Lady Janet Clunies Ross (Carter, 1920)

Social welfare activist and criminologist, Lady Janet Clunies Ross (Carter, 1920) was well known for fighting against prejudice towards foreigners or minorities, or against any policy that ‘smacked of a lack of generosity’.

Janet Leslie Carter (1920) enrolled at MLC School in 1915 at the age of 11. In her final year at MLC School, Janet was the Dux of the School and a Senior Prefect. Janet's cousin and MLC School student, Lois Carter (1926) was also a Senior Prefect and Dux of the School in 1926.

After graduating from the University of Sydney with first class honours in English early in 1924, Janet began working at the University as a member of staff of the Fisher Library.

In 1927 Janet married Ian Clunies Ross (knighted in 1954). Ian was an Australian veterinary scientist who has been described as the ‘architect’ of Australia’s scientific boom for his stewardship of the CSIRO. Their union was described as one of complete loyalty and devotion..

Janet was well read and interested in world and national affairs, on which her attitudes fitted closely with her husband’s. Not afraid to engage in public controversy, Janet was publicly vocal about racial prejudice, most notably in 1945 over the very hot issue of press treatment of the Japanese in Australia.

In later life she Janet was to become increasingly interested in social welfare issues, she spent many years volunteering in welfare organisations. After her husband’s death in 1959, Janet returned to university to study criminology and went on to teach in the Criminology Department at University of Melbourne for six years.

Anthony, Janet’s eldest son, was a distinguished economist and academic and, like his parents, was passionate about helping others whose life was not as fortunate as his. Most notably, he was renowned for his work and commitment to improving conditions in the developing world.