This is a very symbolic and beautiful bonnet created by Iris Smith, from Western Australia, who is the great grand daughter of Louisa Underwood.
Louisa was transported on the Emma Eugenia that left Woolwich, England on 2 April 1844. It sailed to Van Diemen’s Land via Rio De Janeiro.
Louisa was given permission to bring her eight-year old daughter Ann and her five year old son George with her to Australia.
Louisa was amongst the hundreds of convict women who gave birth to a baby at the Cascades Female Factory. Sadly for Louisa her baby died, still-born on 7 March 1846. Iris has made an incredibly exquisite christening bonnet for this baby who would never have been held in the arms of her mother yet whose birth would surely have touched hers and her descendent’s hearts.
Dr Christina Henri wrote about Louisa’s story as part of my ‘Convict Women’ series in The (Hobart) Mercury almost five years ago - June 23, 2009.
Through resilience and fortitude Louisa became a well regarded member of the community. She married Joseph Henry Lane and moved to live in Echuca, Victoria. Some time after the death of her husband Joseph, Louisa married again.
Iris Smith and her daughter Robyn Murray have researched extensively and have been able to follow Louisa’s life and they believe when given opportunities Louisa succeeded and lived a valuable and satisfied life.
Her descendants remember Louisa with an enormous amount of affection.
Louisa Underwood’s bonnet is part of Christina Henri’s Roses from the Heart Memorial.