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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Janice Wakely, 1959

Helmut Newton

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 25.6 cm x 20.3 cm, image: 24.0 cm x 19.3 cm)

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.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Janice McIllree 2007

Accession number: 2007.5

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Helmut Newton (age 35 in 1959)

Janice McIllree (age 24 in 1959)

Donated by

Janice McIllree (5 portraits)

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Janice Wakely, 1959 Helmut Newton
Janice Wakely, 1959 Helmut Newton
Janice Wakely, 1959 Helmut Newton
Janice Wakely, 1959 Helmut Newton

Generous Janice

Magazine article by Dr Sarah Engledow, 2013

Dr Sarah Engledow puts four gifts to the National Portrait Gallery’s Collection in context.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.