Lady McCusker Rose by Dr Janet Bayliss

Bayliss, Joan Janet (nee Twycross) 1925 - 2003

Dr Joan Janet Bayliss (nee Twycross) is an Australian artist, author, teacher and Clinical psychologist who was born in Rabaul, New Britain in March 1925 to a wireless officer father (James Twycross) and homemaker mother (Annie) who were both from Western Australia and had married on the neighbouring island of New Britain in 1921. Janet had an early gift for art and grew up in Rabaul until 1937 when a dramatic volcanic eruption forced her family’s evacuation on a steamship. She later wrote about her childhood experiences in a book titled Living in a Volcano in what was then the Australian Territory of New Guinea. She won a scholarship to Perth Modern School, gained a teacher’s degree at Claremont Teachers College in 1945 followed by a primary school teaching role in Kalgoorlie. She participated in her first art exhibition in Adelaide in 1948 while at Art College and in December of that year married Dr Colin Bayliss, a GP who later specialised in rheumatology. In 1953 Janet joined the Bunbury Art Society and remained a member until December 1966 when the family left for Scotland. She was secretary for some years and one year she was instrumental in organising the Bunbury Art Competition. The judges awarded her a significant prize, for which she had not intended to compete, and which made her feel conflicted! She exhibited at least once with Anne Creed in Perth. During a two-year stay in Scotland while husband Colin furthered his medical qualifications, a visit to Europe was to have a lasting emotional impact on her family. In World War II Colin was a Lancaster bomber pilot who had been shot down over occupied France. After being taken in by a local family and nursed back to health he was then betrayed by a spy agent and handed over to the Gestapo. Colin had kept in touch with the French family for 20 years until they were able to meet them in an emotional reunion. After being captured, Colin spent more than two years in a prisoner of war camp and he later wrote an autobiography about his experiences in a book titled "No Flying Without Wings" published in 1994. In 1962 Janet completed a Bachelor of Arts degree as an external student, with a double major in English. This was followed by a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours, then in the late 1970's and early 1980's a Masters in Psychology and finally in December 1988 her PhD in psychology was conferred. She specialised in working with children with behavioural and emotional problems and pioneered innovative approaches to treatment often incorporating her artwork in the design of programmes and training publications. In March 1990 she retired from Public Service and consulted in private practice. Her artistic work covered portraiture, abstracts, landscapes and still lifes in her signature style of watercolours and ink. Her most famous work is a quartet of pen and watercolour McCusker roses donated and then auctioned as a fundraiser for the McCusker Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease Research in 2001. These were subsequently turned into a printed set of gift cards. Her work is held in many private collections and she died of cancer in 2003. One of the watercolour and ink rose quartet, “McCusker Rose in Full Flower” 2001 is held in the Fairview Art Collection in Subiaco, Perth.