The Right Reverend John Bayton AM, who passed away on 15 August 2022, was a Governor of St Michael’s Grammar School from 1985 to 1988 and Chairman of the Board of Governors from 1987 to 1988. However, his association with the School predates his time on the Board as his daughter Cate attended St Michael’s from 1980 until 1982 and he developed deep affection for the School during this time.
As Chairman, Bishop Bayton led the School at the time of the opening of both Hewison House and the newly built Centre for Senior Studies in 1988. He taught Religious Instruction in the Junior School on a voluntary basis in 1981, prior to the appointment of a full-time Chaplain in 1982. Bishop Bayton was an enthusiastic and active Chairman who stepped down from the role of Chair with sadness when his duties as Bishop of Geelong meant he no longer could commit sufficient time to the School.
A recognised artist represented in public galleries and private collections in Australia, UK, Israel, USA and Canada, his works explored the nature of spirituality, in keeping with his long service to the Anglican community. Bishop Bayton generously donated a number of his own works to the School, including the Stations of the Cross which hang on the walls of the Chapel of St Michael and All Angels at the School. The Chapel is also home to the Crozier donated by Bishop Bayton on his retirement as Bishop of Geelong. The Crozier was originally a gift from the School when he stepped down as Chairman. In addition to his talent as an artist he was acknowledged as Australia’s foremost authority on the art of Iconography. The Bayton Gallery in the Community of the Sisters of the Church Learning Centre within the School was named in his honour in 2005.
Ordained in Rockhampton as a Deacon in 1956 and then as a Priest in 1957, Bishop Bayton served in many roles in North Queensland before moving to Melbourne in 1980, to take up the role of Incumbent at St Peter’s, Eastern Hill. A position he held until 1989. While at St Peter’s, Eastern Hill, Bishop Bayton established The Icon School and the Institute for Spiritual Studies. It is during his time at St Peter’s, Eastern Hill that he undoubtedly forged friendships within the St Michael’s community as many long-standing members of the School community, including the late Dr Janette Gordon-Clark, worshipped at St Peter’s. In 1989 he was appointed Bishop of Geelong and Western Region Diocese of Melbourne, and he remained in that role until 1995. Bishop Bayton continued to serve the Diocese with Permission to Officiate from his retirement in 1995 up until his relocation to Brisbane in 2020.
The Right Reverend John Bayton will be remembered with great affection as a generous friend of St Michael’s who occupied an important leadership role at the School during a time of great change and growth.