1.1.11                              LUCY  COUGHLAN

1.1.12                    CLARE MONICA (CLARA) COUGHLAN

1.1.13                    HELENA (LENA) COUGHLAN


Lucy was born in 1892.  She died on November 7th, 1908 at the Coughlan home in Kerrytown, at age 16.  It is thought that Lucy had leukemia, but that is not confirmed.   A family legend about Lucy says that just before she died she looked out her window and saw The Blessed Virgin Mary coming up the path to the house.

Again, I ask What’s in a name?   Clare was the twelfth child in the family and this time her mother, Mary Coughlan, sent her to the churched to be baptised in the care of her older sister Julia.  Julia may have been in her early twenties at that time.  Her mother gave Julia instructions to call the child Norah.  Julia did like that name so she had the baby christened Clare Monica.  Julia brought the baby home and presented her to her mother as Clare Monica.  In her early childhood she was known in the family as Clara.

CLARE COUGHLAN  was born in 1896 in Kerrytown.  She was the 12th  child of SIMON and MARY COUGHLAN and the 9th of the ten girls.  Clare was a music teacher - Clare Coughlan ATCL (Associateship Trinity Collage London).   She taught “pianoforte” beginning in 1917.  In the 1920's she also played the piano at the movie theatre in Temuka, accompanying silent movies.  Clare’s musical talents were in great demand in Kerrytown and Temuka.  There are many newspaper reports of the time revealing that Clare played the piano or organ at weddings and other festive occasions.  

Of interest is a piece from the Temuka Leader, dated October 25, 1928.

The piece de resistance at the Dominion Theatre, Temuka, on Tuesday evening was the Heeney/Tunney fight for the world’s championship in the ring were closely followed by the audience, and the screening of the fight was very clear indeed.  The gameness of “our Tom” as he is popularly known, came in for a fair share of recognition in the way of plaudits, especially when he scored in the fourth and fifth rounds by keeping his opponent on the qui vive.  An excellent comedy and other items made up a good program.  The incidental music was supplied by the Misses Coughlan and Spring (piano and violin).

As one visualizes this event, with the accompanying music, it must indeed have been most entertaining.  And it was an accomplishment to be able to fit the action to the music.  Clare would have been good working on a Star Wars production.

When her sister, Helena, moved to Christchurch she moved to Christchurch.    She gave up teaching music.   She left the old life and in a way that also signified an end to the special life experience of the Coughlan family.  The Coughlan house on Park View Road in Temuka was sold;  rather sad really.

That was a house of many memories.  


Clare worked at Ballantynes in Christchurch.  She was in the store when the disastrous fire burned the building on November 18, 1947.  She never entered the Ballantyne’s store again after the fire


Since music was the passion of her life, I pay tribute to her for her versatility.  Below is the only artifact left from her life as a teacher and entertainer - a beautifully carved piano stool.  This stool is now preserved by a relative in Wellington.

Some of the music left in this stool tell us something of the good times that were:

“Jovial Songs for Festive Occasions” - contains all kinds of old songs - obviously much used

    “Albert’s Favourite Songs Album” - more of the same

    “Did your Mother Come from Ireland?”

    “What’ll I Do”

    “Doris Day Song Folio”

    “Mary’s a Grand Old Name”

    “A Precious Little Thing Called Love”

    “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts”

    “Eddie Fisher Song Folio”


    “Shine on Harvest Moon”

    “The Bells of Saint Mary’s”

    “I’ll See You Again”

    “Irving Berlin Song Folio”

    “If you’re Irish Come Into the Parlour”

    “White Christmas”

    “Meet Richard Rodgers at the Piano”

    “Nursie! Nursie!”

    “Lilli Marlene”

    “Don’t Fence Me In”  

    “My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time”

Of course her repertoire was more comprehesive.  Copies of her favorite classical pieces do not exist. She did use many classicial pieces to accompany the movies in Temuka.

There was many good times spent around Aunty Clare’s piano and she was playing Christmas Carols just a few days before she died on December 28, 1958.   She died in Christchurch and is buried in the Waimari Cemetary.

TWO PICTURES OF CLARE COUGHLAN FROM THE 1940'S            Simon Thomas Sheen b. March 1929 d. April 1998 m. Roma Donavan - Melbourne

           Jo Ann Sheen - Melbourne d.

           Veronica Sheen p. Darren Miller - Melbourne

           Martin Sheen m. Marilou Santiago d. motor cycle accident in the Philippines  2008.

                   Samantha Francheska Santiago Sheen b. July 26, 2007 - Philippines            Paul Roger Sheen b. October 1933, m. Irene McNeil  d. March 1971 - Christchurch.  Irene subsequently married Joseph Cooney.   Irene changed the girls’ names to Cooney.

