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BAKER, JANET ELIZABETH nee LIVINGSTON

 

Janet Livingston was born in Hawera on the 17 March 1875 and was one of the first European girls born in the town.  Her parents were James and Louisa Elizabeth Livingston nee Caldwell.

 

Louisa died when Janet was not yet nine years old, and she was brought up, along with her three brothers by her aunts, Isabella Home and Emma Caldwell at “Waipapa”, Tokaora.  All her education was received at home or at Miss Maunders School, Camberwell Road, Hawera.

 

The family was all musical, being taught violin and piano by their mother and Aunt Emma.  Janet became a member of Mr Higham’s Ladies’ Orchestra, along with Jessie Buchanan and Annie Quin, in the early years of the century.  The Livingston’s were in no way deprived, in fact, for the time, could be considered privileged, not lacking in any social activities.  Janet, on two occasions, went for world tours with her father in 1903 and 1907.

 

In 1901, when “Waipapa” was sold to the Government for closer settlement, her father, who had remarried, built a house at Ohawe, for Janet and her two single brothers Guy and Heathcoat.  On the 8 September 1909, Janet married James Harrison Baker, a pioneer settler of Morea Road, Ararata, where they went to live.  In 1915, they built “Louisdale” on the Main South Road, just out of Hawera and James commuted to the Ararata farm from there.  In 1935, the Bakers moved to Whenuakura and in 1953, back to “Louisdale” which is still in the family.

 

Janet was one of Hawera’s first woman drivers when in 1902, she learnt to drive her father’s car, one of four assembled by Mr Henry Reid of Stratford.  Both she and her brother Guy did all the driving for their father.  When Janet and James returned from Europe they bought a 1904 Darracq which is still in the family.

 

Janet was a founder member of the Hawera Women’s Club, and a member of the Turuturu Mokai Improvement Committee with Jessie Buchanan, a life long friend.  In 1929, Janet and Jessie were on the committee that erected a memorial cairn at Turuturu Mokai to commemorate the names of those who fell in defending the redoubt in July 1868.

 

Janet Baker died on the 4 August 1959 at Hawera.

 

SOURCE

Livingston Baker, Patea (son)

 

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