Life Under a Shadow: John Harry Grainger, Architect & Civil Engineer


Life Under a Shadow investigated the many achievements of John Harry Grainger, gifted architect and engineer, whose life was largely overshadowed by that of his son, composer and performer Percy Aldridge Grainger.

At 25 years of age, JH Grainger won commissions for two bridges: the intricately engineered swing bridge at Sale in Gippsland and, most significantly, Princes Bridge over the Yarra River in Melbourne. The Princes Bridge design was an enormous achievement – a task that would have challenged a practitioner twice his age.

This exhibition included a selection of artefacts from the Grainger Museum Collection illuminating aspects of JH Grainger's life, as well as photographs, architectural and engineering drawings and artworks. The displays included correspondence and ephemera relating to his relationship with his son Percy, which provided a more detailed understanding of their early family life and the often-forgotten influence of JH Grainger.

Curators: Brian Allison and Astrid Krautschneider