Noeline Baker : a life in two worlds
Noeline Baker was an interesting and unusual woman whose life spanned one of the most dramatic phases of women's history - two world wars, the campaigns for peace they brought into being, the women's suffrage and the changing role of women in society. Her life was one of extraordinary contrast. She was born into an upper middle class family and enjoyed a cosseted, urban girlhood in New Zealand but experienced discomfort, even danger on riding tours with her father. After the Bakers went to live in England, Noeline became a suffragist. Although she herself was removed from the experience of poverty and physical deprivation, she became concerned with the plight of women workers. She enjoyed independence (she never married) but for ten years was a "dutiful daughter", the companion of her elderly father. After his death, she left England and her position in a family network of influence and charm for a life of comparative isolation on Stewart Island, New Zealand. There she applied her energy and enthusiasm to creating a botanical garden. She never severed her links with Britain. She was deeply bonded to the two countries, travelled regularly between them and always missed the one she was away from. Unfortunately, there are many gaps in this account because the information about Noeline Baker is limited and fragmentary. There is a lack of her own words because her diaries have disappeared and few personal letters were found. In spite of these limitations, the sources are enough to recreate the life of a woman who was in danger of disappearing from history and who is well worth remembering.
Advisor: Page, Dorothy
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Baker, Noeline, 1878-1958; Suffragists Great Britain Biography; Feminists Great Britain Biography; Feminists New Zealand Biography; Gardeners Biography; Women conservationists New Zealand Biography; Gardens New Zealand Stewart Island/Rakiura; World War, 1914-1918 War work Great Britain; World War, 1939-1945 War work New Zealand
Research Type: Thesis