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Janice McIllree

b. 1935

Janice Wakely, fashion model and photographer, began her modelling career in Melbourne in 1954, having graduated from Sydney's Mannequin Academy in 1952. After working on the Commonwealth Department of Trade-sponsored fashion tour to New Zealand in 1956, she went to London, where she was dubbed 'The Girl of the Moment' and was photographed by Terence Donovan. Returning to Australia in 1958, Wakely began taking photographs herself, capturing photographers including Helmut Newton, Athol Shmith and Henry Talbot while they worked with models on location. In 1961/2 Wakely starred in the All Australian Fashion Parades, was Model of the Year and wore the Gown of the Year, but in 1963 she turned away from the catwalk, establishing the Penthouse modelling agency and photographic studio in Flinders Lane, Melbourne with co-model Helen Homewood. After an overseas tour in 1965 she returned to Melbourne and set up a studio with fashion photographer Bruno Benini, who, according to People magazine, had 'given many other girls a helping hand up the ladder to success'. In 1967 she undertook a fashion shoot in Papua New Guinea for the Women's Weekly, later published in Today's People as 'Teaching Headhunters to Weave'. Sydney's Powerhouse Museum has her archive of photographs, appointment books, diaries and clippings from the 1950s and 1960s.

Updated 2018