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Is the first Memorial to all women sentenced to transportation as convicts to Australia (1788-1853). 25,566 cloth bonnets (taken from an 1860s servants bonnet) symbolises the women whose lives have been shrouded by a veil of amnesia for far too long.

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    Another wonderfully poignant bonnet sewn and embellished by Irish Smith for her great aunt Ann Underwood, daughter of Louisa Underwood.

    This bonnet is full of symbolism as explained by Irish in the wording included on material attached inside the bonnet.

    Since this bonnet was made in 2009 Iris and her daughter Robyn Murray have traced more information about Louisa’s life and now have a greater understanding of her and her children’s lives.

    This special bonnet is part of Tasmanian artist Christina Henri’s Roses from the Heart memorial.

    Christina only requires 2000 bonnets to complete this memorial that remembers and values the lives of the 25,566 women exiled to Australia 1788-1853 - so many of these women became the colonial grandmothers from whom so may Australians are descended today.

    One in seven Australians have convict ancestry.

    — 1 day ago

    Beautiful embellishment of Louisa Underwood’s bonnet created by great grand daughter Iris Smith from Western Australia.

    At the back of the bonnet Iris has embroidered a family tree showing her two children, daughter Ann aged eight and son George aged five who accompanied her on the voyage from England to Van Diemen’s Land in 1844.

    Iris has chosen to use a piece of lace from her wedding gown to create a tangible link across the generations of the family descended from Louisa.

    This bonnet is part of Christina Henri’s memorial Roses from the Heart.

    — 1 day ago

    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.

    — 1 day ago

    Thanks to Mary Dane for her beautifully made bonnet for Mary Ann Holdane.  Mary Dane has placed a memento inside the back of the bonnet - a heart trinket and a scrap of tartan ribbon for the Scottish lass exiled across the world to Australia in 1828. This bonnet is part of the ‘Roses from the Heart’ Memorial the concept of Tasmanian artist Christina Henri.

    — 1 week ago

    Huge thanks to ABC Conversations presenter Richard Fidler who has donated a ‘shirt off his back’ to be used as part of artist Christina Henri’s ’Cherished Babies’ memorial.

    Christina was thrilled to meet with Richard and other ‘Conversations’ staff at the Brisbane ABC Studios last week to receive the shirt.

    Now back in Tasmania Christina, who is the hon artists-in-residence at the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site, has taken the shirt to the Site where the shirt will be converted into christening bonnets that will form part of a travelling exhibition. See previous Tumblr postings for information about the Cherished babies Memorial.

    Christina is using the symbolism of men’s shirts to reference the absence of men’s names in the Birth and Baptismal records of the babies born to female convicts in Australia. The bonnets will be created on significant heritage sites such as female factories, most especially the World Heritage Site - the Cascades Female Factory Historic Site in South Hobart, Tasmania. The exhibition will be launched in a heritage shirt factory in Derry, Northern Ireland in 2015.

    — 2 weeks ago
    Christina Henri was visiting in Queensland this week giving a talk to the Redlands Genealogical Society. During her stay she spent the day with Dolly Olsson and her daughter, musician, Vicky Macdonald both descendants of Susannah Holmes. Dolly is an artist and she has been involved in making bonnet tributes as part of the Roses from the Heart Memorial. Along with her art Dolly writes significant poetry.
She shared this poem written especially to honour Australia’s convict women highlighting the bonnet tribute significance within the Roses from the Heart memorial.
Builders of Our Land         Dolly Olsson : Descendant of Susannah Holmes
A celebration,
Convict women arrived here
After months at sea
 
With meager bundles,
They step ashore at the cove
To start a new life.
 
Many wild flowers
Mid the sandstone rockeries
Welcome the women
 
Who enjoy the scent
A pathway of Boronia,
Sparkling flannel flowers
 
The community,
So nourished by the sights and sound
Of Australian bush.
 
Forgotten the ship
The foul stinking conditions
In that dark dankness.
 
Yet, no riches await,
Instead they wear the bonnet
Sentenced in service
 
We acknowledge them;
Our ancestors now honoured
Named on these bonnets.
 
 

    Christina Henri was visiting in Queensland this week giving a talk to the Redlands Genealogical Society. During her stay she spent the day with Dolly Olsson and her daughter, musician, Vicky Macdonald both descendants of Susannah Holmes. Dolly is an artist and she has been involved in making bonnet tributes as part of the Roses from the Heart Memorial. Along with her art Dolly writes significant poetry.

    She shared this poem written especially to honour Australia’s convict women highlighting the bonnet tribute significance within the Roses from the Heart memorial.

    Builders of Our Land         Dolly Olsson : Descendant of Susannah Holmes

    A celebration,

    Convict women arrived here

    After months at sea

     

    With meager bundles,

    They step ashore at the cove

    To start a new life.

     

    Many wild flowers

    Mid the sandstone rockeries

    Welcome the women

     

    Who enjoy the scent

    A pathway of Boronia,

    Sparkling flannel flowers

     

    The community,

    So nourished by the sights and sound

    Of Australian bush.

     

    Forgotten the ship

    The foul stinking conditions

    In that dark dankness.

     

    Yet, no riches await,

    Instead they wear the bonnet

    Sentenced in service

     

    We acknowledge them;

    Our ancestors now honoured

    Named on these bonnets.

     

     

    — 2 weeks ago

    The photo with Christina Henri and John Caldwell shows John wearing the shirt at the ‘Australian of the Year’ national Awards presentation 2014 in Canberra, ACT, Australia in January. John has now donated this shirt to be used for the ‘Cherished Babies” Memorial. This is a generous donation and most appreciated. The ‘Cherished Babies’ memorial will become a special exhibition to be launched in a heritage shirt factory in Derry in 2015.

    — 4 weeks ago