it has to be a Sunday and between Noon and 4:30pm. Entry is free, plan to spend about an hour or so and be prepared to leave in a state of bewilderment as to why more people don’t know about this little gem.
Make it the perfect Sunday
With the museum opening at Noon, why not kick the day off with brunch on Berkeley St. It’s probably as close as you’ll park to Melbourne University anyway and is home to the famous Seven Seeds café which always makes a worthwhile detour.
Opening Hours: Sun-Fri (Noon-4pm)
Address: 13 Royal Parade, Parkville VIC 3052