|Maeve Coughlan died in an accident on 22 November 2003 while on a cycling trip with her father. She was 10 years old. |
Her school, friends and family were devastated by the loss, but knew that Maeve would want them to be positive and creative, not suffer.
|Maeve was a creative child in a creative family. From an early age she had a fascination with cats. All sorts of animals, but especially cats, featured in Maeve's art. |
She climbed trees, danced, sang, played music, wrote stories made paintings and sculpture with the amazing energy that all children have when they are given space to be creative.
|When Maeve died, her school friends and family came together as a community to celebrate her memory. They celebrated her through play and artistic projects, including kite flying, go karting, bush tucker expeditions, musical performances and story telling. |
This web site is a record of some of those activitties.
Jan Cattoni, a filmmaker friend of the family, started making a documentary film about the community's feelings for Maeve.
Together they explored Maeve's creativity to get to know her better, and express their love for her.
|Art by Maeve - Maeve's art - Some of Maeve's drawings, sculptures and paintings|
|Maeve lived at the Quaker House in Kelvin Grove, Brisbane. The property contains a rainforest growing in the remnants of a hoop pine plantation, with trees up to 80 years old. |
Maeve played in the forest whenever she could. Her mother, Robyn Brady, a doctor working in children's medicine at the Mater Hospital, was surprised Maeve was never ill from her experiments eating the strangely coloured bush tucker from the garden.
Maeve cared for all creatures, great and small. She had her own hospital for sick and dying insects and involved her friends in caring for them. She had mice and frogs as pets.
After Maeve died, her friends went into the forest, gathered bush foods and made lemon myrtle cordial and macadamia nut cookies for Maeve's family.
|In the last two years before she died Maeve created Planet Creature (also known as Planet X). This was an imaginary place just to the left of Pluto where everything could fly and where dragons and cats lived together in harmony. |
Maeve wrote many stories about the ecology, society and geography of Planet Creature. She even had plans for a special type of architecture where houses hung in giant trees.
Many children at this age invent very detailed imaginary places with their friends, usually involving new words, secret codes, complicated rules (all of which can be broken) and often with upside down logic. Each new thing that is invented is hilariously funny and better than the last. Maeve was always laughing.
|The Planet Creature projects - The Planet Creature concept for an interactive journey to help children through grief and loss came from Maeve's notebooks, drawings and stories. Maeve imagined a world where all creatures were free and respected the environment. Maeve's family received seed funding from the Australian Film Commission to develop an interactive website in which there would be 1/ a memorial section which might be a template or springboard for schools or families, as a reference in the event of other children's death, and 2/ The expansion of the Planet Creature world as a children's parallel universe in which issues of grief and loss might be playfully explored. As an interactive digital world this might include modules made of Quicktime QTVRs. These are photographs of a 360 ° panorama stitched together to put the viewer at the centre of the scene. Scenes can have movement, music, audio, and links to other scenes, or web pages. One of these is demonstrated on the Flying Cat Ambulance Brigade section of the Planet Creature website, as is the first chapter of the Planet Creature book, "The Marvellous Adventures of Patsi Zipping and the Flying Cat Ambulance Brigade"|
Maeve lived with her sister Tara and parents Frank Coughlan and Robyn Brady in a marvellous house in Kelvin Grove. Robyn and Frank are caretakers of the Quaker meeting house, which hosts not only meetings of Brisbane's Quaker community, but also many meetings of community and artistic groups.
|Tara and Maeve at front, Robyn and Frank standing.|
Frank is a child counsellor and Jungian psychologist who practiced as a social worker in Ireland. He worked for Kids Help Line before starting a private practice as a psychologist.
Robyn is a senior paediatrician at Mater Hospital. In this role she is involved in training doctors in Emergency medicine for children.
Both Frank and Robyn feel immense sadness at the lost of their child, but also the joy of the community love for them in the time of their loss.
Frank and Robyn felt that their experience could help other families in a similar situation.