Walking off the War Within – Members Statement

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Ms ADDISON (Wendouree) (09:58:31): I rise to draw attention to Walking off the War Within, an annual Ballarat community event to raise awareness of depression, PTSD and suicide. It is held in memory of Nathan Shanahan, a returned solider and firefighter, and other fallen servicemen and women who have taken their own lives after battling mental health issues.

In April 2015, Nathan walked from Mildura to Adelaide—over 400 kilometres—carrying a 28-kilogram pack to raise awareness and funds for PTSD and depression. Sadly in 2016, 2866 Australians took their lives, and Nathan was one of them. Three months later Nathan’s sister Felicity Preston and two of Nathan’s mates came up with Walking off the War Within.

The community walk will be held on Saturday, 23 March, at 9.00 a.m. at St Patrick’s College. I encourage the community to support this important event, and would welcome the attendance of other members.

In the last six months 84 returned service people have taken their lives on Australian soil. Let us shake off the stigma and support our defence forces and emergency services personnel.

I am proud to support this event and congratulate the organisers and all involved for bringing these issues to the public’s attention.


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