Saturday, 2 April 2016

Louise Blanche Riggall (1868 – 1918) – Australian artist, VAD in WW1

Louise was born in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia on 2nd March 1868, one of eleven children.   Her parents were Edward and Martha Riggall.  Louise’s father was a successful businessman and was able to encourage Louise’s artistic talent.

Louise studied art with A. T. Woodward at Sale School of Mines in 1894.  Woodward went on to become Principal of Bendigo School of Art in Bendigo, Victoria and Louise studied there. From 1897 until 1899 Louise studied at the Del├Ęcleuse Atelier in Paris, France. She returned to Australia and from 1905 until 1907, Louise toured Europe, visiting France and Italy.

When the First World War broke out, Louise was in Melbourne where she joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment of the Australian Branch of the British Red Cross. She served in Australia, Egypt and France.   As a fluent French speaker, Louise was sent to oversee the Red Cross store at the First Australian General Hospital in Rouen, France.  She died on 31st August 1918 and was buried in St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, Seine-Maritime, France (Grave Reference:  Officers, B.3.1.)

Louise is commemorated in a memorial designed by Brooks, Robinson and Company of Melbourne, Victoria which is situated in the Johnson Memorial Hall in Maffra, Victoria, Australia.  

Sources:  which also features a map of where to find the Johnson Memorial Hall.