Louisa’s Life After the Female Factory

One of our most frequently asked questions on Louisa’s Walk is, “Did Louisa ever see her three boys again?”. We answer that we honestly don’t know. Another favourite question is, “Did she and William ever have any more children?” and again, we don’t know. One of the major reasons for this is that records of the female convicts were meticulously kept whilst the women were in the Female Factories. Once they were emancipated however, (i.e. they were free and no longer on ticket – of – leave or, as we would say today, “on probation”) records all but became non-existent. If names had kept the same spelling, it may be possible to trace their death notice but that is about all. So, we like to counter these questions with a, “This is a make your own ending story”.
Louisa’s three boys were left behind to fend for themselves on the streets of London after her arrest. This was fairly common as Van Diemens Land wanted women, they had more than enough males, had they been daughters, it might have been a different story. It is fairly likely they had to turn to a life of crime in order to survive. Given this, it may be that they ended up being transported themselves but the likelihood of their finding Louisa would have been slim. These were not days of Missing Persons Bureaus, the internet or telephones. Also, Louisa’s chances of returning to England to find them (where she would have faced impossible odds given the lack of technology) were slim. Emancipated convicts had to re-pay the government the sum of fifteen guineas for the privilege of being shipped out here! This was an enormous sum and to find that, plus a fare back home, beyond the means of most. So, our story remains an open ended one and our audience members free to exercise their imaginations!
Just recently we took a delightful family out on Louisa’s Walk.The Taylor Family are travelling around Australia in a caravan, they have been on the road for ten months. During this time the three little Taylor girls: Amee, Hannah and Jordan, are being home-schooled by their parents. In common with most children the two older girls (eight and six) loved Louisa’s Walk. At just four, Jordan was a little young but she still took in a lot of the story. The girls were delightful as they flitted among the group in their identical dresses. They reminded me of bright butterflies! Afterwards, their mother, Nadia said they would send us a thank you card. This duly arrived together with some wonderful drawings from Hannah. But Amee had let her imagination fly and below is her ending to Louisa’s Story.

Diary of Louisa Reagan.
November 1845.
The day my master came for me, was a really great day. Right away I could see how handsome and kind he was, I could not believe that he had chosen me and I picked up his handkerchief. He took me to his house where I was to work.

December 1845.
Another hot Christmas, I wish that it would snow like it does in Ireland. It is good to have a day off from all the work but I am worried about all the work I have to catch up on. William is a very kind master to give me a day off. This morning when I woke I got dressed in my normal work clothes but when I came into the kitchen, William held me by the hand and told me to put my good clothes on. William asked me to marry him and I said yes.

March 1846.
William went off to work this morning. I asked the doctor to come because I was worried about my tummy and he checked it out. I am happy to say that I am having a baby. We will be celebrating tonight.

September 1846.
My stomach is so big and sore. I worry that my baby will not survive. The doctor came late in the afternoon and helped me with our baby. A beautiful baby girl she was so beautiful and healthy. We named her Alice. It was sad to think of the baby I had lost and of the children I had left behind in England.

December 1849.

Time has gone so fast, Alice is now three. Mostly I am happy but think of my boys, are they still alive? During our Christmas lunch there was a knock at the door. Alice went to open the door. She did not know the three men standing there. I went to the door and they asked if I was Louisa, yes I am I cried. We are your boys they said as they hugged me. My boys are so big now and have done so well to have paid to get to Van Diemens Land. With tears in my eyes I took them inside and together with Alice and William we ate our Christmas lunch and had a brilliant Christmas. I could not be any happier.

The End – written by Amee Taylor 8 years old.

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