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Thomas William (Billy) Teen (1885–1948)

by Chris Cunneen

This article was published:

Thomas William (Billy) Teen, also known as Thomas Tehan (1885-1948) hairdresser, Socialist, gaoled IWW member, and labourer

Birth: 9 November 1885 at Hobart, Tasmania, son of native-born Thomas Michael Tehan (1861-1930), labourer and railway worker, and Emily, née McPherson (1861-1953), servant. Marriage: 20 December 1913 in Sacred Heart Church, Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, to Kathleen Ellen McPhee (1886-1962), a cashier born at Dubbo, NSW. They had two sons. Death: 3 December 1948 at Hobart, Tasmania. Religion: Catholic. 

  • Billy Teen’s paternal grandfather, Timothy Teahan or Tehan, from Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, was a convict.
  • By 1913 Teen had moved to Sydney where he was a hairdresser, living in Devonshire Street.
  • He was arrested on 1 October 1916 and charged with others of the ‘IWW Twelve’ that he did “devise, compass, imagine to conspire, to declare war against His Majesty the King”.
  • Convicted at the Central Criminal Court on 2 December 1916 of conspiracy Teen was sentenced by Judge Pring to 10 years hard labour.
  • In March 1917 his conviction and sentence were confirmed on appeal.
  • After a judicial inquiry by Justice Ewing in 1920 found “it was not just and right that this man should have been convicted”, Teen was released from Long Bay Gaol on 2 August 1920.
  • In 1927 he was reported that to have “disappeared from industrial circles altogether”. He had moved with his family to Paddington, Brisbane, where he worked as a knitter. He later returned to Sydney and lived at Redfern, working as a labourer then as a motor driver. By 1943 he was back in Tasmania, living at Hobart and working as a miner and labourer.
  • Cause of death: generalised arteriosclerosis, congestive cardiac failure and uraemia.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Chris Cunneen, 'Teen, Thomas William (Billy) (1885–1948)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/teen-thomas-william-billy-33463/text41843, accessed 20 April 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Thomas Teen, 1916

Thomas Teen, 1916

Sydney Mail, 18 October 1916, p 7

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Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Tehan, Thomas William
Birth

9 November, 1885
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Death

3 December, 1948 (aged 63)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Occupation
Groups
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