Thomas Emmett Coonan was born on March 24, 1893, the fifth and final child born to Michael Francis Coonan and Mary Hanora Meehan.
When just over two months old, on May 31, 1893, Thomas lost his father after an accident fractured his spine.His older siblings were nine year old Michael and seven year old Margaret, and for the next seven years they were cared for by their mother Mary Coonan with assistance from their childless "Aunt Butler" when needed.
Thomas Coonan was seven years old when tragedy struck his life again, this time claiming his 40 year old mother.At the time of her death they had been living with Margaret Butler, their aunt, in Garnet Street, Preston.
Margaret adopted Thomas and his siblings,and they lived with her until old enough to return to the Coonan holdings in the Yea district.By 1914,when he was 21 years old, Tom Coonan was living at Glenburn Via Yea with his aunt, Margaret Butler.His brother Michael Patrick was farming at nearby Homewood, and his sister Margaret had married Patrick Hearn, a farmer from near Mansfield.
According to electoral rolls, Margaret Butler lived with her nephew Tom Coonan at least until 1919. The 1924 roll shows Thomas Emmett Coonan, grazier, at Glenburn Via Yea without his aunt.
When she died in 1930, at the grand old age of 84 years, Margaret Coonan had been residing at the Convent of the Good Shepherd, Beaconsfield Road, Albert Park. She died on April 25, 1930.
The following year, just one day after the first anniversary of the death of his Aunt Butler,Tom Coonan died suddenly, aged only 38 years. The following death announcement appeared in the Argus newspaper:
"COONAN- On the 26th of April (suddenly) at Flowerdale, Thomas Emmett, youngest son of the late Michael and Mary Coonan, of Yea,loving brother of Michael(Yea) and Margaret ( Mrs P.Hearn of Mansfield) aged 38 years. R.I.P."