           Helena Cooney (Sheen) b. June 25, 1967 - Christchurch

           Paula Cooney (Sheen) b. June 8, 1971 - Christchurch m. William Mark Pennington

                    Isabella Grace Sheen Pennington b. October 10, 2003 - Wellington

                    Oliver William Sheen Pennington b. October 20, 2005 - Wellington

                    Lachlan James Sheen Pennington b. July 14, 2007 - Wellington

                   William Jonathan James Sheen Pennington b. August 4, 2011 - Wellington            Anita Mary Sheen b. July 1938 m. James Scott - U.S.A. d. 2011

           Anthony James Scott b. February 9, 1965 - Christchurch m. Peggy Hamner

                     Camilla Marie Scott b. April 16, 2001 - Dallas, Texas

                      Zachary Anton Scott b. November 2, 2004 - Russia

           Simon Andrew Scott b. February 25, 1966 - Christchurch

           Kathryn Anne Scott b. June 30, 1971. - Jacksonville, Florida, m. Jon Houston Wadley

                    Hope Nicole Wadley b. March 17, 2004 - Dallas, Texas                                        

     Sean Houston Wadley b. August 13, 2006 - Dallas, Texas

Enter Text


HELENA COUGHLAN married THOMAS SHEEN on April 26, 1927.  Helena was 29 years old and Tom was 26 years old at the time.  The marriage certificate lists Helena as "draper" and Tom as “grocer."  There seems to be some disparity between the year on Helena’s birth certificate and the age on her marriage certificate.

The description of the wedding that appeared in the paper:

  "A very quiet but pretty wedding was solemnized on Tuesday last at St. Joseph's Church, Temuka, when Helena, youngest daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. S. Coughlan, was married to Thomas Perry, only son of Mr. and Mrs. T.A. Sheen.  The Rev. Father Bartley S.M. performed the ceremony, and also celebrated nuptial Mass, and Miss comer presided at the organ.   The bride, who was escorted to the altar by her brother (Mr. M. Coughlan) looked charming in a dainty frock of salmon pink crepe de chine with an overdress of lavender ninon, caught at the side and on the shoulder, with a rosette of  lavender ninon trimmed with tiny roses.   The handsome bridal veil which toned with the frock, fell in soft folds from a coronet of pearls and orange blossoms.  She carried a shower bouquet and was attended by her sister, Miss C. Coughlan as bridesmaid, who wore an attractive frock of shell pink chenille georgette with hat to match and carried a shower bouquet to tone.  Mr. C. Jessop (Methven), cousin of the bridegroom, attended as best man.  After the ceremony a number of guests were entertained at the residence of the bride, the bridegroom's mother wearing a smart frock of mulberry repp and a black hat.  She carried a poesy of autumn berries.  Later when the happy couple left for north, the bride wore a model frock of repp cloth with hat to match and a handsome fur coat."

At the time of marriage, Helena was living in the Coughlan family house on Park View, Temuka, with her sisters, Clare and Margaret.  Margaret Coughlan died in 1929.  Tom Sheen moved into this house in Temuka after the couple  married and my brothers and myself were born in that house.  At this time, Tom worked with his father in the family grocery business on the main street in Temuka - Gapper & Sheen.  The family moved to Christchurch in the early 1940's.

Helena was carrying on the business started by her sister Elizabeth - a dress shop which Helena sold around March 15, 1927.  In February 1927, she must have been trying to get rid of inventory because the following appears in the Temuka Leader.

“Bargains are being offered at Miss Coughlan’s, King Street. Genuine reductions being made in every line.  Attention is being directed to the change in advertisement for particulars of prices etc. “

It is interesting to note that this kind of de facto advertisement could appear under a heading “News of the Day”.  It reminds me of what Facebook and other internet applications are doing today - inserting advertisements into news.  1926 calendars advertising her business still exist.

Dental care was primitive in the early 20th century.  As a girl of about 13 or 14, she had dental problems and the dentist was called to extract her teeth.  She was scared so she ran away and the dentist, on his motor cycle, chased her across the paddocks.  He ran into the water race, came off his motor cycle and broke his leg.   Sometime later when he returned to do the extraction, there was no avoiding the inevitable and she was laid out on the dining room table to have those teeth extracted.





Thomas Sheen d. Christchurch on September 18, 1956

Helena d. Christchurch in Christchurch on November 16, 1961

Simon d. Frankston, Victoria, Australia,  on April 15, 1998

Paul d. Christchurch on March 19, 1971