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Louisa Caldwell was born in Hathern, Loughborough, Leicestershire, England in 1839, one of a numerous family.  The family story is that the children were orphaned by a railway accident and brought up by Sir John Heathcoat, the inventor of the bobbin lace making machine and founder of a lace making firm which still survives.  The truth behind this story has never been confirmed, but Sir John's wife was an Anne Caldwell.  It is very probable that the children's education was paid for by him, as it was much above the average for the time.


Louisa and her sister Emma Rosa emigrated to New Zealand in 1864.  They founded a school for young ladies at Napier, and it was probably during this time that Louisa met James Livingston, (son of Janet Livingston) who was contract carting stores for the Armed Constabulary during the hunt for Te Kooti.


Louisa and James married on the 6 October 1870 at Wellington, and from that time until returning to Hawera, James seems to have occupied various Government posts at Wanganui, where their first two sons were born.  The couple moved to Hawera around 1874 and two more children were born.


Louisa was an accomplished musician and artist.  Most of her pictures were stored in the wash house at "Waipapa", the Livingstons' home on South Road at Tokaora (Toka = stone, Ora = life or living).  Unfortunately the wash house was struck by lightning and everything it contained was burned.  As far as is known only two of her pictures survive.  Her musical ability was passed on to her own children and a number of her descendants are musicians of exceptional ability.


Within a year or two of her youngest son's birth in 1877, her health seems to have declined.  Louisa underwent a mastectomy at Auckland which had only indifferent success and she died at "Waipapa" on the 31 December 1883 aged 44 years.  Louisa is buried at the Hawera cemetery.



Livingston Baker (grandson)