Louie Riggall




Early artist and WWI volunteer

      Louie Riggall was one of eleven children in the family of Edward and Martha Riggall.  She was born in Castlemaine, Victoria, on 2nd March, 1868.  Her father had emigrated via Adelaide in 1851 and became a successful storekeeper and carrier on the Bendigo goldfields.
      In 1874 the family moved to Gippsland to lease the "Glenfalloch" run, an isolated station of 20,000 acres north of Glenmaggie in the Macalister River valley.  Louie was seventeen in 1885 when her father bought "Byron Lodge", a property near Tinamba, and the family moved yet again.
      Louie was encouraged to develop the talent she had shown from an early age for painting.  Her first formal lessons, from A.T. Woodward, commenced at the Sale School of Mines in 1894 and she followed her teacher when he became Head of the Art School in Bendigo.
      In 1897 her father reluctantly allowed Louie to undertake study in Paris at the Atelier Delecluse where she won two medals in her first year there. 
      She returned to Australia in 1899 and for the next four years exhibited at the Victorian Artists' Society alongside such painters as McCubbin, Streeton and Roberts. 
     In 1905 she again toured Europe.  Upon her second return she was able to support herself through sales of her work, especially her portraiture.

      With the outbreak of the First World War Louie Riggall joined the Voluntary Aid Detachments of the Australian Branch of the British Red Cross in Australia.  She served in Australia, Egypt and France.  Because of her fluency in the French language she was placed in charge of the Red Cross store at the hospital in Rouen, where she died from a cerebral haemorrhage on 31st August 1918.  She is buried in that city but there are a number of memorials to her erected in Maffra.

Page modified 15/02/2012