In memory of


Janet White Gibbens

27 November 1943 – 12 December 2022

Janet White Gibbens passed away Monday 12 December 2022, aged 79. She was a native of Moravia, New York, USA, then resident of Australia for 53 years.

After graduating from Moravia Central School in 1961, she gained the Bachelor of Science degree (bacteriology) from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY in 1965, and the Master of Arts degree (microbiology) from the University of California, Davis in 1967 for her thesis on the taxonomy of the bacterial genus Erwinia. She worked as a research assistant at the Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale, London in a study of bacterial plasmids and transferable antibiotic resistance. There she met her future husband, Brian Hereward Gibbens, migrating to Sydney, Australia with him in 1969 aboard the SS Australis. She worked in the microbiology department of the University of New South Wales, with her research published in several papers.

Janet and Brian married in Sydney on March 14, 1970. Sons Bruce and John were born in 1972 and 1974, with the family relocating to Melbourne in 1982. Janet was employed in the science faculties of Hampton High School and Sandringham College for seventeen years.

Following their retirement, Janet and Brian moved to a bushland property in western Victoria where they enjoyed rural living among the flora and fauna of the nearby Grampians National Park. They named their property ‘Carillon’ (an instrument consisting of bells, pronounced ka-rill-yon) after hearing the particularly fine carolling of the magpies one winter’s morning. Her hobbies included family history, travel, music, natural history and reading. The family took many memorable trips overseas and around Australia, with Janet’s particular favourite being a night in April 1986 when the family hiked out to observe Halley’s Comet and was unexpectedly marooned at Cape Woolamai until first light the following morning.

Janet Gibbens was predeceased by her husband Brian in 2012. She then moved to Anglesea in 2017 to be closer to family. She is survived by sons Bruce and John and grandson Alexander, as well as her two brothers Robert (Joanna) White of Montreal, Canada and Andrew (Joyce) White of Auburn, NY, USA and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A public service will be held at F. Greed & Sons of Hamilton on Saturday 25 February, with ashes interred afterward at Dunkeld Cemetery alongside Brian’s. Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
[Robert Frost]

Funeral Service

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